Members of K-pop act EXO said Wednesday they were thrilled to perform in front of what may be their biggest audience to date -- at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics this weekend.
"None of us EXO members existed in 1988. I truly can't believe that we're part of the closing ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics," Suho, leader of the nine-member band, said at a press conference at the PyeongChang Olympic Main Press Centre at Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang.
K-pop band EXO poses for the camera during a press conference held at PyeongChang Olympic Main Press Centre at Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang on Feb. 21, 2018. (Yonhap)
EXO, along with Korean hip-hop songstress CL, will grace the closing event at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Sunday evening. "We're excited to put on an awesome show this Sunday," fellow member Baekhyun said.
The member said they were honored for the chance to become part of Olympic history.
"When watching past Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, I always thought being on such stage was an incredible feat in and of itself. Emotions are running high knowing that EXO will be on stage," he said.
While the Olympic opening ceremonies tend to mostly focus on specific themes and messages, the closing events lean more towards having a festival or party atmosphere, with pop stars often being at the center. The closing of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics featured Canadian pop singers Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne, while the 2012 London Olympics had the Spice Girls and rock band Oasis put on shows at its closing.
Suho, leader of K-pop group EXO, appears in front of reporters wearing sunglasses made of the five-ringed Olympic symbol at PyeongChang Olympic Main Press Centre at Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang on Feb. 21, 2018. (Yonhap)
When first approached, the singers said they were made nervous by the idea of performing to a global audience. The group has been putting extra effort toward the concert, which is being kept under tight wraps.
"(In the past) we prepared a lot for year-end award shows, but we knew that we had to prepare more than for the award shows," Baekhyun said. "It's an honorable occasion but we did go into it feeling the pressure."
The group said they're most looking forward to meeting South Korean skeleton gold medalist Yun Sung-bin.
"Yun Sung-bin has shown an incredible performance in the skeleton event and he also wore the Iron Man helmet. I also like Iron Man, so there seems to be some connection between us," said Suho.
Suho also said Yun's seemingly earnest dream for the Olympics has resonated deeply with him. "In that respect, he is an athlete that I want to learn from."
EXO members also gave a shout-out to Russian figure skating star Evgenia Medvedeva, who is competing at the PyeongChang Games. The two-time figure skating world champion is a self-professed EXO fan.
"We heard that (she is a fan of ours) and have delivered her a CD with our signatures. She also spoke of us often in interviews," Suho said. "We wish she can return home uninjured and safe in her competitions."
CL said she was approached for the project about three months ago by the organizing committee. She recalled being congratulated by many close friends when the news broke of her performance at the closing ceremony.
The singer, former leader of now-defunct girl group 2NE1, asked fans to "enjoy the festival" on Sunday.
"It's best to just present the stage rather than trying to explain it in words," the singer said.