Passions and Obsessions

When BTS owned the night

Four years ago, they were nervous outsiders. Last November 21, they won. Best part? The authenticity. The humility

BTS dressed up for AMA in Louis Vuitton hanbok-inspired suits (From BTS_official Twitter)

BTS ready for ‘Butter’ in AMA (From BTS_official Twitter)

TRUST BTS to drive away any blues, in their most uncanny way of being there when you need them. Just when I was mourning the death of a friend, South Korea’s—nay, the world’s—biggest band turned the 2021 American Music Awards (AMAs) into their private party-slash-runway-slash-goofing-off session. As Jerome Taylor wrote in Variety Magazine, “At this year’s American Music Awards, one thing was abundantly clear: BTS owned the night.”

How could they not? As one red carpet interviewer said, “I talked to you in 2017.” (BTS were the first K-pop group to ever perform on a major American awards show stage.) “You were superstars then, and I didn’t think you could get any bigger. And look at you now.”

From @bts_bighit twitter

Indeed, they were the stars of the night (very Pinoy awards show!), with friends like Becky G coming over for a hug from old pal j-hope.

You could dwell on the past and savor the sweet taste of revenge for the boys, really. After that first unprecedented AMA performance, I remember seeing some American radio talk show cretin asking why this “Korean lesbian group” was allowed to perform. (No offense to lesbians everywhere, please, but this a-hole obviously threw it out there as an insult.) I remember Suga talking about how he was so nervous, he was crying and throwing up in the bathroom before the performance. That was even before 2018, the difficult year before they had to truly decide if they would stay on the journey, if BTS could commit to the fame, the boys have repeatedly recounted.

BTS dressed for ‘My Universe’ in AMA, in Givenchy by Matthew M. Williams (From BTS_official Twitter)

Well. It’s 2021, and the world is raring to party (yes, even if the COVID-19 numbers are not yet down to stay, I’m sure). At the AMAs last Sunday night, November 21 in Los Angeles (Monday morning in Manila), where the boys had flown in preparation for their four days of live concerts on November 27 and 28 and December 1 and 2, they swept the major awards: Favorite Pop Duo or Group, Favorite Pop Song (Butter), and the crown jewel, Artist of the Year. For the last one, they blew the competition out of the water—just a few nobodies named Taylor Swift, the Weekend, Ariana Grande, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo. (HAH! Kidding—but did you say something, Swifties? I CAN’T HEAR YOOOOO!)

From @BTS_twt twitter

They performed Butter in yellow outfits. Megan Thee Stallion was supposed to join them but begged off “for personal reasons,” and though I like the sassy girl, I did not miss her. (That dance break by the 3Js would have been the bomb, though.) Then they changed looks for the gorgeous My Universe, and all I could think was, even if he looked like their hot uncle, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin was absolutely respectful, making room on stage for RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, as if he knew that this was the next generation, these boys were carrying the torch, and really, he’s had his time (and he’s got his Dakota Johnson), and BTS is NOW and TOMORROW. And, unlike some racist douche canoes who were probably mumbling under their breaths, Chris is perfectly okay that they’re KOREAN. Props to him right there.

Seriously, we’ll never take this for granted’

Anyway, the best part (aside from the boys’ eye-popping Louis Vuitton belted suits that nobody in that room could possibly have worn better, and Suga my love’s red hair)? The authenticity. The humility. “Nobody could have ever bet on us standing here receiving this award,” RM said, making the boys teary-eyed. “Except y’all, ARMY. Except y’all. Seven boys from Korea, united by a love for music. Met the love and support from all the Armys all over the world. This whole thing is a miracle. Seriously, we’ll never take this for granted.” I DIED. Seriously. It’s my spirit that’s typing this now.

Then, like well-timed comic relief, Jungkook took the mic with a memorized English speech, then buckled like a 12-year-old when the teleprompter obviously asked them to wrap it up. “We wanna focus on…focus on…,” he paused, before yelping when Jin literally carried him away from the mic, to everyone’s laughter.

From @bts_bighit twitter

Later, as always, there would be no after-parties for the world’s biggest band, who probably deserved all the booze (and the chicks who would throw themselves at our Bangtans—how much you wanna bet?!!!) if they had opted to get wasted. Instead, back in their hotel, their VLive platform crashed for a few minutes as the boys ate “pischa” (pizza) and toasted champagne to their “universe,” as Jin called them—their fans.

From @squirrelhobi twitter

BuzzFeed Tweet showing Jin carrying JK away from the mic during acceptance remarks (From @BuzzFeed twitter)

For a few moments there, I completely forgot how sad the world can be. I love you, BTS.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cher Calvin (@chercalvin)

Too good to be true, but this was true. This noon (Manila time) Los Angeles TV anchor Cher Calvin stopped at intersection in LA to give way to this—BTS’ shoot of “Butter” for the James Corden show. The bonus? V eyeballed her for a split second. Fil-Am Cher was a host of the pioneering magazine show, “F” on Ph TV before she moved to the US. BTS is in LA for a series of concerts. 

BTS connecting to and thanking Armys in VLive right after AMA (From BTS_official Twitter)


About author


She is a writer, editor, breast cancer and depression survivor, environmental advocate, dog mother to three asPins, Iyengar yoga instructor and BTS Army Tita. She edits part-time for a broadsheet, but is headed towards a full-time vocation as an online English writing coach and grammar nazi.

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