The boyband concept is still popular, the latest evidence being the seven South Koreans from BTS. They were the big winners at this year’s American Music Awards on Sunday evening – and even pushed a permanent winner from the throne.

They are less renowned than the Grammys and the live performances do not have the hip trend claim of the MTV Music Awards, but the American Music Awards are the largest prizes in the US music industry given directly by the audience via online voting.

At the award ceremony on Sunday in Los Angeles, a change of guard took place, which shows who will be able to mobilize the largest fan base in 2021. For the first time, the South Korean boy band BTS won the most important award of the evening as “Artist of the Year”. The group of seven stood out, among others, singer Taylor Swift, who last received this award three times in a row.

In any case, the entire three-hour award ceremony was dominated by the globally successful K-Pop phenomenon (derived from “Korean Popular Music”): BTS appeared at the beginning of the show with the hit band Coldplay and sang “My Universe”. Before the main prize they had already received awards for the best pop group and for “Butter” as the best pop song – and they ended the evening dressed in yellow with a performance of this hit single.

Swift received awards for “Evermore” as Pop Album of the Year and Pop Artist of the Year. The 31-year-old has already won 34 AMAs in the course of her career, a record in the history of the award, which has been awarded since 1973.

Olivia Rodrigo and The Weeknd – the big losers

The evening went less well for newcomer Olivia Rodrigo (18, “Drivers License”), who had previously led the nomination field with seven entries. She could only win a prize in the new artist category.

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Canadian singer The Weeknd (“Blinding Lights”) was nominated six times, but only won in the male R&B artist category.

The Italian ESC winner Måneskin («Beggin») also got nothing. They were subject to rapper Megan Thee Stallion (“Body”) in the newly created “Trending Song” category for songs that are particularly popular on the Tiktok social network. Måneskin’s appearance was still cheered.

No criticism, but all the more marketing

In addition, as every year, the awards were characterized by a high degree of connectivity with a broad audience. There were no biting moderation comments from rapper Cardi B, just as there were no political statements in acceptance speeches or laudations that are now common at US award shows. Instead, a great marketing spirit often shaped the garishly staged show, in which every appearance came with a hashtag for social networks displayed live.

And although Christmas is not even over yet, Jennifer Lopez sang the title song of her romance “Marry Me”, which was only scheduled for Valentine’s Day in February, again supplemented by the trailer for the film during the commercial break that followed.


A nice staging idea, on the other hand, was the “Battle of Boston”, a test of strength between two of the city’s biggest successful bands from the 1980s, in which the New Kids on the Block (“Step by Step”) responded to the R&B combo New Edition (“Candy Girl”) met. In the end, both of your medleys underlined only one thing: the world’s most successful sound in the boy band genre is created in Asia these days.

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