Beyond The Scene

K-POP rises in America as boy band BTS performs at the 2017 American Music Awards

Madeline Trumbauer, Staff Writer

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Korea, 2013–seven musicians, Kim Nam Joon (Rap Monster), Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, Jin and J-Hope perform on TV for the first time to debut their first track, “Single.” This began a four-year journey of hard work with their recording agency, Hit It, to create their image and shape their talent, and now they finally have the chance to present themselves to the public.

Today, the K-POP boy band now known as BTS has a new name, 92 awards, several hundred million views on their YouTube videos and a fanbase nicknamed ARMY. They’ve sold out concerts all over the world in countries such as Chile, Australia, Japan and Taiwan; however, they’re only now starting to join American music culture.

Although BTS has had a few shows in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, their most publicized American performance was at the 2017 American Music Awards, which received nearly 9.15 million views. Long-time fan freshman Huda Noor was disappointed with their performance.

“I wish BTS would’ve played their older stuff,” Noor said. “They used to be really original and edgy, but that performance seemed familiar and Americanized.”

In addition to changing their song selection, the band also changed their stage name from Bangtan Sonyeondan to Beyond the Scenes because their original name translated from Korean to English as “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”.

“Changing the name helps American fans understand BTS better,” Noor said. “It lessens confusion about what their band is about.”

The band members don’t want to be seen as idols, a Korean term for artists manufactured by entertainment companies to be admired for their looks. By frequently updating their Twitter accounts and hosting meet and greets with their fans, BTS maintains a humble image.

“BTS is always doing nice things for their fans,” freshman Angela Cheong said. “They don’t really stress about their image; they just act like normal people.”

Indeed, BTS has left an impressionable mark on ARMY members for a multitude of reasons.

“I love their music, their dance moves, their songs–everything,” junior Minju Park said. “They’re just an amazing group.”

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