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World's largest K-pop festival kicks off in Changwon

International fans of Korean pop music gathered in the South Korean city of Changwon for the final of this year's global K-pop singing and dance competition on Friday.

   A total of 15 teams, who topped the preliminaries in the regional competitions in 65 countries around the world, made their last sprint for the top title in the 2016 K-POP World Festival in Changwon.

   Changwon is a city located some 398 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

   The annual K-pop competition, the largest of its kind, is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, state-run television broadcaster KBS and the Korean Culture and Information Service to further spread "hallyu," or the global following of Korean pop culture.

  Among the participating countries in the sixth edition of the festival were Nigeria, Nepal, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, the U.S., Vietnam and Sweden, as well as Israel, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, China and Hungary.

   The competition is divided into two sections, stage performance and vocal performance. Last year's No. 1 crown went to the Nigerian team for its outstanding performance of "Dope" by South Korean boy band Bangtan Boys.

   After each team's performance, the South Korean judge panel, comprised of K-pop composers, producers and choreographers, gave feedbacks on their vocal skills, delivery, stage presence, choreography and technical assets.

   During the competition, hit K-pop groups Bangtan Boys, EXID, TWICE, Monsta X and Astro also performed small sets.

   The global K-pop event was live-broadcast in some 100 countries via television broadcaster KBS and its broadcasting app "KBS myK," as well as through online broadcasting platforms Naver Cast and YouTube.

   Changwon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo and officials from S.M. Entertainment, the largest entertainment agency in South Korea, were also present at the event.

   In his opening address, Ahn said, "S.M. Entertainment gave its word to pick outstanding performers and foster them as K-pop musicians," arousing frantic cheers from the international audience.

   "I hope the global popularity of K-pop will blast like flames, to have more world talent make efforts to become excellent K-pop artists," the mayor added. (Yonhap)

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