Was I screaming in joy Sunday night when K-Pop group BTS won their first American Award at the Billboard Music Awards? Yes. Yes I was. Loud enough to frighten my dog actually. Not only was this a major win for BTS but this marks the first time a K-Pop group has even been nominated for anything at the Billboards.
So here are some basics on the new K-Pop sensation; there are seven members, Jin, Yoongi, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They’ve been active since 2013 in BigHit Entertainment, one of the smaller and lesser known music companies in South Korea. BTS’ widespread fame really picked up within the past year with songs like “Fire,” “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and “Not Today”. While their lyrics are stunning, their music videos are equally impressive.
What’s even more impressive? On Sunday night, BTS won an award for Top Social Artist, an award based solely on fan support. To vote, fans of the nominated artists tweet with a hashtag specific to their artist and can vote on the Billboard website as well. For those unfamiliar with the award, Justin Bieber has won it every year since 2011 thanks to his Beliebers. Though Bieber usually wins by a landslide, BTS’ fans (called ARMYs) prevented Bieber from ever having a real shot this year. From the start BTS was ahead in votes by tens of thousands of votes. By the May 20th awards, BTS was ahead by a few hundred million votes. This doesn’t even consider how they also blew the likes of Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and Shawn Mendes out of the water as well.
To make a long story short, it was a great night for K-Pop fans. BTS fans were lined up outside the awards since dawn on Sunday just to catch a glimpse of the seven members. When it came time for the winner to be announced, you could hear the screams of ARMYs waiting for BTS to be mentioned.
As an ARMY myself, I’m not ashamed to say I teared up just seeing how excited and honored the boys were to even be there. They cheered for everyone, from Nicki Minaj to Drake and even Florida Georgia Line. They took selfies with The Chainsmokers, had an interview with Good Morning America, and were even praised for their killer fashion sense by Vogue an hour after their arrival. K-Pop has entered the western music scene for the first time since Psy’s “Gangnam Style”.
What makes BTS unique and separates them from other groups would have to be the sheer kindness and dedication they show to their fans. With constant Twitter updates and fun videos, all seven members consistently thank their loyal fans and always send out messages of hope and love whenever they get the chance. Because of the way they value their fans, BTS has gone from playing at tiny venues in 2013 to selling out a world tour in five minutes a few months ago. BTS deserves to be in the spotlight and their immense fan support proves it.