By Chung Hyun-chae
A beauty from Paraguay who placed third on the KBS program "2012 Quiz on Korea," a Kenyan boy group whose members aged 10-13 are musical prodigies, a New Zealander twin brother duo, and a Romanian girl group performing a boy group dance ― they are among the 15 participating acts that will be at the "K-Pop World Festival 2013" that will open Sunday in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.
The festival marks the third time it will be co-hosted by the Korea Broadcasting System, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Changwon City this year.
The organizers held preliminary rounds in 58 cities of 43 nations, including Russia, Paraguay, U.S., Japan, and China, from April through August this year.
Reflecting K-pop's global power, the number of participants this year increased from 50,000 in 2012 to 60,000.
Those who topped the ranks at regional competitions were 80 acts, and among them, 15 acts were picked via online votes.
The 48 finalists in 15 groups are split into seven soloists and eight dance groups.
They will compete against each other in the final round, held at the "K-Pop World Festival 2013" in Changwon.
The finalists were invited to Korea on Oct. 15, five days before the competition, to experience Korean culture and to work on their performances under the guidance of popular Korean singers such as B.A.P and Secret until the showdown on Sunday.
The festival will feature K-Pop idol stars including miss A, EXO, INFINITE, TEEN TOP, RAINBOW, and B.A.P.
The festival is scheduled to be broadcast in early November through KBS2-TV channel.