5 Highlights From the First Night of KCON 2018 NY

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Wendy, Seulgi, Irene, Yeri and Joy of girl band Red Velvet attend the red carpet at KCON Day 1 2018 NY presented by Toyota at Prudential Center on June 23, 2018 in Newark.

KCON 2018 NY kicked off on Saturday (June 23) at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The convention included the KCON 2018 NY STAR Live Talk with Billboard, and a program full of Korean pop culture-associated events and activities. The headline concert lasted several hours and saw vibrant sets from some of Korea's most popular stars, plus a few surprises. 

1. K-pop Songwriter Esna Showed Up Strong

Cali girl Esna is a well-known K-pop songwriter and singer in her own right, who has worked most prominently with girl group Mamamoo and co-wrote one of 2014's biggest hits, "Some" from Soyou, Junggigo and Lil Boi. She served up a dynamic opening set of her song “Ahh Oop!,” originally performed with Mamamoo, and her response “Ahh Shit!”

YouTuber Jun Curry Ahn also performed an opening set, where he played a rendition of Red Velvet’s “Bad Boy” on his violin plus his own original song.   

2. Pentagon and Stray Kids Showed their ‘Passion’ Off Together

The "PentaKids" collaboration saw the two boy bands perform a joint routine, highlighting aggressive choreography and hitting "Passion." Two rising K-pop boy bands, they had previously wowed audiences with renditions of their popular songs like Pentagon's "Shine" and Stray Kids' "District 9." 

3. Heize Sparkled Up The Night

Soloist alt-R&B singer-songwriter Heize showed up to perform several of her heartfelt songs while bedazzling the stadium, as fans held up cell phone flashlights in emulation of the titular object of her song “Star.” The light reflected off of the soloist’s silver dress -- and the tinsel in her hair.  

4. Super Junior Performed a Medley of Their Hits

The legacy boy band taught fans the dances to some of their most popular singles before performing a mix of “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple,” “Bonamana” and “Rokkugo,” lighting up KCON 2018 NY with their high-intensity finale performance, which also saw Super Junior perform their latest “Lo Siento” with Leslie Grace, and their early, inspirational track “Miracle.”

5. Red Velvet Unveiled English Lyrics for ‘Bad Boy’

The prominent quintet surprised fans with a version of their hit song “Bad Boy” that heavily featured English verses. It was the first time Red Velvet had performed any other variant of the single, and fans were buzzing about a potential bilingual remix or English version.