Curated Playlist: 5 K-pop Songs That Went Viral Thanks to Dance Challenges

kpop challenge

Edited by Yoon
Translated by Yu Jin Kim

kpop challenge
Credit: ADOR, Kakao Entertainment, The Black Label

Choreography, as well as music, plays a vital role in making a hit k-pop song. Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style,” which paved the way for K-pop to enter Billboard, drew massive attention all around the world with their “bullet shooting dance” and “horse dance.” Since choreography is one of the most important aspects of making a hit song, many K-pop groups strive to design addictive, catchy dance moves for their songs.

K-pop choreography consists of easy-to-follow dance steps that allow the participants to dance along to the song, and the nature of such moves leads to the creation of new content. For instance, the dance challenge culture rooted in TikTok made K-pop much more familiar to the public. Here, we rounded up the top five songs that went viral thanks to the dance challenges on social media.

ZICO – Any Song (2020)

ZICO’s “Any Song” would be the first song that comes to mind when we think of the word “challenge.” The song became one of the biggest hit songs in the history of South Korean hip-hop and ZICO’s discography. Although there were dance challenges before, it is fair to say that the song really began the short-form challenges trend on various social media platforms. Plus, the singer released numerous collab videos with other artists, featuring Hwasa, Chungha and Jang Sung Kyu, the celebrity combination of which goes well with his “hipster” image.

“Any Song” shows how important it is to read current trends for a K-pop song to be a hit. Perhaps its success comes from thorough analysis and meticulous planning.

fromis_9 – WE GO (2021)

“WE GO” is the song made fromis_9 known to the public. The group began to receive more attention after their dance challenge video was released: The clip featuring Baek Ji Hyeon and other dance major students at Seoul Performing Arts High School. Soon after the video went viral, popular K-pop artists like WJSN, (G)I-DLE’s Miyeon, Wei and Youtuber DanceKang joined the challenge.

fromis_9 tried to approach the public in different ways besides the challenge. The lyrics sing about going off to somewhere nice to chase away “COVID blue,” and the music video provides various attractions using UIs from diverse social media platforms.

Jeon Somi – DUMB DUMB (2021)

“DUMB DUMB” is Jeon Somi’s biggest hit, and the song made headlines as YGX’s main choreographer Lee Jung partook in creating the choreography. The song became famous with the key dance move of making a batman gesture as it went well with the chorus’ catchy melody.

The song also became a belated hit thanks to the online dance challenge video. Despite its short promotional period and the cancelation of music shows due to the Tokyo Olympics, “DUMB DUMB” climbed back up on music charts surpassing the record set by “BIRTHDAY.” Besides the challenge, her bubbly and youthful music and dance performance video on Youtube received great responses and put the song under the spotlight.

Jessi – ZOOM (2022)

Jessi’s “ZOOM” netted over 3.4 million posts on social media in just three weeks after its release and gained immense popularity overseas. Utilizing a variety of camera works, Jessi came up with an addictive and original dance move that everyone can dance along to while expressing their unique talents. Reports indicate that the song has helped increase TikTok usage in and out of South Korea.

Jessi has been creating massive hit songs like “NUNU NANA” and “What type of X,” using their choreographies’ catchy and easy-to-follow nature. Her latest track, “ZOOM,” shows such ambition clearly and eventually became the topmost successful example of a song that became a hit thanks to dance challenge culture.

New Jeans – Hype Boy (2022)

New Jeans quickly rose to stardom immediately after their debut thanks to their star director Min Hee Jin and her brilliant PR strategy. The album’s second track, “Hype Boy,” has been placed high on music charts following “Attention.”


Hype Boy📱💬 we can go high ↗️☁️ #NewJeans_HypeBoy #NewJeans

♬ 오리지널 사운드 – NewJeans – NewJeans

The music video for “Hype Boy” was produced into four different parts with a connecting storyline that hugely intrigued the public and fans alike. Following the track’s release, its hook dance moves quickly went viral online with its performance, practice video being uploaded on Youtube, and them making appearances on multiple music programs. Numerous K-pop celebrities joined the challenge, including Lee Chae Yeon, Joo Woo Jae, ASTRO’s Moon Bin, LE SSERAFIM’s Hong Eun Cha and KAZUHA. However, a dance team from Street Man Fighter came under fire as they uploaded a video mocking the female act and their song.


Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.


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