South Korean supergroup BTS once again rewrote K-pop history on Monday (Sunday night, U.S. Pacific Time) by becoming the first Asian act to win Artist of the Year, the top prize of the American Music Awards (AMAs).
The septet clinched the award during the 2021 AMAs, broadcast live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, beating out five big names — Ariana Grande, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd, reports Yonhap News Agency.
“We’re truly honoured to be on this stage with such amazing, tremendous artistes right over there,” team leader RM said in English after accepting the award.
“Seven boys from Korea united by the love for music met the love and support from all the Armies all over the world. Seriously, we would never take this for granted. Thank you so much. Love to give this hour to you guys,” RM added, referring to the name of the group’s global fan base, ARMY.
Suga said he never expected to receive the award and thanked ARMY for making it happen. Jungkook said in English, “We believe that this award opens the beginning of a new chapter. I so appreciate your help. Thank you ARMY.”
BTS was among the big-name performers from across the musical spectrum through the night. It played two songs, ‘Butter’ and ‘My Universe’, with the latter performed together with Coldplay for the first time.
The K-pop group was due to perform the remix version of ‘Butter’ with Megan Thee Stallion, but the American rapper dropped the plan for personal matters.
Monday’s feat is expected to raise the group’s chances of earning a Grammy nomination this year.
Last year, BTS made history when it earned its first Grammy nomination, becoming the first K-pop act to be nominated for the best pop duo or group performance award, considered the most prestigious honour in the music industry, with its single ‘Dynamite’. It ended up failing to win, however.
Nominees for the 64th Grammy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, with the awards ceremony set for January 31, 2022, in Los Angeles.
Critics say the groundbreaking win once again proved the group’s undeniable impact on the music industry.
“The win showed that BTS has become a superstar representing the times, like The Beatles of the 1960s, Elton John in the 1970s, Michael Jackson in the 1980s, and Nirvana and Mariah Carey in the 1990s,” music industry critic Lim Jin-mo said on telephone to Yonhap News Agency on Monday.
“BTS did not shoot to fame with just one hit, but was beloved on Billboard charts for over two to three years, and (this feat) proved the mighty power of its fandom,” Lim said.