Time to pop the champagne bottles or the soju bottles because BTS has been nominated for Top Social Artist at The Billboard Music Awards for the SECOND year in the row. Get ready for the endless tweets, twitter wars, and banter between various fandoms, mostly consisting of tweeting about whether or not they used the right hashtags.
Let me give it to you quick: BTS will win.
Let me give it to you REAL quick: All hell will break lose if BTS doesn’t win.
Let me give you the facts: BTS deserves to win.
Although the group is, once again, not nominated for any musical distinctions, it’s still an incredible honor and opens the door for new fans to venture into the world of K-pop. If you weren’t aware, BTS is obsessed with social media, in a way that can seem annoying or counterintuitive, but holds a much bigger purpose. With every selfie and V live filled with acapella renditions of various pop songs or wacky moments on YouTube, it brings the group closer to stardom.
In the age of social media, repetition and consistency is key, and the motivation set by BTS is something that led them to Western acclaim. A group once considered “nobodies” within the K-pop industry, BTS has faced much adversity to get to even somewhat fame within South Korea. However, a year ago, it all changed when they were nominated for the Top Social Artist award for their top placement on the Billboard Social 50. It enabled the seven members to sit back and realize the accomplishments of their hard-work.
How? Well, what came AFTER this monumental feat was millions of eyes upon this small country and this company and ultimately this small group of seven quirky men. What it brought wasn’t just distinction for K-pop, but also Asians in general who were always deemed “nerdy” or “un-sexy” or just “too clean” to reach to the pop levels of many white, African-American or Hispanic artists.
Regardless of the animosity or blatant racism brought forward, BTS won with flying colors by easily bringing home the victory and pride of not only representing themselves, but their country and an underrepresented group of people. At the end of a hectic and chaotic night at The Billboard Music Awards, RM, the leader of BTS, expressed his immense interest of returning to next year’s awards show and BTS performing.
“Our team is not that big and our name was not that big at debut. But now…it’s so crazy…Of course we want to perform. Please give us a chance to perform,” RM excitedly told Billboard.
And the public seemed to want the same, with Love Yourself: Her, released on September 18, 2017, topping the Amazon Best Sellers list, spending 26 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts, and “DNA” spending 4 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Not only was the album popular on YouTube, but it was factually popular. The charts don’t lie and people were streaming, buying, and listening nonstop. Later that year, BTS were given the opportunity to perform “DNA” on the American Music Awards and join multiple popular Western television shows, like The Ellen Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Endless media were surrounding them, asking mostly senseless questions, but despite all of that it was proof that BTS had made it big. Record audience numbers had tuned in to the American Music Awards, curious watchers and die-hard fans watched in anticipation for BTS’ performance.
From this, BTS leveraged its brand and continued its social media presence, which kept it #1 on the Billboard Social 50. Now, the group has reached 79 weeks at #1, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. During this haze of a year, BTS is back and ready to face its competition, well, it’s not really a competition (let’s be honest, okay?).
This year’s nominees include the following:
As speculation continues as to the other winners of other awards, many are simply wondering the major question, will BTS perform? Many hope so and there is a major hint left behind by BTS members itself. Love Yourself: Tear will be released on May 18, only two days before The Billboard Music Awards. It wasn’t a very subtle hint, but, nonetheless, is a daring move by Big Hit Entertainment. The one thing others have realized, after ignoring Big Hit for years, is that this little company puts a LOT of time into its marketing and releasing strategies. Even trailers or teasers for upcoming albums are always well-thought out and marketed towards a "theory" to enable fans to speculate and want to buy the latest album. Check out a possible teaser (because no one really ever knows) for Love Yourself: Tear with BTS' latest release, "Euphoria."
Throughout BTS, Big Hit has been there right alongside it slowly strategizing and basking in its mysteriousness. But, to make an album come out the weekend before a major music award show in which BTS is nominated for is probably the most “frank” Big Hit Entertainment has ever been and, frankly, I’m okay with it.
Of course, this is all speculation, as is everything involving BTS (Is Jin dead? Does anyone really know this, yet?), but nonetheless brings a certain excitement to an overall lackluster award show. There’s nothing like the endless pizzazz of overzealous K-pop fans to bring a certain amount of zaniness to a usually ‘golf clap’ crowd.
The inclusion of diversity has been an ever-growing topic within the United States, and something which never really seems to get better. Instead, it’s swept under the rug and succumbs to nothing more than some inspirational tweets and, perhaps, one more Oscar-nominated to a person-of-color and, maybe, one or two more women were included at the big table. However, this can all change with the realization that, which I know sounds crazy, but BTS could perform…an ASIAN artist. A group of ASIAN artists. Not even one ASIAN artist, but seven ASIAN artists. Would the television explode? Possibly. I believe it nearly did during the American Music Awards when BTS first performed. Regardless, it would further the trend and realization that K-pop is cool and Asians can also be damn cool.
It’s a pivotal movement for Billboard, as it’s so adamant that BTS did and now still wants to perform, but will Billboard take the obviously delicious bite? Time will only tell.
Stay Kurrent. Stay K-pop.
No images or videos are owned by me. Cover photo from Big Hit Entertainment.