The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics officially ended with the closing ceremony Sunday (Feb. 25). Taking place during the early morning hours for most of the U.S, the South Korean-based event aired via NBC’s Olympics and Sports websites and streaming apps, giving stateside viewers the first glimpses of the festive performances, including two from major K-pop players.
After an introduction that featured children ice skaters, post-rock band Jambinai, traditional pansori musicians, and a classical Korean court dance performed by actress Honey Lee, a former Miss Korea and traditional musician, the closing ceremony featured a variety of light effect and dance-based sets, as well as the athletic parade, final medal ceremonies and several odes to the Olympic Games in the form of speeches and the official anthem. For many viewers, the biggest stars of the night were the eight members of EXO and CL, who represented the immensely popular K-pop industry.
With the pair of K-pop performances dubbed the “Song of Passion” segment of the night, CL appeared mid-way through the closing ceremony. Draped in dramatic black and flocked by a team of dancers with brightly colored hair and sci-fi-esque glasses, the self-proclaimed “Baddest Female” broke into a rendition of that very track, marking her first solo performance on South Korean television in several years. A member of the now-defunct 2NE1, CL used a short snippet of her “Hello Bitches” to transition into the girl group’s hit “I Am the Best,” igniting the crowd with enthusiasm for the pump-up anthem that helped her act become one of South Korea’s top girl groups of the past decade.
After CL left the stage, the final official events of the closing ceremony took place and led into a traditional dance performed by EXO’s Kai. Donning a flowing hanbok and accompanied by a single percussionist, the K-pop star dominated the stage, and then was joined by the other seven EXO members in attendance — Chinese member Lay didn’t make an appearance — who were driven in on what appeared to be all-terrain vehicles. In preppy white suit ensembles, the boy band — one of the most popular K-pop acts over the past half decade — performed their 2013 hit “Growl” and last year’s “Power,” flanked by dancers utilizing glowing hand gear.
Also on Sunday, both CL and EXO met with Ivanka Trump, and EXO met their figure skating super fan, Russian figure skater and medalist Evgenia Medvedeva.
The closing ceremony ended with an EDM set that had all the athletes acting like they were at the party of their lives, featuring Raiden and Martin Garrix as DJs, ending off the South Korean Olympic games with a less-than-native touch that ignited the country’s social media with questions regarding where prominent local stars, such as Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame, were.
Watch EXO’s performance below, and tune in to NBC’s primetime coverage tonight to see the rest of the closing ceremony.
— withMBC (@withMBC) February 25, 2018