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When Britney Met BoA: a Flashback to Brit’s First Visit to South Korea

Britney Spears BoA SBS

The Legendary Miss Britney Spears, Radio Disney’s first-ever Icon Award recipient, is exactly one month away from sneaking away to the Philippines — and a whole bunch of other countries — on her first-ever full tour of Asia, including stops in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

As of this week, local organizers all-but-confirmed that the tour will now include a stop in Seoul at the Gocheok Sky Dome on June 10. Assuming the date is set, this will mark her first time performing in South Korea since promoting her fourth studio album, In The Zone, in 2003 — and her first time touring there, ever.

And so, to celebrate the Glory pop icon’s grand return to South Korea, what better than to revisit her last major performance in the country?

As opposed to booking the “Man on the Moon” chanteuse for a brief cameo on a music TV program, SBS put together an entire special during Christmas of 2003 dedicated not only to the Undisputed Princess of Pop™, but the Queen of K-Pop™ herself as well: BoA.

For those less versed in all things Korean pop: BoA followed a similar trajectory as Britney, debuting at just under 15 years old with her first studio album ID; Peace B, and later in Japan with Listen to My Heart, before skyrocketing to stardom with a string of successful smash hits. Like Britney, she made her mark on the music scene with glossy pop bops and high-energy choreographed performances — at times even sharing the exact same moves — though BoA never went provocative with her image. (“Oh my God, that Britney’s shameless.“)

By the time the Holy Spearit was promoting In The Zone in South Korea, BoA was in promo mode as well with her latest single “Rock With You,” and her then-forthcoming album Love & Honesty. And so, South Korean audiences got a double dose of pop princess domination.

Throughout the Britney & BoA special, the two took turns hitting the stage to perform, interview and — most incredibly — interact with other onstage.

Britney Spears Meets BoA

After exchanging pleasantries during the brief meeting, Britney revealed herself to be a massive BoA stan (“I listened to your CD like two days ago”) before BoA gifted Britney with a present — which Britney was super grateful for…even if she had no idea what it was.

“It’s to keep your hands warm!” one of the hosts explained, thus earning the Brit Brit seal of approval: “Very cool.”

The two then answered a few Christmas-related questions, resulting in a glorious half-second of Britney singing “Silent Night.” Though the language barrier kept the conversation extra light, it didn’t stop the audience from wildly shrieking every time she opened her mouth to answer a question.

Throughout the one-hour program, BoA delivered live renditions of “Rock With You,” “Atlantis Princess,” “Shine We Are,” “Valenti” and “No. 1,” while Britney served up “(I Got That) Boom Boom,” “Me Against the Music,” “Boys,” “I’m A Slave 4 U” (the light dat ass on fire live mix, of course) and “Toxic” in a bedazzled bra, gloves and thigh-high boots — one of her most underappreciated, fierce looks of the era, actually.

And — for the K-pop nerds following along — the night ended with the live debut of TVXQ, now one of South Korea’s biggest acts of this generation, singing “O Holy Night” with BoA as well as their debut single, “Hug.” Truly, it was a historic evening for many, many reasons.

YouTube restrictions — and the fact that this program’s now over a decade old (gulp) — means that the program is all chopped up over the Internet.

These are (almost) all the parts, plus a higher quality compilation of Britney’s performances. The program also exists in grainy full on Veoh. (BoA and Britney’s meeting happens in the first part, if you’re looking.)

And Brit? You make sure you hit up BoA for a girls night out when you’re back in town.