Kpop has never been so prominent in US before the arrival of BTS; perhaps, BTS is writing history here. A boy band consisting of seven Korean members has achieved every glorious titles of “TOP, BEST, and the FIRST”. Over the past 2 years, BTS has rose to an undeniable stardom in America, winning Top Social Artist Award at the 2017 and 2018 Billboard Music Awards, performing at American Music Awards, collaborating with Nicki Minaj and Chain Smokers and being hosted on popular TV shows. BTS Suga mentioned in an interview, “This is far beyond what we have imagined. I wouldn’t have even dared to dream of this.” BTS has achieved much more than they had sought for and critics say it is hard even to predict their future since no other Asian singer has been on this path. With American media spotlighting every step BTS takes, all 15 concert tour stops in North America have been sold out.
The power behind this immense popularity lays in the huge fandom called ARMY. In 2017, BTS and the ARMY had ended Bieber’s six-year streak to win the Top Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards with over 300 million votes from fans. The dedication of international fans had shocked the American audience. Also, in their acceptance speech at the BBMAs in 2017, the leader of BTS, RM, humbly thanked ARMY for their endless support. “Most importantly this award belongs to the people all around the world that shine love and light on us by the millions and make BTS proud really everywhere. Please, ARMY, remember what we say, love myself, love yourself.” The fanclub ARMY started to receive recognition as the most powerful fandom in the world. Millions of people around the world, speaking different languages, uniting under the name of ARMY in support of the boys is surely an extraordinary power that BTS has.
BTS embarked their “Love Yourself World Tour” in Los Angeles successfully in the first week of September. Thousands of ardent fans camped outside Staples Center for three to four days in prior to the concert dates to get the best spot for the concert. Downtown LA was teeming with fans passionately waiting for the concert. This eccentric phenomenon was reported by multitudes of American media including NBC, ABC7, and Billboard. Victoria Rosales, a college student at UC Davis, was one of the ARMYs who spent fiery nights camping out for the concert. “Something that amazes me about us (ARMY) is how we are so dedicated to the point of sleeping in a random street to see them close! From an outsider’s view we may seem crazy but we sincerely enjoyed the night listening and dancing to BTS’s songs together. Although all of the fans speak different languages and are from different parts of the world, our love towards this boy group isn´t constricted by anything. ARMY has an intimate connection in our support for BTS.”
There is no way to distinctly determine what about BTS that millions of fans love: their iconic music and choreographies, visuals, friendships between the members, or the affectionate relationship they have with ARMY. However, one clear fact is that BTS communicates wholeheartedly to their fans through their own music. Music is an international language. The message this boy group tries to convey in their creations have touched the hearts of all the fans around the globe.
Goeun Lee, Grade 10
Larchmont Charter School