The amazing Kayfabe of POP/STARS KDA

We live in strange and wonderful times. Videogame company Riot Games reimagines four of its characters as a K-pop band, hires a DJ and singers to produce a track in the band’s name to go with a release of new skins for characters in their League Of Legends decade-old online game, hires dancers to do a routine, hires CGI artists to turn it into a video starring the character skins.

The single becomes a global No.1 hit and fans start writing slashfic about the characters. The flagging fortunes of the game are revived. The dancers get a payday and free advertising.

Here’s the official video:

Apart from the music itself having a hypnotic, elastic groove and a strong melody, it/the performers manages/manage to use melisma to good effect: adding funky filigrees sparingly, rather than as in the all-too-popular practice of stunt singing by wandering up and down scales at random points in vocal lines.

Here’s the original dance routine upon which it was based:

Now, as well as the serious cosplay tributes, a gang of Chinese fans have remade the video on a shoestring budget. And check out this cover dance from Vietnam:

The layers of “cultural appropriation” are dizzying. As they should be.

Thanks to Tim Almond for introducing me to this excellent, excellent track.

UPDATE: You can read a more detailed guide to the characters at Polygon and watch some in-game action below.