People are obsessed with the idea of an underdog succeeding – that’s just the way it’s always been. Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen – they all started out on Youtube, and now they are household names. They were talent under our noses, and they deserved their spotlight. So, when they finally had the light on them, their fans knew that this was how things were supposed to be.
However, people aren’t just obsessed with the successful underdog – they’re obsessed with the pride that comes with being with the underdog from the very beginning. When I say “obsessed,” this is in no means an insult. The pride that comes with stumbling upon a group so talented but unknown is like striking gold and wondering why people still can’t see it shine, so when the public eye finally sees that gold glimmer, we feel like we’re still holding it in our hands, knowing that “finally, they see what I always saw.”
BTS has been around for longer than most people know, especially people in America who just recently saw the American Music Awards.
Back when their concept was dark, hip-hop sans the bright colors, ARMY was a young, adolescent group, supporting their idols through social media step by step until one day, BTS won their first award for their song “I Need U.” I can remember the release of the music video and keeping it on repeat. I wanted BTS to have those views; we all wanted them to finally have that win. From that first win, it only got better from there. All of Asia knew of BTS, and more of the world knew about BTS. Of course, that pride was still there. Some of us were able to say, “I saw you when you were in the dark, doing your best to find the light.”
This is the reality – there is no hype. The fans we saw screaming the BTS fan chant at the AMAs did not spring out of the wood works. They were always there. Even those of us who aren’t as vocal anymore; we knew that this group deserved so much more than they had been given.
The reality of loving KPOP and being involved with the Hallyu scene is that not all groups succeed. There is proof of this in the past year with the use of shows like Produce101 and The Unit which was used to help “failed” idol groups have their time to shine. There is talent everywhere, but not everyone succeeds on the first try. Of the 40 groups who enter the public eye, only a handful actually make it to where they want to be.
For those people you come across who say BTS isn’t talented – that they lip sync – they can’t dance – they’re just pretty boys at the big boy playground and they don’t know what they’re doing…
This is what we need you to understand.
BTS did not come out of nowhere. They’ve always been here. They’ve always been doing exactly what you saw them do the other night at the AMAs. This performance was nothing new – in fact, any BTS fan can say they’ve seen DNA performed a million times over exactly the way they performed it for America. If an artist dances like that, they must be lip syncing, right? Idols in Asia train for this – they train to perform exactly like you saw BTS perform. What you saw wasn’t just “a BTS thing,” this is what idols do. This is not something handed to anyone – you say that groups like this are placed together and have no passion for music. What we say, as people who saw them at their lowest, is that if you have no passion for music, no drive to succeed at doing something you love, no talent to deserve this fame,
Why would you keep trying for years and years even though you still might not make it? Why would you take every chance you could if you didn’t love music with every fiber of your body? Why would you practice through the night, never knowing if anyone would hear your voice if you didn’t have passion?
This is what the idols who we have been supporting through the dark do every single day until they succeed.
You don’t understand the hype around BTS, @PerezHilton? Haven’t you helped musicians rise to the top because you saw their potential when no one else did?
I remember when BTS released I Need U, waiting for that award to finally touch their fingertips. At the same time, another group had released new music, and BTS was pushed to the side because they weren’t important enough. So while I ran back to the friends I had who loved this group like I did, even the rest of the KPOP public eye turned away because this group was still that clump of stone with no shine. Fast forward to when Dope was released, and suddenly, wow, everyone loves BTS? Not two weeks later, BTS was all I saw. The exact same people who told me they didn’t care about this group are posting BTS videos and acting like they’re the ones who just struck gold even though ARMY had been holding it in our hands, trying to prove that we were holding treasure.
This is the “hype.”
The hype is that this “global phenomenon” is nothing new to us. The hype is that we had been holding a spotlight over this group all these years, and finally, the light is shining on them naturally without our help.
The BTS that you’ve just now discovered is the BTS we’ve been trying to show you.
Thank you for finally seeing them.