South Korea has displayed its culture throughout the 2018 Olympics with K-Pop music (Image via Soompi)
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South Korea has displayed its culture throughout the 2018 Olympics with K-Pop music (Image via Soompi)

K-Pop fans from around the world are excited to witness Exo and CL perform live at the close of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

For the past two weeks, the 2018 Winter Olympics has drawn in millions of viewers who are eager to watch the world’s best athletes compete head-to-head in fierce competitions in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The games will conclude officially Sunday, Feb. 25, and as audiences have seen with the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony will once again give South Korea the opportunity to showcase its unique culture, which notably includes K-Pop.

Fans around the world recognize the K-Pop genre, but its level of popularity is significantly higher in its home country. That said, when people heard that the Winter Olympics would be held in South Korea, many were curious to see how K-Pop would play a part in the games.

Viewers were not disappointed, as many idols in the genre have already appeared in the Winter Olympics, most notably during the opening ceremony. Those who served as torchbearers came from popular groups, such as miss A, VIXX, Super Junior, 2NE1, Girl’s Day, AOA, Winner, Cosmic Girls, Mamamoo, Dia, Monsta X, I.O.I and more. Exo’s Baekhyun and VIXX also performed during the International Olympic Committee general assembly

K-Pop’s presence didn’t stop there, however, because for each day the games took place, a different act performed after the medal ceremony. As fans have also pointed out online, PyeongChang has featured numerous K-Pop songs throughout the actual games. For instance, viewers could hear the music genre in the opening ceremony, in the background of various competitions and performed by North Korea’s “army of beauties.”

The Winter Olympics are ending on Sunday, which provokes a compelling question: Who will be performing during the closing ceremony? People have been spreading rumors about various acts appearing, but the only two confirmed K-Pop sensations are the group Exo and the singer CL.


Formed in 2011 by S.M. Entertainment, Exo is a nine-member boy group that consists of two subgroups. Exo-K performs in Korean and includes members Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai and Sehun, while Exo-M performs in Mandarin and includes Xiumin, Lay and Chen. The members used to separate into their respective subgroups to release music, but after 2014, the group has been collectively putting out music in multiple languages.

Debuting in 2012 with the single titled “Mama” from their EP of the same name, Exo-K and Exo-M promoted their music in both South Korea and China. The Korean version of the EP reached number eight on Billboard’s World Albums Chart, as well as number one on Korea’s Gaon Album Chart, while the mandarin version reached number two on China’s Sina Album Chart.

Before the year had ended, Exo won best new Asian artist group at the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Since then, the group has released four studio albums, six EPs and one live album. Their music also expanded to include not only Korean and Mandarin lyrics, but also Japanese.

Their most recent album, “The War,” released on July 18, 2017, and debuted at #87 on the Billboard 200 chart. Its lead singles include “Ko Ko Bop” and “The Eve,” which are now two of Exo’s most popular songs. Just a month after their album dropped, the Guinness World Records announced that Exo made the 2018 edition of the book for winning the most “daesang” awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in history.

EXO 엑소 'Ko Ko Bop' MV

Along with their group projects, the members of Exo have also released solo music, and a few members have even received minor roles in films. Outside of music, Exo is involved in philanthropic work, with several of its members working as ambassadors for South Korea’s Red Cross Youth, Fashion-KODE 2014 and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. Exo has also worked with UNICEF on a number of projects and campaigns.


Lee Chae-rin, who uses the stage name CL, is a solo singer, songwriter, rapper and former member of the girl group 2NE1, which debuted in 2009 and disbanded in 2016. Selling over 66.5 million records, 2NE1 was one of the most popular girl groups in South Korea, making headlines even in the United States in Billboard Magazine and The New York Times.

CL was both the leader and the lead rapper of 2NE1, alongside members Bom, Dara and Minzy. During her time with 2NE1, CL and her group members collaborated with label-mates Big Bang, a boy band nicknamed “Kings of K-Pop” by the media.

She released her first solo song, “The Baddest Female,” in 2013. The following year, she announced that she would officially debut as a solo act with Scooter Braun as her manager, which has influenced her to experiment with English-language songs, including her collaboration with Diplo for the single “Doctor Pepper” and Lil Yachty’s “Surrender.”

CL’s first official single was “Hello B*tches,” which was followed by “Lifted” from her EP of the same name. “Lifted” was especially successful, peaking at number 21 on iTunes’ Top 30 Hip-Hop/Rap chart.

In 2016, she embarked on her first North American tour, which included stops in both the United States and Canada. Since then, CL has been featured in a number of songs and soundtracks.

There truly couldn’t be a more appropriate lineup for the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony when you take into account the contributions Exo and CL have provided to the South Korean music industry. Fans of both artists are looking forward to seeing their favorite acts hit the stage. International fans are especially eager for the performances since it would be one of the only times they could see a K-Pop show live on their television screens from overseas.

With one final chance of showing the world what South Korea has to offer, viewers can expect an incredible show filled with different aspects of the country’s culture. From its best athletes to its best performers, South Korea will work hard to impress audiences from around the globe while promoting messages of peace and unity.

Viewers can expect the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony to take place on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 6 a.m. ET.

Writer Profile

Michele Mendez

Temple University
Media Studies and Production

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