There are a lot of BTS storylines happening right now – and I’m covering them separately because there’s too much to jam in just one post. In this post then, let’s focus on their performance at the American Music Awards, after they’d won multiple AMAs, including Favourite Duo or Group, to close the show…even though they were not nominated for the biggest award at the end of the show, Artist of the Year. Am I salty? Yes. This is a band that put out not one but TWO albums in 2020, and three virtual concerts, and one of their members, Suga, released a mixtape, and they had TWO #1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and at one point owned the top TWO songs on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Savage Love” and “Dynamite”, and still, for whatever reason, they don’t qualify for Artist of the Year; but the AMAs loaded them up to go last for the show, using them to keep the audience tuned in until the conclusion. It’s another example of how western media leverages the influence of BTS without giving them the actual respect.
But the thing about BTS is that they’re so classy, they deliver more than what’s expected of them, every single time. Because, for them, ultimately, it’s about the fans, for ARMY. And so, to shut it all down, RM, Suga, Jin, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook took over Seoul Olympic Stadium, a gigantic venue, the venue where they were supposed to kick off their world tour back in April. Did everyone watching properly appreciate the scale of this production, the AMBITION of this production?! For what essentially amounted to just a ten minute or so performance?! But in addition to rewarding their fans, this is BTS’s subversive clapback to the constant western patronising…
Because who would have wanted to follow this performance? With the drones and the ARMY bombs (light-sticks that BTS fans use to show their support) placed in every seat in the stadium and the fireworks display overhead, in addition to the South Korean technical sophistication required to pull off this kind of broadcast…
BTS was like, OK, you keep telling us we’re not on the same level as western artists, sure, but we’ll just do you a favour and deliver some GREAT television to your viewers, give you a performance that makes the rest of your show look like amateur hour Mickey Mouse in comparison to the kind of sh-t we’re pulling off over here in the East, while pulling up your audience numbers and ratings so that you can keep charging advertisers those rates.
Seriously, every other set that we saw last night at the AMAs in retrospect, after seeing BTS’s OLYMPIC STADIUM, looked like a high school holiday concert. And remember, this is Dick Clark Productions, this is on ABC, these are people considered the best in the business… in North America. And this happened on their own airwaves, without any North American involvement, seven Korean men just clowned North American broadcast technology. Which is my technology too since I work in North American broadcasting and, let me tell you, whether it’s in Canada or in the United States, it’s just not happening on that level here. We haven’t figured it out yet.
So, if we’re looking ahead to the Grammys, and my point in today’s open about the Grammys studying all the award shows that have happened up to this point as they prepare for their own big show, the part of the AMAs they should have been paying the closest attention to last night was BTS’s performance for how to actually pull it off during a pandemic. Better yet, just invite the BTS production team to come produce the Grammys.
Now to your homework, because where BTS is concerned, everybody should be doing it: they cover the new issue of Esquire. Read it now and let’s discuss tomorrow.