The K-Pop Boy Band That’s Stealing American Hearts (and Awards)

Image Description: All seven members of BTS pose with the award

I was going to bring you a live update of the frenzied voting for the Billboard Music Awards- specifically, the Top Social Artist category, for which BTS was nominated. There were some insane things going on. Conspiracy theories were furiously exchanged about the tricks that Beliebers had up their sleeves. Rousing speeches about how the odds were stacked against BTS amassed hundreds of likes in the comment sections of BTS’s music videos, even as Twitter polls showed that BTS had 200 million votes, and the only plausible contender, Bieber, had 21m. Tensions were high, folks. The ARMY literally could not. And it only encouraged them further when BBMA’s Twitter account groaned that the incessant voting had lead to their servers crashing.

Of course, now that BTS has won, that blog post is irrelavant.

Instead, we now have history in the making. A K-pop group has won a mainstream Western award, which clearly says something about the dedication of the ARMY. There ain’t no fan like a boy band fan, as Out magazine observed so rightly. Fans of BTS, though, are crazier than fans of Justin Bieber and the erstwhile One Direction, combined. They are ‘a force of freaking nature’, to quote Saga, that beloved comic which is not about superheroes.

As a direct consequence of their win, which comes shortly after the Shorty Award they took home recently, Western press is falling all over themselves trying to explain BTS to the laypeople in North America.

Consider Rolling Stone, for instance. And Vogue. No, not Teen Vogue. Vogue Vogue. How incredible (and incredibly predictable) is that?! Lists like ‘5 Things to Know About BTS’ which started cropping up after they were nominated have mushroomed after they won.

Teen magazines will probably follow suit, if they haven’t already. Imagine posters of BTS members tucked into Seventeen, along with Justin Bieber. That’d certainly be something.

It won’t be too much of a surprise if more people in North America have their hearts captured by outrageous costumes, synchronized dancing, and general cuteness- i.e., the potent force that is K-pop.

One small step for BTS, one giant leap for K-pop.

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