Meet K/DA, the Virtual League of Legends K-Pop Girl Group

It’s one of the coolest things to happen in pop in 2018.

True Life: I’m a Gaymer. Sort of. Not always. Sometimes. That means some…times.

Yes, I’ve been known to play League of Legends from time to time. I’m not good. Bronze V trash, if we’re keeping it 100 – which is rarely my CS count 20 minutes deep into a game. Add me if you want. My League name is muumuse. (Duh, on brand.) But literally, I’m telling you…I am bad.

Anyway. To break this down for the non-LoL-speaking nerds, League of Legends has different characters. Champions. Those champions have skins, which you can purchase with your hard-earned money. Sad, but true: can you believe people pay real cash for virtual wardrobes and makeovers? (I’ve done this. Several times.)

In any case, League – or rather, parent company Riot Games – has coin to spend. Ample coin. So much so, in fact, that they were able to form a virtual pop girl group just to promote their newest line of skins for an array of their female champs: they’re called K/DA – and ain’t nobody bringing them down, down, down.

To supply voices to the virtual troupe, Riot cast a completely random, cross-cultural mishmash of rising superstars: Madison Beer, Miyeon and Soyeon of newly debuted K-Pop troupe (G)I-DLE and Jaira Burns. (If you’re subscribed to MuuTunes, I’m fairly certain you’ve heard music from all of them.)

In any case, K/DA’s debut (?) track is called “POP/STARS,” produced by Riot Games and superstar “Do You Wanna Come
Over?” pop penner Justin Tranter – and it’s a legitimately excellent rallying cry, providing a bit of CLC/4MINUTE attitude and hooks aplenty, as so consistently and effortlessly churned out by Sir Tranter.

There’s a pretty sick, slick accompanying video for the song – with 35 million views and counting already – featuring all four of the characters: Ahri, Evelynn, Kai’Sa and Akali. (I don’t main them, but we stan regardless.) Even more impressive: the moves were motion captured by the girls (or, at the very least, Soyeon and Miyeon) for the music video.

For those of you who are like “What is a LoL?” and/or are generally feeling lost, fear not: there’s also a live performance of the song – and it’s genuinely one of the cooler, more innovative things that’s happened in pop in 2018. In my opinion, anyway.

In an extravagant, entirely over-the-top opening ceremony for the 2018 League of Legends World Championship (Britney‘s Domination Announcement of an Announcement is shaking), both the virtual members of K/DA and their real-life counterparts took to the stage to perform their hot collaboration in augmented reality form. (Soyeon, especially, tore that stage up.) Pyrotechnics! Massive screens! Choreography – real and virtual! Dancers! The works.

We’ve seen this sort of thing happen before in different ways, as with Madonna teaming up with Gorillaz (the innovator, as always) and – of course – Queen of J-Pop Hatsune Miku. But this, coupled with advances in VR and VR idols, is the latest step closer in the direction of The Robots Are Taking Over territory. It’s basically what a major pop spectacle is going to look like in 50 to 100 years – or maybe we’ll just eliminate the participation of the human race entirely.

To be honest, though: what an awesome, thoroughly well-executed concept all around. K-Pop? Girl group? League? All combined into one? It’s basically MuuMuse fan-fiction.

“We went into this really wanting to make a dope ‘League’ moment for players – albeit one where the fantasy of the champs being in the real world played out in an authentic manner that could live alongside others in their verticals (ie song had to be able to stand up to other pop songs, performance had to stand up to other performances, etc.). We really went into it wanting to make the singular moment as dope a possible and intentionally weren’t thinking much further into the future than that,” said creative lead Viranda Tantula to Variety.

Stand up, it does indeed. The song is actually charting. The possibilities are virtually (eh heh) endless. Here’s hoping K/DA ganks us with a complete surprise album – maybe even with a revolving cast of international voices – in 2019.

“POP/STARS” was released on November 3. (iTunes)

This song is featured on the MuuTunes Spotify playlist. Subscribe!

You can also subscribe to MuuTunes on Apple Music.

Photo credit: Riot Games

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