Generally, this year’s MTV Video Music Awards nominations aren’t too much of a surprise.
Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, 21 Savage and the Jonas Brothers are among the artists up for the coveted Video of the Year award.
Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift lead the pack with 10 nominations each.
But BTS – one of the most popular bands on the planet – trail way behind, featuring in only four categories.
Boy With Luv, their duet with Halsey, is nominated for Best Collaboration and they’re also in the newly created Best K-pop category.
The other two nominations come in technical categories (art direction and choreography).
MTV hasn’t commented on claims by some BTS fans that the band have been purposely excluded from many of the main categories.
“I think they have been snubbed,” agrees Lucy Ford, an entertainment reporter with the Bauer media group – and a BTS fan.
“I think we still have a really narrow view on what constitutes a mainstream artist, which is dictated by chart success and radio play.
“What’s more mainstream nowadays is what people watch on the internet. If we measure that, BTS are arguably more successful than most of the artists nominated for a VMA.”
The release of BTS’ Boy With Luv video broke several world records.
Three new records – congratulations @BTS_twt 👉 https://t.co/Ll7a3ctFjH
👏 Most viewed @YouTube video in 24 hours
👏 Most viewed @YouTube music video in 24 hours
👏 Most viewed @YouTube music video in 24 hours by a K-pop group#BoyWithLuv
— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) April 18, 2019
“Considering everything that video did, I don’t know what MTV are wanting,” says Lucy. “What are the parameters if you’re not going to nominate the video that broke Youtube records?”
In April, the band’s new album, Map of the Soul: Persona, became their third number one on the Billboard 200 chart within a year.
This year, the VMAs have introduced a Best K-pop category, where BTS are nominated against acts like BLACKPINK and Monsta X, to reflect the global prominence of the genre.
However, Lucy says it’s a “very vague” category as the level of success achieved by BTS “can’t be realistically compared” to the other bands in their category.
On the basis of their fans – and the fact the awards are publicly voted for – they are frontrunners to win in their categories.
We don’t know the reasons why MTV left the band out of the top three categories (Video, Artist and Song of the Year).
It could simply be that the shortlist panel didn’t think BTS’ artistry stacked up against the other nominees.
“It’s been an incredible year in music and this group of nominees perfectly reflect the rich pop music landscape,” said Bruce Gillmer, MTV International’s Co-Brand Head, in a press release.
The full nominations for Video of the Year are:
- 21 Savage ft. J. Cole – A Lot
- Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
- Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next
- Jonas Brothers – Sucker
- Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – Old Town Road (Remix)
- Taylor Swift – You Need to Calm Down
“Most of those videos I would put on a par with BTS”, adds Lucy. “Yes, Taylor had loads of cameos but none of those videos have excessive CGI or anything. They’re not radically different to the BTS videos.”
Many BTS fans aren’t happy.
3 number 1 albums in less than a year, top 10 song, sold out stadium tour, and third best selling pop artists of 2019 in the US. Bts are one of the most impactful artists in the west rn but the vmas can’t handle the fact that they’re korean #VMA pic.twitter.com/1EiTnendej
— RJ Enthusiast I ot7 l stream epiphany (@ult_rj) July 23, 2019
We’ve contacted MTV for a comment but haven’t heard anything back as yet. The awards take place on August 26 in Newark, New Jersey. BBC News