For this year’s update of our ongoing Greatest Pop Star by Year project, Billboard is counting our staff’s picks for the Top 10 Pop Stars of 2021 for the remainder of this week. At # 6, we remember the year BTS – our biggest pop stars of 2020, who simply followed one massive year on the charts with another.
For the first time in American Music Awards history, the 2021 Artist of the Year accepted the trophy with a speech partially delivered in Korean. On November 21, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook – collectively known as world-dominating BTS – took top honors at the AMAs, dethroning Miss Americana herself, Taylor Swift, who had held the title since 2018.
Billboard’s Biggest Pop Stars in 2021:
Introduction & Honorable Mentions | Return of the Year: Willow | Rookie of the Year: Olivia Rodrigo | # 10: bad bunny | N Â° 9: Dua Lipa | # 8: Justin Bieber | # 7: Drake | N Â° 5: The weekend
Following RM’s remarks in English, Suga walked over to the microphone and expressed his gratitude to their fans (aka ARMY) and expressed how unexpected the victory was, all in his native Korean. While giving a foreign language speech on prime-time American television has its own weight as a cultural step, especially for non-native English speakers chasing American dreams – and both the Puerto Rican star Bad bunny and Mexican-American hitmaker Becky g also accepted their respective AMAs for Favorite Latin Album and Favorite Female Latin Artist in Spanish this year – BTS’s victory in particular signaled a change in the look and sound of American pop music in 2021.
BTS’s journey to becoming the Artist of the Year on the AMA stage dates back to the explosive “Dynamite”, their first track in English, released in August 2020. The single became the first number 1 of the act on the Hot 100, and consequently opened the valves to five more No.1s within 13 months, starting with their appearance on the remix to “Savage Love (Laxed Siren Beat)” by Jason Derulo in October 2020. Closing the year with a third No. 1 with “Life goes on” disabled TO BE in November of last year, BTS was appointed Billboard‘s The greatest pop star from 2020 in February.
In April 2021, the band hinted at a second English single to follow up on the game-changing “Dynamite”. And in May, they released “Butter”, a summer smash that sticks to your head. echoing Michael Jackson‘s “Smooth Criminal”. While “Dynamite” held No. 1 on the Hot 100 for three weeks in 2020, “Butter” (and his remix with Megan Thee Stallion) enjoyed number 1 for 10 non-consecutive weeks in 2021. In July, the septet achieved the rare feat of dethroning themselves when their third song entirely in English “Permission to dance” – a cheerful, catchy tune whose cheeky name drops Elton John – replaced “Butter” for a week on the charts, before “Butter” resumed reign at No.1 the following week.
Following in the footsteps of Jason Derulo and Megan Thee Stallion, pop-rock veterans Coldplay dropped a BTS collaboration called “My Universe” in September. , proving the magical touch of the boy band by elevating their collaborators from various eras and musical genres to the coveted place n Â° 1, where Coldplay had not been found since 2008 (“Viva La Vida”).
Off the charts, âDynamiteâ ultimately opened BTS’s door to the Grammys in two historic ways. In 2021, BTS competed for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance, making them the first Korean pop group to compete for a trophy at the awards show. Although they lost the category to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me,” the boys were one of the star performers of the biggest night in music – alongside other global superstars Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. – and became the first Korean-speaking artist to perform their original song on the Grammy stage. Last month, BTS won its second Grammy nomination and is in the running for the same award for âButterâ.
Outside of the Grammys, BTS grabbed several Billboard Music Awards wins in March; the MTV Video Music Awards in September; and the previously mentioned AMAs in November, which turned into a mini BTS concert thanks to performances of “My Universe” with Coldplay and a closing show “Butter”, both before a Microsoft Theater audience overflowing with members of the ‘ARMY completing each level.
Behind the scenes, new brand HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) was taking action in the United States to further solidify its position in the American music market. In April, HYBE bought Ithaca Holdings from Scooter Braun for $ 1.05 billion. As a result of the sale, HYBE “grew from a small agency with a valuation of 10 billion South Korean won (around $ 9.3 million at the time) in 2011 to an industry heavyweight worth more. 1,000 times more (about $ 9.5 billion) “, according to one Billboard report.
Later in the year, BTS terminated its distribution agreement with Sony Music, and instead signed an agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) in October. “I firmly believe that UMG and Big Hit, two companies that have constantly pursued innovation, will create a synergy that will rewrite the history of world music” noted The founder of HYBE, Bang Si-hyuk at the time. And with that, BTS and HYBE have formed an alliance with Lucian Grainge of UMG, one of the most powerful leaders in the business.
Even within South Korea’s borders, BTS’s fame was so undeniable that at the end of 2020, the country passed the Military Service Law – colloquially known as BTS Law – allowing global change actors to postpone military enlistment from 28 to 30 years and ultimately save 29-year-old Jin from compulsory conscription for the time being. Further consolidating their status as South Korea’s cultural ambassador, BTS – with the full support of President Moon Jae-in – was invited to deliver a speech and performance of “Permission to Dance” at the UN September 20.
To cap off an already exceptional year, BTS has christened the newly constructed SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., With a four-day sold-out concert series titled BTS Permission to Dance on Stage – LA from November 27 to December 2 – marking their triumphant return to performing in front of an in-person audience after two years. In four nights, BTS raked in $ 33.3 million from 214,000 ticket sales. Additionally, the tour boasted “the grossest amount of shows at a single venue since 2012,” a Billboard Boxscore Report adds.
What’s the next step for the group? “An extended period of rest.” At. On December 5, HYBE released a statement announcing BTS well deserved vacation for the first time since 2019. In the same release, the label made sure to tease fans with the promise of a new album when BTS returns, regardless of the timing. And considering what RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook have given us in 2021, one thing is certain: there will surely be a place waiting for them on the main American pop scene at their return.
Later today: billboard reveals our pop star # 5 of 2021, another artist who reached ubiquity on the charts in 2021 without releasing a new album.