BTS performed the title track, Fake Love, from their new album Love Yourself: Tear for the first time at the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs). This is a big deal as it is their first performance for their current comeback and they performed in America, not South Korea, where they are from. If you haven’t seen the performance, what are you waiting for? Check it out!
There was one problem, I feel, that needs to be addressed: the fans and their inability to not drown out BTS during live performances. I told some friends to check out the performance and they all responded similarly, “They seem like a cool group but I could barely hear them. Do you have a video or something I could look at?” That’s a problem. For millions, this was the first time they saw BTS and they were drowned out by hysterical screaming, not fan chants. There are many fancams from last night where you can hear fans, screaming at the top of their lungs, while BTS was singing. I am not talking about fan chants, where there are specific areas of the song where fans can sing along. Sitting close to BTS right by the stage, you could barely hear them.
I often say, you can do what you want but not without consequence. The consequence this time was fans making so much noise it caused the camera people to focus on fans…a lot. The camera people did their job, IMO. When the crowd is making more noise, purposely being louder than the artists or idols, the artists and idols aren’t the main story anymore…it’s the fans. They caused the camera people to divert their attention from BTS onto them, which annoyed the majority of people who were more interested in seeing BTS. Complaints started to flood the internet about how “bad” the camera work was, without acknowledging the root of the problem. They even went as far to bring race into the issue. Yes, they went there.
Before someone says they weren’t ridiculously loud, look for yourself. In the video below, Janet Jackson asked the crowd, at 2:36, “What’s my name, ya’ll?” and listen how quiet they are. Listen to the entire performance, you can hear Janet, which is lovely, even though there were people singing along and dancing.
Another one, Salt n Pepa and En Vogue. You can actually hear them, which is wonderful. Most performances you can hear the artists. This proves the BTS fans can be quiet when they want to be.
They purposely drowned BTS out. Their explanation for this? They wanted BTS to know they were there, which is honestly (to me), a lie. They wanted to hear themselves because truly supporting BTS means letting the millions of people viewing them hear their incredible voices. I’d share some of the Twitter responses about this but a lot of them might be children and I can’t expect kids to have the wisdom of adults. NONE of the responses mention the inability of anyone in the audience being able to hear BTS. None of them promote behavior to ensure viewers in the venue or on TV being able to enjoy BTS’ music. That, in itself, is so disrespectful to BTS.
It is incredibly unfortunate but now more so than ever, BTS is known for their fandom not their singing and/or dancing. BTS fans come together to break tweeting and streaming records. It’s impressive except they don’t seem to have a plan in place to ensure they don’t overwork themselves. As I type this, there is drama going on within the fandom about charting as they are falling short of their expectations (allegedly, Fake Love is not doing as well as Mic Drop). Having such a large fandom is challenging and I think it is long overdue for Big Hit to step in and set some expectations for them. In Korea and Japan, there are rules with consequences, for breaking those rules. BTS needs this internationally as well.
You may have noticed I have not referred to the fandom by name. It has a name, it’s called ARMY. I did a random search for a BTS performance and the 2017 MAMA performance in Hong Kong came up. This is what I consider ARMY. Listen to how faithfully they did the fan chants and were quiet when they were supposed to be so BTS could be heard.
I watched this live and enjoyed the performance immensely. I did another search and found another one. Listen to these ARMY properly supporting BTS (you can hear BTS!!!):
It’s not like this every time they are in the United States. Here is a 2 1/2 hour fancam from when they were in Anaheim. Guess what? ARMY sang along but they didn’t consistently drown BTS out.
If asking to be able to hear the stars of the show (in the case of the BBMAs, one of the stars of the show), after spending hundreds of dollars to see them, is asking too much, then yes – there is no point in purchasing concert tickets, there is no point in making the effort to see BTS if you want to enjoy their music. It’s really that simple. For real, if fans are screaming (which is different than singing) along to the song they aren’t appreciating the music either! Speaking of appreciating the music, RM appreciating Kelly Clarkson sing is adorable. He could do that because he could hear her.
BTS deserves to be heard so I hope this is something that is addressed soon, as their concerts are coming up. BTS is at a critical point where, to move to the next level, they need to draw in people who admire their skill, their music, their dedication…not their fandom. Hopefully, it will work itself out. With encouragement from BTS and Big Hit, the focus can move from charting and awards for the fandom to something more meaningful, like sincere promotion of BTS by displaying their talents, focusing on doing good and having a positive long-lasting impact on the world. Time will tell.