Sweeter the second time for Cebu K-Pop Star 2019 champ
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - October 8, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Far from last year’s consolation prize finish, it’s sweeter the second time around for dance group Youngblood as they took home the top prize at this year’s Cebu K-Pop Star search.

Besting 21 other hopefuls, five-member troupe Youngblood was declared the 2019 Cebu K-Pop Star Grand Champion after a snappy and energetic performance that was warmly received by the roaring crowd who came to watch the finals at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu on Saturday, Oct. 5.

“It was very overwhelming. Wala mi nag-expect nga kami ang maka-daog,” said 20-year-old Giovanni Cataluña. Fellow members Merlyn Anore, Rosiel Kurt Segovia, Kerth James Andaya, and Dave Bentoy posed with their trophy, bouquet and a massive certificate saying they just won P50,000 to commemorate the moment.

Cebu K-Pop Star is an event by the Cebu Korean Association Inc., in partnership with the Korean Consulate Office in Cebu, which gathers pasisonate fans of Korean popular music who would like to showcase their talents and love for their favorite K-Pop artists.

Now on its ninth staging, this year’s edition is in line with the annual Korea Day festivities, even made special since 2019 is designated as the “Year of Mutual Exchange of Philippines and Korea” mutually agreed on by President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during last year’s Korea-Philippine summit, as a way to celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between the nations.

Youngblood opened their performance with “Intro: Nap of A Star,” donning intricate horn and wings costumes. They then hit the stage with a bit of “Cat and Dog” and finished it off with a full-on “Crown” performance – all songs by Tomorrow X Together (TXT), a rookie South Korean pop act that debuted in March under Big Hit Entertainment.

Youngblood decided to pay homage to TXT’s charming and boyish spirit in April, taking time outside of school to practice on weekends, to eventually rehearsing everyday as the competition drew nearer.

Anore, the leader of Youngblood, said they wanted to make up for last year’s placement. They also didn’t think they’d win because the other performers equally deserved the award. Youngblood said they enjoy doing covers of K-Pop groups. Apart from the happiness and utter satisfaction they feel when they dance to their favorite K-Pop songs, they also make it a point to compete in order to share their talent to others.

As Cebu K-Pop Star winners, Youngblood performed last Sunday at the 9th Cebu City Korea Day Gala Show at SM City Cebu.

“We did it! Until now we can’t believe it that we won! We would like to thank everyone who cheered and supported us today. As of the moment we do not have any words to explain how happy we are,” the group posted on their Facebook page, thanking not only Cebuano supporters, but also those from Bohol who came to see their performance.

Following Youngblood as first runner-up is Se-Tre who performed “Thanks” by Seventeen, while second runner-up is Solstice who performed “Clap,” also by Seventeen. They won P30,000 and P10,000, respectively.

Winners of P5000 consolation prizes are MI6X who danced to another Seventeen song called “Getting Closer,” and Twinea who covered Twice’s “What is Love?”.

Judging the competition were Jason Jung, director of fan meetings and concerts for K-Pop groups like TVXQ and 4Minute; Monica Sylvia Orellano, choreographer and dance master of Knapsack Dancers; Andy Kim, director of Club Four Seasons; Kris Tiffany Janson, beauty queen, commercial model, host and K-Pop fan; and Joseph Shin, Consular Officer of the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Cebu who was also Chairman of the Board of Judges.

Last year’s grand champion, RABB7E, returned to the Cebu K-Pop Star stage to regale the audience with their verison of “Anpanman,” “Boy with Luv” and “IDOL” by BTS. Korean act L-Star (Lucky Star) Kids also came back to Cebu to perform for K-Pop fans. They were followed by DJ duo BADBOSS crew, composed by BADBOSS and KAIGER, who has produced songs for K-Pop personalities like Super Junior’s Cho Kyuhyun, BLACKPINK’s Lisa, JYJ’s Kim Junsu, and JBJ95, among others. Also taking the stage were Kay-G, Jean Paul, Sang Hee, and Tae Yu, together known as FREEPASS.

Chairman and Production Manager of Cebu City Korea Day 2019 Sang Hyun “Paul” Kim congratulated the participants and supporters for another job well done.

“Thank you very much. I’m so happy that we have many K-Pop fans here in Cebu. We are already together for nine years and I hope we’ll be together for more,” he said.

CEBU K-POP STAR
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