Imphal: A 19-year-old girl Chanchui Khayi from Ukhrul district in Manipur won the first-ever virtual solo singing competition category at the K-Pop India contest 202 as part of Changwon K-Pop World Festival.

The first runner-up title in the solo singing competition was given to Vidisenuo Belho, a 20-year-old girl from Nagaland.

The annual event was organised by the Korean Cultural Center India (KCCI) and sponsored by Korean brands like Samsung, Limese and Innisfree.

There are indubitably huge K-Pop lovers in India and the Korean culture has widening its popularity, especially in northeast region garnering huge fans among the youngsters.

Hailing from Teinem village and currently pursuing her studies in Delhi, Chanchui competed with over 1300 applicants from across 18 cities in the country. The competition was held for vocal and dance categories.

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Speaking with EastMojo, Chanchui who belongs to the Tangkhul community said that “I knew the competition was coming up soon but wasn’t sure of participating as it was a virtual platform. However, I wanted to at least give a try and see and that was how I landed at the competition.”

There were three stages of the selection process – online audition, regional rounds and grand finale and each participant was required to sing a song of their choice and recorded in a video.

For the grand finale, artistes were selected through 50% Google voting and 50% likes on their videos which were uploaded on KCCI Instagram page.

And for the vocal competition, Chanchui, who is also the present reigning queen of Miss Spring 2019, Manipur, performed a song ‘Eight’ by IU Ft Suga and garnered huge fans on the social media platform.

On being asked about the challenges faced while learning the Korean song, Chanchui said that “Learning the language wasn’t as hard as I grew up listening and watching Korean Hallyu wave. But I still had to practice a lot to get the correct pronunciation and accent by finding out the in-depth meaning of my sing and resonating with it.”

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I was worried as it was all online but the attention and support garnered from people around India and back home was exceptionally amazing, she added.

Expressing her happiness over the breakthrough moment, Chanchui further said that “In a way, it was like a dream come true which reminded me that hard work and prayer is always rewarding.”

Commenting on the growing craze for Korean culture, especially K-Pop in the region, Chanchui said that in the northeast, K-Pop or Korean wave has been a low-key staple amongst households since the 2000s with an explosive surge of fans after 2010. However, in recent years, all around India, the Korean wave has significantly grown and has infused into the top entertainment trends.

Meanwhile, BTS, one of the most sought-after K-Pop bands in Korea, reached out to their fans in India when they shared a video message for K-Pop competitors in India.

We want to say thank you so much to everyone in India who loves K-Pop. Your energy keeps BTS going strong. Thank you Army in India,” says the band.

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