Most days of the year, Las Vegas is known for its gambling, entertainment, combat sports, and other aspects of nightlife. The city mocks other parts of the world, coming with its own Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower, but has a unique way of lighting up in the evening. While Vegas is no stranger to hosting celebrities and high profile events, the city sees more notable names than usual on the third weekend of May. Vegas has for a long time been the host of the Billboard Music Awards. The award show, which is referred to in short as the “BBMAs,” holds some degree of notoriety, as it’s governed by Billboard, a magazine brand which has long been the host of the Billboard 200, and The Billboard Hot 100, the two biggest music charts in the United States. And this year, something special took place at the Billboard Music Awards: BTS performed during the show.
BTS Sees Success During Their Second American Award Show Performance Sunday At The BBMAs
On Sunday, for the first time in BBMA history, the show played host to a K-Pop boy group. This was the second time that a Korean act crossed-over into the event, with PSY making a very brief appearance in 2013. The group performed their newest title track “Fake Love,” in front of a crowd that was screaming from start to finish. When you look at the fanbase, the only word that fits is “loyal.” The fans and the team-like mentality that they express are what have brought BTS so far.
For example, four days after “Fake Love” was released, the video had already received 70 million views. Numbers are somewhat inflated due to people finding ways to manipulate a system. Fan accounts like @btsanalytics provide their followers with guides on how to stream the song as much as possible. These tactics include watching a song, clearing your browser cache, then doing it again. The way that fans try to boost their favorite group’s numbers as much as possible is a testament to how loyal the fanbase really is.
An Army That Lives And Dies By The Sword
BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, were nominated for Top Social Artist. The award is one of the only categories at the event to give fans a chance to vote for the nominees. When you look at the back-catalogue that BTS fans power-lifted their way through, this nomination was the perfect storm for them. There was no real metric online that tracked how many votes the group won by, but BTS winning the award felt like a unanimous choice among critics. BTS got the award for the second year in a row. Last year’s award had an equal or even higher amount of notoriety around it, as it broke Justin Bieber’s streak of winning the award. Bieber was a six-time winner, getting the award every time since its inception in 2011.
BTS fans, who are referred to as “ARMYs,” are also known for their undying support on social media. After the BBMAs, BTS went live on VLive, a social media platform that is geared towards Korean celebrities, mostly artists. When the 15-minute long broadcast wrapped up, the website reflected that around 600,000 people had tuned in. Take a moment to let that sink in: an impromptu broadcast got a respectable, TV viewership amount of people to show up. Most tweets from BTS gain around 600k likes within a 24-hour period. When BTS did a Preview show for their new album, Fake Love (a Preview or Comeback show is common practice for K-Pop performers, airing their new music mixed with a laid back Q&A sort of event), the one-hour video obtained five million views, with over one billion likes (people can like the video as much as they want).
Back For More
Fake Love marks the second time that BTS has done a hard North American media tour, with the song DNA being promoted extensively worldwide as well. The group broke milestones for what a Korean group can do, performing at the 2017 American Music Awards, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and even getting a slot on the legendary Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. DNA peaked at #67 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the U.S. World Digital Chart.
BTS aims to re-create and even expand upon the success they saw when they last broke American soil. The group can already check off an award show appearance, another appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and now set their sights on a proper World Tour. Starting in August, BTS will begin their first leg of the BTS World Tour: Love Yourself 2018. The 23-event tour includes 14 shows in North America, with the most notable venues being the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the United Center in Chicago. Every venue they go to will host more than one event (except for Oakland and Amsterdam, which only host one each).
Last Word on BTS
BTS have garnered quite the following, and now the biggest question is how much higher can they climb. The World Tour will be an interesting look into their reach on a global scale, and may show whether or not they can be a real contender in the coming years for the North American market. Also, it will be interesting to see how much other people from the K-Pop genre thrive due to the mainstream success that BTS achieves. For the time being, the sky’s the limit for the seven hopefuls who are paving the way for Korean music in America.
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