Time names BTS “Entertainer of the Year”

Posted on : 2020-12-11 18:26 KST Modified on : 2020-12-11 18:26 KST
US weekly calls K-pop “the biggest band in the world”
BTS is named Time’s Entertainer of the Year for 2020. (Time website)
BTS is named Time’s Entertainer of the Year for 2020. (Time website)

On Dec. 10, Time magazine named K-pop group BTS its Entertainer of the Year. “BTS isn’t just the biggest K-pop act on the charts. They’ve become the biggest band in the world — full stop,” the American weekly said in an article highlighting BTS.

“Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous livestreams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of pop stardom,” wrote Time reporter Raisa Bruner. Time’s Entertainer of the Year in 2019 was the American singer Lizzo.

Bruner went on to explain that BTS exerted an enormous presence on the global music scene in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also cemented their image as humanists by supporting the BLM movement with a donation of US$1 million, a phenomenon Time calls “a case study in music-industry dominance through human connection.”

While the global music scene has traditionally been dominated by Western artists typically from the Anglosphere, Bruner says BTS’ rise indicates “a sea change in the inner workings of fandom and how music is consumed.”

“There are times when I’m still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening,” BTS member Suga remarked during an interview with Time. “But I ask myself, ‘Who’s going to do this, if not us?’”

“I always wanted to become an artist that can provide comfort, relief and positive energy to people,” added fellow member J-Hope. “That intent harmonized with the sincerity of our group and led us to who we are today.”

Asian-American Nicole Santero, who is writing her doctoral dissertation on BTS and their global following, calls the K-pop group’s US success “a triumph of representation” because it has elevated the cultural status of Asians in the American mainstream. “I never really saw people like myself on such a mainstream stage,” Santero added.

“We’re not sure if we’ve actually earned respect,” group leader RM said. “But one thing for sure is that [people] feel like, OK, this is not just some kind of a syndrome, a phenomenon.”

“These little boys from Korea are doing this,” RM added.

Industry observers say Time’s distinction will benefit BTS in the upcoming 2021 Grammys, for which they’ve been nominated in the category of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. BTS is the first Korean act to be nominated for a Grammy.

By Choi Hyun-june, staff reporter

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