in 2015, she participated in the biennial music festival event hosted by the variety show Infinite Challenge, in which each participating singer-songwriter is partnered with one of the six hosts to create a song for the festival. The preparation process and festival event were aired over the course of seven episodes. Let’s find out more about IU’s appearances in Infinite Challenge: Yeongdong’s 2015 Expressway Song Festival!

About Music Festival 2015

Infinite Challange, also known as Infinity Challange, is a South Korean television entertainment program that aired from 2006 to 2018. Infinite Challenge has been called “the nation’s variety show” and “Korea’s real first variety” for having been successful for over ten years. Infinite Challenge is the first “Real-Variety” show which is recognized in Korean television history. The program is largely unscripted, filmed in near-secrecy, and was followed by other challenge-based reality television programs with similar formats. The challenges are often absurd or impossible to achieve, so the program takes on the satirical comedy aspect of a variety show rather than that of a standard reality or competition program. In earlier episodes, the show’s six hosts and staff would continuously proclaim that, in order to achieve its comedic purposes, the program had to be “3-D”: Dirty, Dangerous, and Difficult. It gives participants fun challenges that seem impossible. Infinite Challenge Song Festival started in 2007, the members of the cast randomly collaborate with real musicians in order to compete for the ‘Infinite Challenge Song Festival’ that’s held every two years. At the Infinite Challenge Song Festival in 2015, they held it with title ‘Yeongdong Expressway Song Festival (영동고속도로 가제)’, in KINTEX.

Artist Line Up

Infinite Challenge: Yeongdong’s 2015 Expressway Song Festival aired on July 4, 2015, for episodes 435 through 442, a total of 7 episodes. In the 2015 song festival, the artist line-up consisted of IU, Park Jin-young, Zion. T, Yoon Sang, Hyukoh, BIGBANG’s G-Dragon and Taeyang. Yoo Hee-yeol, Lee Juck, and Yoon Jong-Shin appeared as judges in episode 435, and various other singers appeared in subsequent episodes, such as Yoo Jae-hwan, Dok2, The Quiett, Beenzino, Yoo Byung-jae, DAVINK, Spacecowboy, Ju Min-Jeong, Hyolyn, and Yang Pyung.

When it was IU’s turn to choose a partner to perform with at the music festival, there were four people left to choose from: Haha, Park Myung-soo, Kwang-hee, and Jeong Jun-ha. The way they chose their partners was that, one by one, the guests sat down and conveyed the general shape of what they wanted to perform at the festival music later. Then, the guest would turn around and the available Infinite Challenge members would stand behind him or her if they were interested in becoming the guest’s partner. IU said “I know that in music festivals, songs with fast tempo are very popular. However, rather than those songs, compared to other artists, I’m into songs that are a bit slower and my songs are quite popular as well. Therefore, you guys don’t need to worry about it.” Hearing IU’s statement, the prospective partners showed their doubts and worries, but after IU reminded them that her songs were quite popular, Haha immediately responded that he knew them very well, and Kwang-hee said that when there was an opportunity to sing with IU, it was a rare one. When IU turned around, she seemed hesitant and afraid that no one wanted to be her partner, but all of them except Kwang-hee wanted a chance to work with her. To win IU’s heart, Park Myung-soo said “I really want to have a duet with IU, if not now, when would I be able to do it? I will sing for this one last time.” IU responded by asking if he was really okay with slow songs, and he immediately relied, “Let’s produce a fast slow song!” which made the whole room laugh. Haha then said, “Slow or fast songs don’t matter, as long as it’s IU.” Jeong Jun-ha said, “Please see me as Kim Chang-wan and make a decision,” then he sang like Kim Chang -wan. IU chose Park Myung-soo, which was a surprise to everyone. In her individual interview, she said, “Even before shooting, I already wanted to work with Park Myung-soo. I often write guitar songs, I think his voice really suits those songs.” The partnership still wasn’t quite official yet. The guests who were present at that time were also allowed to come forward if they wanted to be partners with Park Myung-soo. Zion. T and Lee Yoon-sang stood to compete with IU to be partners with Park Myung-soo. Fortunately, Park Myung-soo still chose to partner with IU and they were locked in to work on a song for the music festival. Below is a list of the settled teams and the songs they perform at the music festival:


At Park Myung-soo’s studio, IU came to discuss their performance. Remembering that during partner selection, IU said she preferred that he prefer to slow songs, Park Myung-soo said to try faster music. He also said that IU had to dance. The two started kicking around ideas about what to do, and IU suggested starting their performance with guitar picks, and then demonstrated for Park Myung-soo. Seeing IU’s skill playing the guitar and hearing her beautiful voice touched Park Myung-soo, and he admitted that the flow was very good. They tried to sing by harmonizing their voices to become a melody, and slowly began to increase the tempo. Park Myung-soo believed that the melody could be the beginning of his music changing to EDM. Even though it wasn’t a song, they are both highly skilled performers in the respective genres.

In this episode, it’s clear that IU and Park Myung-soo have different song genres. IU explained that, “First, I came with an acoustic song I wrote, but He (Park Myung-soo) said that the song would be letting other teams run us over. So, He requests a more exciting song.” Then, before IU finished speaking, Park Myung-soo responded, “it needs more exciting!” Because, according to Park Myung-soo, this is a festival of the people who want to come to enjoy themselves. They need something to dance to. They listened to IU’s song first. After hearing it, everyone agreed that her song was very good. Then they listened to a version of IU’s song which was given an EDM effect by Park Myung-soo, and everyone started to dance.

The two met at Park Myung-soo’s studio again, and this time IU came with a song she wrote to show Park Myung-soo, which had a touch of dance music. Hearing the song, Park Myung-soo was very impressed with IU. He really liked the melody. He praised IU and said she was a genius, then both of them started dancing to the song.

In the next preparation session, IU brought a demo of the song they would be performing. They listened to it with Yeo Jae-hwan, and everyone was very satisfied with her work. IU even rapped Park Myung-soo’s part in the demo. The song was titled ‘Leon’, and was about Leon and Matilda, who are confused about their feelings for each other. The song song was a blues track with a retro feel. Strangely, Park Myung-soo was having a hard time keeping his sense of the beat. He kept missing the beat while trying to do the rap part. He was assisted by Yeo Ji-hwan, who managed to do the rap with one try. Park Myung-soo even practiced alone with Yeo Ji-hwan to get better at doing the rap. They started to record Park Myung-soo’s turn, directed by IU. He did well in the recording, despite making a few small mistakes and needing to do it several times. IU continued to praise and encourage him so that he would not be discouraged. In his personal interview, Park Myung-soo said he felt guilty for IU because he kept making mistakes, and said he would do it until she was satisfied, and that she should trust him. In contrast to Park Myung-soo, IU actually said that she was very grateful, that she saw how Park Myung-soo tried his best, and she really appreciated that. They worked on their recording until it got very late, but they were finally satisfied with their results.

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