Tulsa native AleXa won the new NBC competition series Monday night with her dance-pop song “Wonderland.” She performed the fairy tale-theme banger throughout the show’s run with the elaborate stage production, colorful costumes, hair and makeup and intricate dance moves that have made K-pop — short for “Korean pop” — a global sensation.
The 2015 Jenks High School graduate beat out nine other artists — including Grammy winner and Connecticut native Michael Bolton — to win “American Song Contest.”
“Country music is definitely something Oklahoma is well known for, but there bands like The All-American Rejects and Hanson as well that came from Oklahoma. It’s so more than just country music, and I’m very proud to represent that,” AleXa told The Oklahoman in March.
In 2018, AleXa, 25, moved to South Korea to pursue a K-pop career. After winning the online talent competition “Rising Legends” — determined through nearly a million fan votes — she was one of the 96 contenders chosen to participate in “Produce 48,” the most competitive audition show in Korea.
Signed with ZB, a label owned by South Korean video production company Zanybros, AleXa made her multilingual K-pop debut in 2019 with “Bomb.” The song landed at No. 7 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart and has nabbed more than 23 million views with an action-packed music video.
A year later, AleXa won top Korean awards for her extended plays “Do Or Die” and “Decoherence.” In the past year, the Oklahoma native has released the Y2K-inspired EP “ReviveR,” featuring the infectious dance track “Xtra,” performed the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers and made her acting debut with the new Korean horror anthology sequel “Goedam 2” (aka “Urban Myths: Tooth Worms”).
As the popularity of K-pop has grown worldwide, AleXa has garnered a global following.
Not only did she earn enough votes to win NBC’s “American Song Contest,” but her song “Wonderland” also has been streamed more than 1.1 million times since the show started.
“I am a proud Okie — born and raised for 21 years — so I was more than happy to represent my home state and my people for this competition. As a Korean American myself, I really wanted to represent my mother’s Korean heritage … and everything that I’ve been working for these past four years as a K-pop artist and bring that to America,” AleXa told The Oklahoman.
Devised as America’s answer to the long-running Eurovision Song Contest, “American Song Contest” premiered March 21 on NBC, with AleXa featured as the second of 11 qualifiers on the debut episode.
Hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, “American Song Contest” traveled across the country and spotlighting 56 acts: one for each of the 50 states, five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C.
The live competition consisted of three rounds as the artists competed in a series of Qualifying Rounds, followed by the Semi-Finals, which aired on April 25 and May 2, and the Monday’s “Live Grand Final.”
Along with AleXa and Bolton, the top 10 finalists included “The Voice” Season 9 winner and native Kentuckian Jordan Smith; Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and Washington competitor Allen Stone; Native American songwriter and North Dakota contender Chloe Fredericks; self-taught Texas performer Grant Knoche; Alabama duo and YouTube hitmakers Ni/Co; former “Glee” and “Dancing with the Stars” performer and Coloradoan Riker Lynch; Tennessee musician and firefighter Tyler Braden; and American Samoan songwriter and breakout reggae artist Tenelle.
In the end, though, the contest’s winner was K-pop singer, dancer and songwriter Alex Christine, known professionally as AleXa.
Born in Tulsa and raised in Jenks, she was a cheerleader for Jenks High School, took dance lessons and enjoyed riding horses growing up. In 2008, her best friend introduced her to K-pop, with the boy group SHINee and female solo artist Chung Ha becoming lasting influences.