SEOUL, July 5 — It looks like K-pop group Aespa’s song Supernova has pretty much cemented its status as viral earworm of the year by appearing in the unlikeliest place: a middle school exam paper.

With its addictive catchy refrain “Su-su-su-supernova”, Supernova has topped the South Korean Melon streaming chart for six weeks straight and winning various music shows, as well as getting a shout-out on X (formerly Twitter) by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), of all things.

What has tickled parents at a South Korean middle school is the unlikely appearance of the song on a middle school Classical Chinese language exam paper in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province.

According to South Korean paper Dong-A Libo, the exam question featured the following snippet of the song’s lyrics:


Ah, body bang (bang, bang, bang)

Make it feel too right

휩쓸린 energy, it’s so special

잔인한 queen 이며 scene 이자 종결

이토록 거대한 내 안의 explosion

내 모든 세포 별로부터 만들어져 (under my control)

질문은 계속돼, ah-oh, ayy

우린 어디서 왔나, oh, ayy

The question read: “가사의 내용으로 보아 으로 옳은 것은 (4점) (Looking at the lyrics’ content, which is the correct meaning)?”

Rather than being upset, parents said that the unlikely question had seen both excitement and surprise among students and they appreciated the efforts of the teachers and school to introduce some levity by incorporating popular music into the usually stressful exam environment.

The exam paper also had the phrase Sageon-eun dagawa (The event is imminent), which has become a popular catchprase of sorts from the song.

This isn’t even the first time an Aespa song has been associated with a school; another of the group’s hit song, Next Level, was banned from the country’s national college entrance exams, as it was considered too distracting.

Four-member group Aespa is currently embarking on a world tour, having already sold out the first two shows in their home country and the two-night show at Tokyo Dome in Japan. It will then be stopping at various cities including Jakarta, Singapore and Bangkok but alas, not Kuala Lumpur.

It’s also become the subject of various TikTok tributes and parodies that we’ve compiled for your viewing pleasure:


やってみたシリーズ! カニver どう? @aespa official #aespa#supernova#fyp#dance

Supernova - aespa

Semoga Ningning @aespa official bias nya SisWAY bangga nonton SisWAY cover Supernova yaa #Subway #SubwayIndonesia #Supernova #Aespa

original sound - Subway® Indonesia - Subway® Indonesia

Winter on the telephone pole is killing me #kpopfyp #aespa #himbo3o #kep1bts ib: @유준호

original sound - ???????????????????? *(^o^)*