The League of Legends (LoL) World Championship Grand Finals is just a few days away.
Right before the competition, K-pop sensation NewJeans, who sang the LoL Worlds 2023 anthem, GODS, gave their thoughts about the competition, the game, and how they are preparing for their performance at the opening ceremony on Sunday (19 November).
Stepping onto the Worlds Opening Ceremony stage on Sunday, NewJeans members Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein look to captivate the audience with the premiere of their specially designed NewJeans choreography.
Their performance will align with the song and atmosphere, and set the stage for the grand finalist teams, T1 and Weibo Gaming, both eager to claim the Summoner’s Cup.
GODS debuted on 3 October, with a video featuring the journey of Worlds 2022 champion DRX AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyu-kyu.
The song was written by Sebastian Najand and Alex Seaver of Mako, who was also behind previous LoL Worlds anthem hits like “Legends Never Die”, “RISE”, and “Awaken”, as well as several songs from the Arcane Original Soundtrack.
GODS had a different theme and style that NewJeans had to adjust to
According to Hyein, the group felt like GODS “had a slightly different atmosphere” than the songs that they’ve previously performed.
With GODS featuring heavy downbeats and synthetic stomps, NewJeans abandoned their signature sweet melodies for confident vocals.
When asked how they felt about it when they found out about the collaboration, Danielle said, “When we first heard the song, we were quite blown away because it was nothing like we’ve done ever before.”
"We were like, 'Can we do this?'" she said, expressing the doubt they felt at first.
Most of the songs the group have performed leaned into simple, sweet and clean melodies that are easy to listen to and recall — songs that emulate the 90s and early 2000’s K-pop style, with hits like “Super Shy”, “Ditto”, and “Hype Boy” garnering millions of hours streamed across platforms.
“We started recording, and each member had such a unique and fresh sound that I’ve never heard before. I think it came out well. We are so grateful for all the love GODS has received, domestically and internationally.”
“Because we love our GODS theme song, we just hope that everyone will be able to enjoy it just as much as we do.”
NewJeans tried to capture the emotions the pro players go through while in the competition
“We put a deep thought into how we should express ourselves,” Hyein elaborated. “But when we listened to the song and heard its vibe and lyrics, we could sense the intense emotions and efforts that League players must have gone through.”
“So, we tried very hard to express the mindset of players who won after going through such fierce world competition”, she added.
“We also felt many of the players’ emotions and passion when we watched the GODS video,” Minji said.
She shared that it was the first time that the semifinal match (between T1 and JDG) was the first time that they watched League together. “It was a great experience. The matches made you focus. It was such a nervous, exciting, and close series.”
NewJeans react to Keria’s viral “NewJeans, here I come!” moment
In the semifinal match between T1 and JDG which T1 won 3-1, during the final moments of game four when T1 was besieging the JDG Nexus, a viral clip from T1’s communications also caught the attention of the members of NewJeans.
“Nice! Jingdong (JD Gaming) down! NewJeans, here I come! Gocheok, here I come!” T1 Support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok shouted with glee on the mic.
Keria is a known NewJeans fan (or Bunny, as fans of NewJeans are known), having danced “OMG” on stage during the LoL Korea Championship regular seasons with his AD Carry, Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong.
In one of the interviews, he said he wanted to defeat JDG in the semifinals to see NewJeans.
And during the post-match interview last Sunday (12 November), Keria added that he already had his NewJeans merchandise ready to get autographs from his favourite Kpop stars.
Minji was asked about Keria’s viral moment onstage. “We were also watching Worlds when Keria said, ‘NewJeans, here I come!’” she said, adding that they all thought that it was “pretty cool and funny,” and that the girls talked about it on the app they used to communicate with their fans.
“I appreciate Keria for mentioning us, and I want our performance at Worlds to be fitting for the occasion. We have prepared something cool, something epic, I hope people really look forward to it.”
Hanni tried playing LoL, and which lanes the girls should be assigned to
After finding out that their group would have a collab with Riot Games, Hanni tried her hand at League of Legends.
“It’s actually a lot of fun, I got addicted to playing it. I haven’t tried a lot of the champions, but right now, I’m very comfortable with playing the champion Garen.”
“But I’m no good, I’m really bad at it, so it’s better not to have any expectations. I’m terrible at it!” she exclaimed as she and the audience laughed.
When asked which lane the girls would play if they could play together, Hanni said, “Minji says that she wants to try jungle.”
She believes that Haerin and Dani could do well for their bot lane. “Haerin and Dani [work] really well together, so they can go to the bottom lane.”
“And we can send her (Hyein) in the mid lane, and hopefully we win!” Hanni concluded.
What does the GODS project mean to NewJeans?
“It’s a true honour," Dani said. I know how [big] the scale of the championships and everyone watching [are]. We were so shocked that we were doing the theme song, which thrilled us all."
"Now, to think that we will be performing it live so that many people will be watching and supporting, and so every person that comes to watch us, we are just so grateful,” she added.
What are NewJeans most looking forward to in their upcoming Worlds finals performance?
Aside from believing that the girls are doing all they can to deliver a great performance, Haerin added other things she wished everyone could see.
“We have prepared a grand and majestic stage and befitting of the song. I hope the atmosphere comes across, that the stage leaves an impression [on] the fans. We’re trying hard to capture the narratives that occurred in the previous tournaments. I hope that also really comes across.”
The 2023 Worlds anthem by NewJeans garnered more than 46 million streams on Spotify since its release in October.
The League of Legends Worlds 2023 Grand Finals match will be a best-of-five series between South Korean powerhouse T1 and Chinese underdogs Weibo Gaming on Sunday (19 November).
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.