Back in 2017, BTS performed for the first time on a North American award show. And it was at the American Music Awards. It is not an exaggeration to say that they blew the roof off the place – much to the surprise of the western music industry, including the celebrities who were in attendance. No other act that night elicited as intense and frenzied of a reaction.
Four years later and that reaction was just as intense and frenzied, maybe even more so. The difference now is that, well, more people know. And of course RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook won the AMA for Artist of the Year, the biggest award of the night, making history in the process, becoming the first Asian artists to ever take home that prize. For those of us who’ve been following BTS over the years, what’s been especially enjoyable about watching all their success is that they’ve done it without having to compromise the qualities that made them BTS in the first place. The seven artists of the year last night are as recognisable to their ARMY as they’ve during their ascent. They made sure to speak Korean during their acceptance speech. They were as chaotic and all-over-the-place during their acceptance as they’ve ever been. All of them spoke – which is how they do at Asian award shows. BTS acceptance speeches at the high profile East Asian shows can be as long as eight to ten minutes because they allow time for all of them to talk. Given that there are seven of them, it takes a while. I’m not sure that the American Music Awards producers allotted extra time for BTS but they took it anyway – and why not.
Normally during an award show, you run the risk of losing viewers when someone takes too long with their acceptance. The fact of the matter is the AMAs ratings were probably boosted by BTS’s ARMY tuning in, and lighting up social media with excitement. If I was in the control room, I wouldn’t have been in a hurry to wrap them, not just because I’m a fan but because you more than make up on viewer retention vs drop-off with ARMY hanging on every word.
Speaking of that control room though, I’m not sure they knew exactly what they were doing where BTS is concerned because there were way too many cutaways during their performances, particularly their second performance, “Butter”. They hit the stage first, early in the show, with Coldplay for their joint hit “My Universe”. To be honest, it wasn’t the strongest showing for either band, most of it due to tech issues. The audio was way low, you could barely hear them, and since there were so many of them on stage, it made for a disjointed presentation that wasn’t up to the standard of technical excellence we’re used to seeing from BTS.
On their own though, for “Butter”, is where they really brought it with their vocals (they sang live), their dance moves, and their stage presence – which is why it was so annoying that the director kept cutting away from the stage to show the crowd, and at key points in the choreography too. The point is, they may be the Artists of the Year, but the western live television production is still not yet quite up to speed on the biggest band in the world, at least not how to shoot them.
You know who is up to speed on BTS though? Other celebrities.
On Friday night, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook were at Harry Styles’s concert and hung out with Lizzo. Lizzo’s been ARMY a long time. She’s known to get on IG live and just Ted Talk her thirst for V’s style and Jimin’s prettiness. Her sister is obsessed with them, and it made her sister’s life that they were at the show together. Lizzo seemed pretty jacked too:
Enjoy this short clip of me & V screaming â€œYOU DONT KNOW YOUâ€™RE BEAUTIFULâ€ ðŸ¥ºðŸ¥ºðŸ¥ºðŸ¥ºðŸ¥º pic.twitter.com/9LJATMLr1H— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) November 20, 2021
Did we just become BFFs? ðŸ˜â¤ï¸ @BTS_twt pic.twitter.com/dfuXgsqHbC— FOLLOW @YITTY (@lizzo) November 20, 2021
Last night at the AMAs, everyone name-checked BTS on the red carpet. Cardi couldn’t stop talking about them during her hosting duties. You’ll note in this shot posted by New Kids on the Block, Donnie is wearing BTS merch. The t-shirt? “Love Yourself” is from BTS’s last tour. Zoom in and you’ll see the BTS logo:
Chloe Bailey also told reporters on the red carpet that:
“I hope to meet BTS tonight, I love them so much. They are the most amazing performers and everything they’re doing is incredible. I’m such a fan.”
And then she got her selfie:
can you see how happy i am ðŸ˜ðŸ˜@BTS_twt pic.twitter.com/KQtypPUSJl— ChloÌˆe (@ChloeBailey) November 22, 2021
As did Jojo Siwa who asked for hers right on stage:
@bts_bighit ðŸŒŸ 7 legends. pic.twitter.com/803Jf6NYrq— JoJo Siwa (@itsjojosiwa) November 22, 2021
BTS is playing four sold-out shows at SoFi stadium next week. Expect a solid celebrity turnout. And probably some Grammy nominations. They’ll be announced tomorrow. BTS’s “Butter” should contend for Record of the Year, one of the four topline Grammys. Chances for a win are probably remote, considering the Recording Academy’s past f-ckery. But that nomination is a no-brainer.