The best (and worst) K-pop performances at Coachella ranked

K-pop to the world


By Marissa Chin

The best (and worst) K-pop performances at Coachella ranked

Gone were the days when K-pop was treated as a niche (and dare we say, inferior) genre of music that only captured the interest of fans in Asia. With the efforts of dedicated fans and the unique charms of K-pop’s music and video production, it didn’t take long for the genre to cross borders and reach listeners all over the world.

Now, K-pop acts are some of the most in-demand artists in the entertainment industry and prestigious music festivals such as Coachella want in on the action. Over the years, Coachella has seen a rise in K-pop performances at its desert stage, reflecting the music genre’s rapid globalisation and impact on pop culture.


Of course, performing on such a grand international stage can be daunting even for the most seasoned K-pop group. Not only do they have the pressure of representing the music genre well, but they must also have the stamina to put on a thrilling live performance—and impress crowds who are not familiar with them in the slightest. 

With Coachella 2024 officially ending on 21 April over two weekends, we’ve taken the time to consider how well every K-pop group did at the festival. Ahead, find out how we ranked K-pop groups at Coachella from worst to best. 


[This list only focuses on K-pop groups (no soloists and sub-units), and excludes acts belonging to genres outside of mainstream pop such as indie and EDM.]


8. Aespa (2022)

We thought long and hard about whether the last place would be Le Sserafim or Aespa but ultimately, we decided on the latter based on the fact that it was simply too early for the girl group to perform at Coachella. Aespa debuted in 2020 during the pandemic and didn’t have any experience performing in front of a live crowd. Therefore, the decision to have them as part of the setlist with 88Rising surprised many K-pop fans who worried if they could rise to the occasion. 


While their live vocals were truly impressive and powerful for a rookie group, the members needed more time to hone their stage presence and build a stronger synergy together. As they were nervous, they were too focused on choreography and didn’t interact much with the crowd. We’ve seen how much more confidence and charisma the members have gained since then and hope to see them perform at Coachella again! 


7. Le Sserafim (2024)

When Le Sserafim was first announced in this year’s Coachella line-up, many K-pop fans expressed concern that the girl group was not ready seeing as they were less than two years into their debut. Unfortunately, netizens were disappointed by the quality of their performance as social media reactions mostly brought up the shaky and off-pitch vocals.


However, the girls showed visible improvement in their second-weekend performance as vocals were more stable (they stopped dancing to hit the notes this time) and maintained their high energy throughout. While we think Aespa were vocally stronger than Le Sserafim, we have to credit the Hybe girl group for their passionate performance, all-round better stage presence and song arrangements.


6. The Rose (2024)

We had the opportunity to catch The Rose live in Malaysia before their highly anticipated debut stage at Coachella so we knew exactly what festival-goers would be treated to. From the mindblowing live vocals and masterful instrumentals to the crowd interactions, The Rose got the whole crowd moving and grooving to their pop-rock tunes with their confidence and free-spirited nature. We love to see traditional bands prove that they can bring the fun too!


5. Epik High (2016 and 2022)


To seasoned K-pop fans, Epik High’s musical legacy is undeniable. They are one of the key figures in making hip-hop mainstream in South Korea and have been cited as inspiration by BTS’ RM and Suga. The trio made history as the first K-pop act to ever perform at Coachella back in 2016 when the Hallyu Wave was kicking off and they did not disappoint. 

While the set design in 2016 was simpler, members Tablo, Mithra and DJ Tukutz had no problem commanding the stage. Epik High delivered an electrifying stage with the most natural swagger When the group was invited back to perform in 2022 (the first repeat K-pop act) to a visibly larger crowd and elaborate setup.


4. Blackpink (2019)

Of course, the list isn’t complete without the K-pop queens of Coachella! As the first girl group to perform at the festival, expectations were sky-high—and members Jennie, Rosé, Lisa and Jisoo delivered. Despite the quartet being only three years into their idol career, Blackpink exuded impressive stage power and confidence as that of veterans. This performance was pivotal in solidifying Blackpink’s international presence. 

Our only drawback is that because the girl group’s comebacks are sparse, they have a limited setlist of songs to perform, resulting in a shorter runtime. Further, as Jennie was the only member to debut solo at this point, audiences only got to watch her solo performance. 


3. 2NE1 (2022)

We’re putting 2NE1 straight in the top three because it’s 2NE1, of course! Newer K-pop fans may not understand how truly iconic this performance was but to Blackjacks, it meant everything (tears were shed). Not only did the quartet keep this surprise reunion under wraps, but it also marked their first public appearance as a group in six years since their disbandment. 

During CL’s solo setlist, the K-pop leader brought out her three members, Dara, Minzy and Park Bom, for a triumphant performance of their hit song, I’m The Best. Our only wish was that it was longer!


2. Ateez (2024)

From debuting in a small and relatively unknown entertainment company to performing at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, Ateez’s presence at Coachella is a testament to the group’s hard work and passion for their craft. The eight-member act blew audiences and netizens away with their high-octane performance as they executed complex choreography in synchronicity whilst belting out and rapping powerful hip-hop anthems. We couldn’t be more proud of Ateez and how far they’ve come!


1. Blackpink (2023)

Topping the list are the K-pop it girls once again (but you knew this was coming)! As the first K-pop group to headline Coachella, Blackpink showed exactly why they were the perfect choice. Hot off the release of their full-length album, the girls had many more songs to perform during their one-hour set, and audiences saw all members showcase their solo singles.

From their elaborate choreography and stunning set design to Jennie’s now-iconic “Coachella, are you ready for tonight?”, there are many unforgettable moments from their headlining performance that fans still discuss to this day. #Pinkchella is one for the K-pop history books!


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