AleXa Is Repping for K-Pop and Oklahoma

The Tulsa-born singer has been living in South Korea for four years but returned to the U.S. to compete on NBC’s American take on Eurovision. “K-Pop” and “Oklahoma” are two words you don’t really think of in the same breath. But one of the 56 artists competing on the Monday (March 21) night series premiere of NBC’s American Song Contest just might change that — AleXa, a K-Pop artist from Tulsa, Okla. Born to a South Korean mother and an American father, she first learned about K-Pop in 2008, through one of her best friends.

“The first group I ever saw was Super Junior – they’re a huge senior group in the K-Pop industry, but my gateway was SHINee,” AleXa tells Billboard. “I’ve been hooked ever since.” She moved to Korea in the first quarter of 2018 and competed on two reality shows, Rising Star and Produce 48. She signed with ZB, a label owned by South Korean video production company Zanybros. Her first single, “Bomb,” was released on Oct. 21, 2019. “It was right before the pandemic hit,” she says. Two more singles followed: “ReviveR” and “Tattoo.” After living in South Korea for four years, AleXa returned to the U.S. this year to compete in American Song Contest.

“My manager is Swedish, so when we received the invitation to audition, we thought, ‘Yes, this is iconic.’ It’s literally Eurovision, but now we’re spreading it to America. It was just a wonderful opportunity and I was so excited to take it.”

AleXa knew about Eurovision from watching videos online by past winners like ABBA and Måneskin, though she has never seen a full broadcast. She did watch the 2022 edition of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish heat to pick the country’s song for Eurovision, because Moa (Cazzi Opeia) Carlebecker, one of the writers of her ASC entry “Wonderland,” was competing as an artist and she facilitated AleXa’s entry into ASC. “It helped that I had worked with Cazzi. Then all of these wonderful creatives came together and the song was presented to us. I fell in love with it immediately and we knew we had to go with that song.”

Swedish hitmaker Andreas Carlsson (“I Want It That Way,” Backstreet Boys; “Waking Up in Vegas,” Katy Perry; “Bye Bye Bye,” *NSYNC) became involved with American Song Contest through his friends Peter Settman, Christer Bjorkman and Anders Lenhoff, who sold the idea of an American version of the Eurovision Song Contest to NBC. He has co-written seven of the 56 entries for season one, including “Wonderland.”

“Being close to both the Swedish and Korean K-Pop community, I found the song after listening to hundreds of submissions from my personal network,” Carlsson tells Billboard. “As AleXa could possibly be the first American K-Pop sensation, the song had to appeal to American audiences without alienating her Korean fans. There is a specific formula to K-Pop that must be considered when creating the song. I eventually ended up as a co-writer on the song as it had to be a bit more westernized. Then writer Bekuh Boom came into the mix with some brilliant topline ideas and everyone felt we had something special. Sometimes it takes a lot of chefs to serve up something extraordinary.”

AleXa Impresses on ‘American Song Contest’

Oklahoma K-pop artist AleXa was one of the standouts on opening night with her performance of “Wonderland.” American Song Contest, the red, white and blue adaptation of the Eurovision Song Contest, is officially underway.

The format is a simple one: Artists representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the nation’s capital perform an original song with more onstage glitz and color than a confetti cannon.

Eight weeks on, those 56 artists will be narrowed down to just one, and the best original song in the country will be declared.

Oklahoma K-pop artist AleXa was a standout on opening night, with her performance of “Wonderland,” a number that fuses the grand spectacle of Korea’s hot genre with Latin beats.

Born in Tulsa, AleXa is no newbie. She moved to Korea in 2018, where she signed with ZB — a label owned by South Korean video production company Zanybros — and released the single “Bomb” the following year.

NBC will be keen for their new show to get away to a hot start. The long-running Eurovision is popular around the globe, drawing more than 200 million viewers annually, making it one of the biggest televised events in the world. It has also launched the careers of such superstars as ABBA, Julio Iglesias, Lordi and Celine Dion.

Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson are hosts for the new show, and producers are Anders Lenhoff, Christer Björkman, Peter Settman and Ola Melzig alongside Propagate’s Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens and Gregory Lipstone.

AleXa Reveals Her Reaction To Snoop Dogg Calling K-Pop

Snoop Dogg revealed that K-pop is his guilty pleasure on American Song Contest, and contestant AleXa shared how she reacted!, American Song Contest finally made its high-profile premiere on March 21, and the first episode of the NBC series featured eleven standout performances from all over the United States and its territories. One of the most memorable came from Alex Christine, a.k.a.

AleXa. She represents Oklahoma for the show, and was the only performer to bring K-pop to the premiere. The crowd clearly loved her energetic performance, and it prompted a confession from host Snoop Dogg that K-pop is his “guilty pleasure.” AleXa revealed how it felt to hear that from the music legend right after she finished her song.

AleXa was the second artist to take the stage in the series premiere of ASC, with a live performance of her song “Wonderland.” In true K-pop video style, there were impressive costumes and dance moves as she sang, and backup dancers to add an even more epic scale. Although her finishing move was dropping backwards off of a flight of stairs and out of sight, she could still hear when Snoop Dogg said:

I can’t even lie. K-pop is my guilty pleasure. She did that, that was amazing!

With eleven artists to fit into two hours, American Song Contest moved on to the next performer, and viewers didn’t get to see how AleXa felt to hear Snoop Dogg not only praise what she did with “Wonderland,” but share how much he likes the genre as a whole. The K-pop artist spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets after the premiere, and revealed her reaction when I asked for her thoughts on Snoop Dogg’s comments:

The thing is, at the end of my stage, as you saw, I fall backwards, and I’m laying in this giant foam pit, hyperventilating because I can’t breathe, and I hear Snoop going like, ‘Yeah, K-pop is my guilty pleasure.’ And I’m like, ‘Snoop Dogg acknowledged the genre that I do! So thank you, Snoop Dogg!’ Oh, it was embarrassing.

Who could blame AleXa for having a strong reaction to the praise on American Song Contest? Snoop Dogg is an icon in the music world on top of co-hosting ASC with Kelly Clarkson (who has plenty of music competition experience courtesy first of American Idol and now with The Voice), and K-pop isn’t a genre that has become quite as mainstream in the United States as in some other countries.

Of course, if AleXa is advanced to the next stage of ASC, K-pop could get closer than ever to the mainstream in the U.S. with a showcase on the American response to Europe’s Eurovision Song Contest. The only artist to be ultimately advanced from the premiere was Hueston, who was chosen by the jury to move forward without going through the audience voting process. AleXa’s American Song Contest fate lies in the hands of the voters. In case you missed her performance of “Wonderland” in the series premiere, take a look!

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