Bangtan Boys Dominate Mnet Asian Music Awards

  • By Lee Hai-woon

    December 13, 2021 11:52

    This year's Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) served as a showcase for the growing power of Korean entertainment and pop culture. The annual event was held in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday.

    The awards, in their 22nd year, were based on music data from 167 nations around the world, and Apple Music data were included for the first time this year. Saturday's event was aired in 200 countries globally via YouTube and other broadcasting channels and dominated real-time Twitter trends.

    Fans were able to vote for their favorite artists on various social media. Some 112 million votes were cast worldwide, with 96 percent of them outside Korea.

    Bangtan Boys, also known as BTS, won the top Worldwide Icon of the Year award, which was presented by actor Lee Jung-jae, who has risen to global fame through Netflix's mega hit Korean series "Squid Game." BTS bagged eight additional awards including Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

    Lee Hyo-ri (center) performs with "Street Woman Fighter" contestants at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Saturday.

    Global pop star Ed Sheeran won Favorite International Artist. Participating virtually, he performed "Bad Habits" and "Shiver," his latest hits, and expressed his love for BTS. As a co-writer of BTS' third English-language song "Permission to Dance," Sheeran mentioned BTS in his speech, saying, "My friends BTS… did a fantastic job of it and I just love those guys. So thank you for having me this evening."

    But BTS were not able to attend as they are undergoing 10 days of self-isolation after returning from Los Angeles, where they performed concerts, on Dec. 6.

    Lee Hyo-ri served as MAMA's first female host and both opened and closed the show, performing with contestants of "Street Woman Fighter," a sensational dance competition program that ended recently.

    Lee has created a unique persona over more than two decades in a fast-moving showbiz career since her debut in 1998, and once again demonstrated her singular presence on stage.

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