From winning top duo/group and top social artist and sitting in the front row to being the second to last act to perform, the group was front and center at the awards show, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday night (US time).
The band’s leader RM said, “Thank you, Army. Still can’t believe we’re here on this stage with so many great artists, oh my god,” as he accepted the top duo/group award.
“We’re still the same boys from six years ago. We still have the same dreams,” he said before adding, “Thank you. I love you all.”
The star-studded show also saw pop heavyweights like Madonna, Mariah Carey and Taylor Swift perform. Drake took home the coveted top artist award.
Wednesday’s achievement was the latest in a series of record-breaking feats the septet has pulled off, including having three US No. 1 albums in a year, matched by only two other artists -- The Beatles and The Monkees in the 1960s.
Winning the top social artist award for three consecutive years could mean that BTS’ popularity will be long-lasting, according to culture critic Ha Jae-keun.
“This isn’t just 15 minutes of fame for them. It shows they have a strong fandom and foundation of popularity. The chances of long-lasting success are now higher,” Ha said.
The critic added that the group is on a different level compared to other South Korean artists who have broken into the US.
“Unlike the buzz around Psy which fizzled out after climaxing, the fact that they won not just one but two awards shows BTS is getting even more popular than last year or the year before.”
Another culture critic Jung Duk-hyun says the group’s status in the music scene has been recognized.
“BTS competed with other outstanding artists like Maroon 5, and I think Billboard has really acknowledged its status with the (top duo/group) award this time,” said Jung.
Furthermore, the group was mentioned constantly throughout the show by the likes of Mariah Carey and Kumail Nanjiani. The heavily promoted first joint performance of “Boy With Luv” with Halsey was the second to last, indicating that the Korean act was one of the main attractions of Wednesday night’s event.
After being introduced as a “supergroup” and a “two-time winner,” host Kelly Clarkson went on to say the group has shattered “nearly every streaming record imaginable.”
Her remarks come after the video for “Boy With Luv” became the most watched music video on YouTube in the first 24 hours, racking up over 78 million views.
The bandmates also showed off their friendship bracelets -- gifts from Halsey -- on the red carpet -- a gesture that many fans swooned over on the internet.
During the performance, there were familiar scenes for K-pop fans, including a fan holding a banner with “Kim Tae-hyung” written on it, bandmate V’s Korean name.
“It can be seen that K-pop fandom culture, including thoroughly organized cheering for the performance of idol groups, has traveled over there,” Jang said.
By Yim Hyun-su (firstname.lastname@example.org)