Music shows are the first place idols introduce themselves to South Korea—but not just Korean idols. As shocking as it sounds, some of the most famous international stars have performed on music shows too. Just take a look at this list!
1. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga‘s 2008 song “Just Dance” wasn’t just a major hit in the United States—it also swept South Korea. After reaching the top 40 on Gaon, Lady Gaga was invited to perform on Korean television.
The star made her debut during an Mnet M Countdown special stage in Japan in June 2009. Dressed in one of her signature avant-garde outfits, the had the crowd screaming just as much as any K-Pop artist would.
Anyone born before the 2000s knows Usher‘s “Yeah” as the party track of the 2004. The song hit #1 on charts across the world, from the US to Germany, and it paved the way for Usher in Korea too.
In April 2004, Usher had a special stage on SBS‘s Inkigayo performing “Yeah”, complete with fans chanting in the audience. He even spoke a little Korean in the intro—and he didn’t do too bad of a job!
3. Christina Aguilera
It seems like Inkigayo has been the go-to music show for international superstars for a lot longer than most people knew. A staggering 20 years ago, for example, Christina Aguilera graced the stage.
Aguilera performed “What a Girl Wants” on Inkigayo all the way back in the year 2000—before many of today’s 4th generation idols were even born. Since then, she’s had several hits make it onto the Gaon chart.
And it’s not just American artists who made it to Korean music shows. Irish boy band Westlife got their moment to shine on Inkigayo too.
The group sang “My Love” on one of the show’s November 2000 broadcasts, just a few months after Christina Aguilera. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any footage of the performance on YouTube, but SBS News did manage to save a few screenshots.