While some people were expecting the opening ceremony to feature high-octane performances of some of the biggest K-pop songs, some of which have become international hits, that’s not exactly what transpired. Instead, South Korean folk artist Jeon In-kwon, indie rocker Ha Hyun-woo, and K-pop singer Ahn Ji-young came together to put their spin on John Lennon’s inspirational tune “Imagine.” The musicians were surrounded by people holding candles, and it made for a wonderful, peaceful moment of TV.
While K-pop wasn’t front and center during the performance part of the opening ceremony, some of the best-known and most popular singles from the genre were played during the event, giving them at least a bit of the spotlight. Athletes from all around the world walked out to hit K-pop tunes, which allowed the style of music to shine. Team USA had the honor of parading into the stadium to Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” while other countries made their way into the first party of the Olympics to songs like BTS’ “DNA,” BigBang’s “Fantastic Baby,” and Red Velvet’s “Red Flavor.”
Before the games actually began, a number of well-known South Korean musicians enjoyed the honor of carry the Olympic torch, one of many traditions attached to the games. Members and former members of highly-successful Korean groups like Super Junior, Girl’s Day, 2NE1, as well as solo artists like Monsta X all took turns holding the flame and carrying it on its long journey to the stadium where the event officially kicked off.
There aren’t many sports that require music to be played while an athlete is competing (and in fact, it is typically not allowed), but various forms of skating are the exceptions. Athletes must choose a song that accompanies their routine, and the choices this year have run the gamut from familiar pop tunes to Latin smashes, and even a few rock options have been selected. The list of tracks played during figure skating is too long to post in full, but songs like Coldplay’s “O (Fly On),” “Fix You,” and “Paradise,” The Beatles’ "Come Together," "Let It Be," and "Help!,” Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain,” and even Beyoncé’s “Run The World (Girls)” and “Halo” have already been incorporated into routines.
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