by LORNA SOONHEE UMPHREY
On what seemed to be a typical shopping day last Saturday in Southern California’s Old Town Pasadena, a line snaked around the corner outside Forever 21, and camera crews and photographers were buzzing about. You’d think Justin Bieber was making an appearance. Instead, at 5 p.m. sharp, a familiar beat starting blasting from speakers inside the clothing store and hundreds began dancing in flash-mob unison to “Gangnam Style,” the famed hit song by South Korean rapper Psy.
Screams of excitement filled the air as groups of dancers broke out into the famous “horse-riding dance,” featured in the music video, which has racked up more than 40 million views on YouTube.
Fans showed up at the venue not only to participate in the flash mob, which incidentally some onlookers said felt somewhat manufactured with less of a surprise factor, but also in hopes of a surprise appearance by the rotund 34-year-old singer, who happened to be in town on business. Unfortunately, Psy was a no-show. Instead, fans had to settle for some of the male cast members of the “K-Town” reality show, who hammed it up for the ladies.
Psy is quickly becoming a household name in the States with tweets from T-Pain and Josh Groban, and recent mentions in Time magazine and The Economist. His popularity goes beyond these borders, with the song even hitting number one on the iTunes dance chart in Finland, according to The Economist.