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MCOUNTDOWN IN FRANCE: Operation Seduction!

For the first time in its history, the musical show MCOUNTDOWN, a leading figure of the South Korean channel Mnet (Production CJ ENM), was broadcast from Paris during a breathtaking show that looked like a seduction operation !


Operation Seduction: On the way to Busan!

This is the second time this year that the Défense Arena, the largest indoor venue in Europe, has hosted a South Korean music show. On this occasion, nearly 22,000 people gathered this Sunday, October 15, to celebrate K-Pop and the culture of the Land of the Morning Calm. For more than three and a half hours, twice as long as a usual episode of the show, ten artists followed one another, performing their biggest hits and extolling the strengths of their culture... Because it was indeed Korean culture as a whole which was highlighted that evening!

Like an echo of the messages transmitted by all the artists present, the multiple nods to South Korea's candidacy for the organization of the next Universal Exhibition, scheduled for 2030, are unmistakable! It must be said that, before the end of the year, the world will know the city chosen to host the event. As a reminder, South Korea, with Busan, is in competition with Italy and Saudi Arabia. In a voting system where each country represents one vote, it was necessary for the Korean peninsula to solidify its ties with France. And what better than K-pop fans to promote the country, carried by the movement for many years!

Too many empty seats...

In a high security context, it is important to emphasize fan management. Welcoming more than twenty thousand people remains a challenge, and examples of poor organization are numerous. However, it was calmly, without crowding, that the 22,000 expected people entered the arena in less than two hours. La Défense Arena, capable of accommodating nearly 40,000 people, is in a reduced format. Some stands are covered and the pit remains ventilated. The evening will not be sold out... The fault perhaps with an increase in tours at the end of the year.

Since the start of the school year, around 20 artists have been announced until December... An average of one concert per week. Obviously, fans made choices and chose the best value for money. You had to count on more than €250 for a place in the pit, standing, as close as possible to the stage without any particular advantages... Enough to put off some who had to turn to other posters this fall. This did not prevent those who made the trip from dancing, singing and supporting the artists constituting an enticing poster. From the group accustomed to European scenes, like ATEEZ, through the newcomers ZEROBASEONE and ELZ7 UP, to the solo artist, such as TAEMIN or PSY… There was something for everyone!

An unbalanced show with a touch of proximity!

Announced for 8 p.m., the show actually starts at 7:45 p.m. with the arrival on stage of DJ RAIDEN! His name did not appear, unfortunately, on the communication media... However, he would have deserved to appear as the eleventh guest of this evening. Covering the most popular South Korean hits of recent months, the DJ took less than 5 minutes to get the Défense Arena dancing! A perfect appetizer before the arrival of all the members of K-Tigers. A group with a particular concept, K-Tigers are made up of stuntmen or drama doubles specialized in taekwondo… An art that they put at the service of K-pop by using famous choreographies in which they insert movements specific to their martial art . A hypnotizing show that finds its place perfectly as a follow-up to DJ RAIDEN and as an introduction to the most French of South Korean groups, ATEEZ!

The choice to start the evening with the performance of ATEEZ surprised more than one. Risk-taking is real! What if the Atinys, present in large numbers, lose interest in the remaining show? It is customary to keep the audience in suspense so that they remain present throughout the show. MCOUNTDOWN in France made the opposite choice: to warm up an impatient audience so that it could support all the artists as much as possible. However, the risk-taking worked well since each of the guests received an ovation commensurate with their performance.

However, beyond the performances and the quality of the show offered, the list of guests offers several points of imbalance. Firstly, the low number of female groups. The latter are only represented by ELZ7 UP and DREAMCATCHER. The first took advantage of this passage to perform two pieces while the second was warmly welcomed by a Parisian audience who had had the chance to see them on stage at the Zénith de Paris a year earlier. Out of a total of eleven guests, only two are girlbands. However, many of them have occupied the music charts in recent months, and discovering new artists could have made it possible to reach more fans...

The second imbalance lies in the performance time allocated to each group. It is certain that when young groups like ZB01 or ELZ7 UP debut on such stages, the setlists are less extensive. However, when ATEEZ performs five songs, groups like DREAMCATCHER or TREASURE will not do more than three. Even the performance of PSY, headliner and highlight of the show, will not exceed three titles! However, the picture is not entirely gloomy since, despite the size of the Arena and its layout that is not conducive to proximity with the artists, MCOUNTDOWN in France has managed to create exceptional memories for fans thanks to numerous exchanges. Energizing the interludes, these moments of exchange allowed some to exchange directly with their “favs”… Like this young woman with the members of TREASURE who is offered a few minutes in duplex with the training and who forgets the 20,000 people around her for a few minutes.

The highlight of the show, the arrival of PSY awakens hearts! If some people discovered the K-Pop universe recently with the fourth generation groups, some older people were caught up in this wave more than ten years ago with “Gangnam Style” , a global hit that propelled PSY to international stardom in just a few weeks. And if, since then, South Korean groups have very often graced French stages, PSY is one of the notable absentees... Despite a flashmob at the Trocadéro in 2012, the showman shunned the European continent! It is now ancient history since October 15 and its appearance at the Défense Arena.

Through just three pieces, he proved that he was, single-handedly, capable of making several thousand people dance! In order to reach young and old alike, PSY cleverly begins his performance with “That That”, his collaboration with Suga of BTS. A unique showcase which allowed him to carve out a place in the hearts of the youngest fans. He then continues with the heady “DADDY”, released at the time featuring CL, before concluding with the title that everyone was waiting for: “Gangnam Style”. A conclusion in line with the promotion of South Korean culture in France since it is, in part, thanks to this title, that K-Pop has become established in our daily lives.

A tempting promise that leaves you wanting more!

Despite an enticing poster, MCOUNTDOWN will not have kept all of its promises. The fault, perhaps, is a multiplication of tours at the end of the year combined with imbalances in the choice of guests. Nevertheless, the initiative to organize an evening with more than ten artists is worth highlighting! Besides certain festivals in Europe dedicated to K-pop, the movement still remains underrepresented. It is even absent in France since you have to go to Spain or Germany, when they are maintained, to attend a festival dedicated to South Korean music.

And yet, the festival remains the best way to attend multiple performances, to discover new talents, to centralize the audience... All at a lower cost for the spectator.


The entire KARAOME team thanks the organization of MCOUNTDOWN as well as AEG Presents for the invitations.

© Photo credits: CJ ENM

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