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Who are EXO the boyband about to thrill the Winter Olympics?

Sundays closing ceremony will feature one of K-Pops biggest acts, who fans say will deliver

The worlds eyes will be on Pyeongchang on Sunday for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics and they are about to be introduced to South Koreas boyband sensation EXO.

Fans say the K-pop band were chosen to perform at the ceremony not just because of their current popularity, but in part because of the unity they have represented in the region.

EXO were formed with 12 South Korean and Chinese members, but in a move unfamiliar to western pop groups, the band sometimes breaks down into two sub-groups, the Korean-language EXO-K, and the Mandarin-speaking EXO-M, who are more active in China. Now numbering nine members, EXOs singles are released in both Korean- and Chinese-language versions.

Watch the sci-fi themed video for Power by EXO.

One of the bands leading members, Suho (picture below), expects the occasion to be emotional. Watching opening and closing ceremonies in other countries, I thought that its really incredible to go on that stage. Now that EXO is doing so, its a new feeling. I think tears might fall after we complete our performance.

#2018 # # # . # D-4!!

A post shared by EXO Official Instagram (@weareone.exo) on

EXOs appeal has extended far beyond South Korean shores. Rida Sabih, 22, is Turkish-born, studying in Pakistan, and helps run one of the biggest EXO fan pages on Facebook, EXO Planet. As fans, she says, the thought that a group that we supported ever since their debut is receiving so much love from their own home country has made us so grateful. We have supported them through thick and thin.

The bands achievements have placed them in the higher echelons of South Korean pop history, having sold more than 8m albums and picked up in excess of 100 music awards.

Members
Members of EXO attend the 2017 Asia Artist Awards in Seoul. Photograph: Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

Also performing at the ceremony will be K-Pop artist CL. A former member of the band 2NE1, CL has been keeping the details of the closing ceremony show, and her involvement in it, a closely guarded secret.

I found out three months ago, she said. It was very important to me. I had to prepare well, and there was the request to not tell anyone. It was a mission, and I kept the secret. Rather than explaining it with words, it is best to just show you.

CL
CL is also due to appear during the Winter Olympic closing ceremony Photograph: YONHAP/EPA

Like all successful K-Pop artists, EXO have a huge following on social media. In the runup to the Games, fans even warned each other away from using the official Olympic hashtag, for fear they would dominate the channel and drown out news about the actual sport.

(@jamiletchankai)

guys i really dont think using the official Olympics hashtag is a good idea, people use that to get results for all the game & right now its drowned in EXO related posts. Maybe just use #ClosingCeremony & #EXOlympics ??

February 9, 2018

The bands Baekhyun spoke about how the sense of occasion has weighed upon EXOs preparations. It is a great honour, he said. But we also practised feeling a lot of burden.

EXOs fans are also feeling the nerves ahead of their live TV performance on Sunday where they will face huge crowds. We are tense. Well be praying hard for the closing performance, which is unarguably the most important achievement in EXOs career to date, said Sabih.

We have seen EXO do so many things like this that we have our full trust in them, like their whole country has their trust in them. We are used to seeing EXO deliver their best and make everyone proud.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/24/who-are-exo-the-boyband-about-to-thrill-the-winter-olympics-south-korea-k-pop

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