For BTS, the road to the 2018 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) felt like wearing magic slippers on their way to their beloved fans—the international ARMY (fandom name).
But with the Kpop group’s genre-breaking performance during the worldwide television premiere of their new single “Fake Love” and a second BBMAs trophy in their bag, it’s evident that no amount of magic or luck could beat talent and hard work.
BTS is ready to take over the world.
On Monday (Manila time), BTS achieved what no other Kpop band had done in the past when they received their second Top Social Artist Award from the BBMAs. They are now the first K-pop artist to have won two awards from the popular awards show.
BTS beat fellow nominees Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Shawn Mendes with 240 million fan votes or 94 percent of the total votes over a 5-day period.
Last year, BTS earned 300 million votes over a 20-day voting period across various social media platforms.
But more than breaking records, the phenomenal boy group from Seoul, South Korea knows that receiving international recognition is, above all, a chance for self-growth. In a saturated and highly competitive music industry, self-awareness is key and is also reflective of the band’s journey: taking steps forward requires looking at the footprints they leave behind.
“This time, we had a chance to think about what ‘social’ means for us,” RM spoke in front of their legion of fans who stormed the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “Some of our fans told us that our music really changed their lives, and now we realize that our words truly carry weight, thanks to you guys.”
Burn the stage
For BTS, there’s no such thing as coincidence.
With their iconic emblem of fancy but sharp choreography, the phenomenal group burned the BBMAs stage with the debut performance of the title track from their new album “Love Yourself: Tear.”
In an interview, the group said that the choreography for “Fake Love” was inspired by a Buddhist saying—hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil–that relates to the paradigm of choices and the dark sides of love.
True enough, in “Fake Love”, the group’s 4-minute performance means more than their flashy dance moves: every detail, every flow and every step are part of the album’s grand narrative.
The group abandoned the rainbow-colored universe and cotton candy bops of “DNA” for a darker, more angsty rhymes and beats in “Fake Love”.
In Korean, Park Jimin also gave a homage to their beloved ARMY. “This award is really one that you all are receiving. We sincerely thank you and love you,” he said.
The relationship of BTS with their fans and the kind of love and support they’re receiving in return is every artist’s dream. America’s spotlight on BTS means the industry recognizes BTS’ powerful fandom, but the next step for them is to show the relevance of their music in the global arena.
Following the release of their third Korean studio album, the group is set to prove that their music is the message. But as the first Kpop group to have made their comeback on the US stage, BTS already scored a rare feat for any Asian artist.
When the BBMAs host, Kelly Clarkson, introduced BTS not as Korean band but as “the biggest boyband in the world”, we know that the world is now BTS’ stage.