KUWAIT CITY • The nine members of South Korean boy band D-Crunch looked crushed on Sunday.
They were in Kuwait, but just before they were about to go on stage, they were told the authorities had disallowed their performance.
But they were asked to break the news to the audience. As the members looked forlorn and confused on stage, one said: "Sorry everyone for not showing you our performances.
"We will come back soon. We will see you soon again. Thank you so much, everyone."
Another member, in a video posted online, could be seen wiping away tears.
Various media outlets have attributed the sudden cancellation to talk that the authorities were not happy with the D-Crunch members' stage personas and lifestyle choices.
The group had performed in Abu Dhabi last Thursday as part of Korea Festival 2019 and were in Kuwait as part of a line-up at the 40th-anniversary Concert of Korea-Kuwait Diplomatic Relations.
The Gulf News tabloid quoted Good Morning Kuwait TV personality Yousef Al Saleh, who was in the audience, as saying: "It was a free event... It was advertised that there was going to be modern music, traditional Korean music and D-Crunch."
The concert started at 7.30pm, with D-Crunch slated to take the spotlight at 9pm.
"You can tell the crowd was there for K-pop. It was an age range of between 14 and 50s or 60s.
"People were there for D-Crunch. Some girls had posters, they wore the (group's) T-shirts," added Al Saleh."
Echoing the perplexed reactions from concertgoers when the D-Crunch showcase was axed, he noted: "K-pop is not controversial. It's all clean choreography because South Korea has a standard and K-pop has a standard too."
K-pop, which has conquered the United States with groups such as BTS and SuperM topping the Billboard album chart, recently opened another front in the Middle East, with BTS performing in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
But the prospect of further breakthroughs is now not assured, with the Kuwaiti authorities' move seen as catering to the more conservative sections of Middle East society.