Diya Jain (New Delhi) and Anushka Gupta (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
Lucknow Regional Round of the K-Pop India Contest 2021 was conducted online on 27 October 2021 at 5pm on the YouTube page, Korean Cultural Centre India. Here is an excerpt from the statements of the winners of the Vocal and Dance categories as well as the Regional Round organisers, Kculturelko, regarding their experience of this event.
Ayushi Singh (Winner)
Hello, My name is Ayushi Singh, I’m from Lucknow and I won first place in the Vocal Category of this year’s K-Pop Contest, Regional round. I got the news of the contest happening this year as well, around July and I was thrilled to hear that. I had always wanted to be a part of this contest and I got that chance this year. As nerve-racking as it was, it was absolutely splendid to be able to perform and, although unexpected, even win the regional round and proceed to the finals. I was a little disheartened at first when I heard it will be held online this year as well. However, it was managed and conducted so well that it gave me the same amount of excitement as performing live for an actual audience. I’m eagerly looking forward to the final round which will be held this weekend.
I’ve been a fan of kpop for a very long time, and back in 2018, I found out there’s this contest held on a national level. Music has always been a big part of my life since childhood so this was a really big opportunity for me to do something I love, that too in a genre I’m so passionate about. Not just k-pop, k-culture itself has been of great influence for me the past few years. On top of that, I got to connect with so many people with similar interests and passion, through this contest. Overall it was a great experience for me.
Purva Tripathi (First Runner-up)
My name is Purva Tripathi. I am the 1st runner-up of the Lucknow Regional Round of K-Pop Contest India 2021 from the vocal category. My overall experience in this year’s K-Pop Contest was fabulous. It was fun yet a learning process for me. All the performer’s performances were mind-blowing and it was just impossible for me to think of myself as a runner up. I learnt about certain points from all performances. And of course the organizers helped us participants a lot. With their help only we were able to focus on our weak points and we gradually improved too. The conduction of all the activities in these events was smooth which didn’t cause any problem as a participant to me. This contest also helped me to learn about different qualities of a performer, and how along with singing different criteria matter too. Judges were awesome too. Altogether this experience was unforgettable. I loved this contest.
Singing is a major part of my life. It always helps me to cope up with my stress or any negative feelings. Indulgence in singing inspired me to become a K-Pop fan and it was the best decision in my life. As an Indian, at first when I was not aware about this genre of music, my music taste was limited by Indian music only which was not enough for a music enthusiast like me. Discovering K-Pop music was totally a hit for me and gradually I got to know about this event. I saw many performances and it built an ultimate desire in me too to participate in such an amazing contest. The high level of competition at national level was like the biggest opportunity to me and I just grabbed it. Although this year I am the 1st runner up, I will try my best next year to win this contest.
Sakshi Tiwari (Second Runner-up)
Hello, This is Sakshi Tiwari. I am the 2nd Runner up of Lucknow Regional Round (KPOP India Contest 2021)from the vocal category. It was my first time participating in a KPop contest. My overall experience was so good .Our Organizers also helped and encouraged us a lot. I was able to learn my weak point through the organizers . I really learned a lot from the performances of other participants . It was so fun participating in this year’s contest . I practiced a lot for the contest.I faced so many difficulties while choosing the song .I came to know about this contest through my friend and I am really really thankful to her. Singing is such an important part of my life. It really helps me to relieve my stress and make me feel positive.
I am a big fan of K-Pop and BTS. I Really respect other artists also but yeah BTS is something special to me. They really inspired me a lot Because of their ultimate desire and inspiration to take part in this contest. My parents and my friends also encouraged and inspired me a lot. I really want to become a singer and want to spread happiness and positivity through my voice. So I’ll try my best next year to come first and perform in finals too. In short , it is a great experience for my singing career which has uplifted and boosted my confidence to the next level and I really can’t forget this throughout my whole life.
Safa Khan (Winner)
Hi! This is Safa Khan. I am the winner of the Lucknow Regional Round (2021) from Dance Category. My experience was wonderful. Thank you KCCI for organising this Contest. I learnt so many things from it. The contest made me realise that this is not enough and I have to do more. Overall exposure was superb. I met so many talented people like literally they are awesome. And then It is not an easy thing to record a whole 3 minutes video in one shot. I had to face so many problems throughout every shoot, like getting sick, finding a location, exam pressure and many more personal issues. I would have given up already but all thanks to my precious people, they motivated me and encouraged me not to give up and try. I wasn’t expecting to win this like, literally nope. And I got to know about this when I was about to give my exam. Like you can imagine my feelings at that time. But I still think I could have done much better. But now I have won this, I can’t even explain how happy I am. Thank you everyone for supporting me. Will work harder in the future. Fighting!
So basically I started dancing last year(2020) after watching a few k-pop dance covers on Instagram. And let me tell you, I knew nothing about dancing or editing. I didn’t even know how to record a video like I used to record my videos from the front camera and they were horrible! And without practising I just took part in the same contest last year( 2020) and was actually expecting to get selected (how foolish I know right?) Yeah and I couldn’t make it. All thanks to some people who told me about my mistakes so that I could work on them and get better. Yeah I improved a lot in that one year and this year I decided to participate again and here I’m today! Winner of Lucknow Regional Round 2021.
My journey is something to which everyone can relate. And I still have a long way to go. I just wanted to tell you all that if you like something just go for it. Work hard and you will achieve it. Hope so we will meet and compete with each other next year till then keep practising, and stay healthy.
Pragati (First Runner-up)
Greetings! I’m Pragati and I am the 1st Runner up of Lucknow Regional Round (2021) from Dance Category. Well everyone is going through a lot in this pandemic. And gradually everything went online due to Covid-19. When I couldn’t go to school and was told to stay at home to keep ourselves safe during tough times, then I got a lot of time to explore myself.
And after a few months in lockdown, I got to know that KCCI is organising an Online K-Pop Contest. Due to my passion for dance and love towards K-Pop. It made me question myself why to hesitate when everyone like me is participating then why not me? And told myself let’s give it a try. And yeah I cleared the audition round by making a video and giving my best.
Then I got introduced by KCCI regional round organizers who are so understanding and doing their jobs diligently. In the regional round, I made new friends and got a chance to learn from them. Besides this,the overall experience, I would say, was brilliant and I cleared the regional round also and became the 1st runner-up in the dance category. What I learn from all these things is that life never stops. It keeps on moving and always gives a chance to rise and shine. It was not an end, it’s an indication of a new beginning. And I’m ready to work harder and explore myself.
My biggest inspiration is K-Pop. Yes and why not? I made a way this far because I learned to stand up after falling and not be afraid if I fail. K-Pop is the reason why I took my first attempt to participate in a K-Pop contest (2021). And ofcourse there are people behind the scenes who continuously supported me to do everything that I wanted to do. And they were my parents, my elder sister and my cousins of course. My parents never stop me from practicing and dancing in K-Pop style. They always praise me for going ahead and trying new things. So yah, my supporters are my backbone and K-Pop is and will be forever as inspiration.
Team Phoenix (Second Runner-up)
Hello. My name is Surabhi Shah, leader of team Phoenix, 2nd runner up of dance category from Lucknow region. I would like to express my views as well as on behalf of my team members Swati Tiwari, Gracy Soni, Kalyani Pawaia. First I would like to show my gratitude towards Korean Culture Centre India for giving this opportunity to us where hundreds of K-Pop enthusiasts from different regions of India participate every year and Korean Culture Lucknow for organizing it this well and helping us in all possible ways. It was such a good experience that we can’t wait to participate again next year. It is an honour for us to share the same stage with so many talented people. The nerve-wracking feeling of performing is so good I will never forget it even if we didn’t get to perform offline. I wish we could perform next year. It was hard at some points for us,having a team where we faced a lot of ups and downs wasn’t easy for us but we overcame that by sticking together and believing in ourselves and each other. The love for K-Pop and passion for dance brought us together. Even if we didn’t win the competition this year, we will surely participate again with the same enthusiasm and better performance and keep participating till we make it one day.
My failure motivated me the most. I must say, I didn’t make it last year so I decided to participate again. As a team we motivated each other,relied on each other,practiced everyday and overcame some of our worst fears like dancing in public as we did shoot our regional rounds’ performance in public. Trust me that was so nerve wrecking but as soon as a few people noticed us and the kpop song that we were dancing on we got so hyped. Overall it’s K-Pop which inspired us the most. Being influenced by kpop only, we are here today sharing our experiences like this. I am so glad that kpop is getting more and more popular worldwide creating opportunities like this. At last I would like to say how grateful we are to be a part of this awesome journey. Being in a team together had its ups and downs but was so much fun. For inspiration, it can come from anywhere and for us it came through kpop. Some people might come and hate us for what we are doing but we’ll never stop because it makes us happy and we’ll keep supporting kpop as long as we can and help to spread the hallyu wave more and more in every way possible. Thank you.
Korean Culture Lucknow Fanclub
This year marks our third year of organising this contest with KCCI. As we all know that this contest has been held online since last year due to covid, so it has been quite a new experience for us. The first time we organized the regional round in Lucknow in 2019 which was held at a venue before covid came into our lives. Organizing it at a venue was really hectic but an awesome experience for us as the organizers, but managing it online was as hectic as it was when we organised it offline. But this year, KCCI aided us by providing an agency.
As i said it was a new experience, we learned quite a few things this time as well. Like reaching out to the contestants, working together with the provided agency in sync, guiding the contestants throughout the online round etc. It felt good to see how the participants were still excited about the contest and gave their very best in these situations as well. There were many problems we faced during online video submission but in the end it came out pretty good. We also saw that many of the contestants who auditioned were the contestants we knew from last year and it was really good to see how much they have improved since last year. You can definitely see their hard work in their performances. We’re glad that KCCI has organised this event even though it was online instead of taking a break. It really helped us as the organizers- to manage things online and gave the participants a new experience as well. We hope to continue working with KCCI and organise this contest every year.
Starting this group was a big decision itself as we organizers were students ourselves (and we still are). We didn’t have any source of income or much support from our families. All we had was our curiosity and love for Korean culture. The fact that the word “South Korea” can make us excited enough to start something new.
We didn’t know much at the start but while managing our Instagram page (@kculturelko) and reaching out to people from different regions we eventually came across The K-POP contest India. It started with our first regional round where we saw all these contestants and their hard work, dedication and love for K-POP was enough to motivate us. After starting Korean Culture Lucknow we realized how big this Hallyu wave is. There are always ups and downs but the results are always satisfying.
You can watch the Lucknow Regional Round here: