A Celebration Of Pinoy Pop: The PPOP CON 2022 Concert Puts The Rise in P-Pop Rise

Stan talent. Stan P-pop.

If ever you were in doubt that P-pop was just a fad, PPOP CON 2022 proved that it is in for a good, long, and exciting time.

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If you took a time machine and went back even as late as the mid-2010s and asked people their thoughts on P-pop, you probably will get a blank stare and no response. While the country has a strong penchant for ballads and enjoys a strong band scene that has brought some of the biggest acts in OPM history, the same couldn’t have been said for the P-pop scene. P-pop groups were usually just seen as gimmicks not to be taken seriously. That, of course, has changed in the past couple of years. No longer is P-pop seen as an ignored sub-genre, but one that should be taken seriously. And over the past weekend, we saw that idea of P-pop rising reach its greatest heights yet during the first ever P-pop Convention.

Part fan gathering, part concert, PPOP CON proved to be that signifier that P-pop and P-pop groups are here to stay. Many fandoms had their own dedicated booths at the convention floor at the New Frontier Theater where fans could take home merch, as well as write a message to their fave group. Quite a few P-pop groups also performed at the convention stage and actually served as the debut stage for many. But its accompanying concert at the Araneta Coliseum, the first in-person concert with a full audience held at the venue since the pandemic began, was an exercise in P-pop excellence. For some groups, this was their first live stage while others used the moment to stage anticipated comebacks. Even though the concert lasted well over five hours, it was all worth it seeing eleven P-pop groups take the stage and dazzle us with their performances.

And with the recent release of PPOPCON EXTRA that’s available to stream until July 3, fans have the opportunity to relive the moment or experience it for the first time, this time with the remastered concert also having convention highlights, rehearsal clips and exclusive interviews, brand new footage and much more. But whether you’ve seen the EXTRA edition or the OG, there’s no denying that the PPOPCON concert was one for the P-pop history books.

4TH IMPACT BRINGS DOWN THE HOUSE

The show kicked off with a bang when KAIA took the stage as the first performer. They started with their debut single Blah Blah before following it up with their first song, KAYA. Even though they technically made their debut just a few days ago, they ate it up with stable vocals, solid looks, and fire choreography. It was their biggest stage to date and they didn’t look nervous at all. Up next was P-pop girl group G22 who performed their debut single, Bang Bang. While the performance itself was really good, their whole set felt underwhelming because they were the only group who sang one song. We wanted more, really.

G22’s brother group VXON took to the stage next. While it is indeed bold to label yourselves the P-pop monster rookies, their performance proved that it’s one they deserve. VXON started off with strong energy and killer dance moves with The Beast and showed of their sentimental side with their new single, P.S.

4th IMPACT were up next and their set was undoubtedly a highlight for many during the night. After performing K(now) More, things quickly turned emotional as the group marveled at performing at Araneta Coliseum and in front of a live audience. To hit us further in the feels, during their The Greatest Showman medley, they asked the audience to lift their phones up with the flashlight on as they sang. When the camera panned to the group’s POV seeing all the lights in the building, it was a moment to remember. And when they went down to the crowd to sing with them, it was a euphoric scene to behold. They closed out their set with Here We Go and Bang Bang all while retaining their A-tier vocals. Seeing 4th IMPACT get their flowers at PPOP CON felt absolutely right.

BINI SNAPS WITH THE DANCE BREAK

Press Hit Play took to the stage next and started things off strong with their debut song WIN. They then channeled their inner romantics with Adlaw before bringing the 80s groove with Tell Me. The group proceeded to get us emotional as they performed Sambit and recalled their journey to debut. Most of the groups active in the P-pop scene now all made their debut during the pandemic. So, it is understandable to see some groups get emotional over seeing their musical dreams come to fruition.

BINI never disappoints when they take to the stage and that much was true during their set. Dressed in a smattering of white, gold, and black, BINI showcased performance prowess with their three song set of Born To Win, Golden Arrow, and Da Coconut Nut. Their dance moves in particular gave everything that needed to be given, from that group back bend to the leg lift.  

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST

1st.One brought out the production value with their cadre of backup dancers as they slayed their way through their three song set of You are the one, Oh, and Shout Out. As technically one of the older P-pop groups who performed during PPOP CON, 1st.One may not always get the props they deserve, so their performance was a welcome sign that they shouldn’t be ignored. Alamat’s four song set was filled with singing, dancing, and a little bit of tears as they had their debut performance of their new song, Sa Panaginip Lang.

As one of the premier boy groups right now, BGYO had a lot of expectations surrounding them, which they thoroughly met. From the vocals, facial expressions, fits, and stage presence, everything was on point. The version of The Light they performed in particular was so good. You still got the hard hitting beats of the original, but mixed in with an epic intro. MNL48 were the second to the last to perform and they delivered fun and energetic takes on Palusot Ko’y Maybe, High Tension, and No Way Man.

While every group up until this point did an excellent job, PPOP CON 2022 decided to save the best for the last when SB19 finally took to the stage. If the blue ocean at the Araneta Coliseum didn’t clue you in already, many people in the audience were waiting for the group. And boy, did they deliver. The moment Pablo began rapping on his throne during the beginning of What?, we already knew they were going to serve hard. From the new arrangements in their songs to the brand new dance breaks, everything felt like a puzzle that came together. Arguably, they were the best of the night with their voice, stage presence, production, and dance moves at a 10.

P-POP RISE, PERIOD

For those of you who are into K-pop and watch Korean music shows, then you know that during the end of some shows, all the idols come together on the stage for an epic sight. That feeling of seeing all the groups together was felt when all the P-pop groups came on stage together for the end. Seeing all the groups on one stage was something else. Just a few years ago, most people would think that this was impossible. But here we are now, with all the idols together as they took their final bows.

It also warms the heart to see the other P-pop groups be friendly with each other and have a good time. Cute interactions such as KAIA running to BINI or the members of Press Hit Play hugging Pablo shows us that everyone is just here to make good music and help P-pop rise, not fight each other and start fan wars. As the current roster of P-pop groups gets bigger and more groups enter the scene, P-pop will slowly, but surely be seen as a force in the industry. The fact that PPOP CON happened at all should tell you as much.

Gwyneth Paltrow famously said, “I laughed, I cried a number of times, I sweat, I danced, I got a shot, I ate, and I had many epiphanies.”. That iconic line very much fits with the experience of watching the 2022 PPOP CON concert. It was history-making and genre-defining for all the right reasons. Dare we say it, but the modern golden age of P-pop is here and it is only just the beginning.

Continue Reading: 7 Times P-pop Groups Made History In 2021