For the uninitiated: The Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) are basically the Grammy’s of South Korea, offering some of the most prestigious awards in the k-pop industry–only unlike the Grammy’s, the public vote actually factors into who wins. So naturally, over the last couple of months, stans around the world have been caught in the throes of voting season, clicking their asses off through every possible social media account to make sure their biases go home with trophies. There’s always blowback on snubs and the flames of inevitable fanwars, but MAMA really went hard courting controversy this year–first, with an uproar involving millions of deleted faux-votes and now with the winners themselves, wherein fan expectation did not at all line up with reality.
The three most coveted awards are known as the “Daesangs,” typically dispersed evenly among the nation’s top groups. This year, the winners were BTS for Artist of the Year (YASSSSSSS), EXO for Album of the Year (another hearty YAS), and Twice’s “Signal” for Song of the Year (they have better songs, tbh). The rest of the categories recognize more specific achievements, such as:
Best Male Group: Wanna One
Best Female Group: Red Velvet
Best New Female Artist : Pristin
Best New Male Artist: Wanna One
Best OST: Ailee’s “I Will Go To You Like The First Snow” from Goblin
Best Music Video: BTS “Spring Day”
Best Dance Performance (Female): TWICE
Best Dance Performance (Male): SEVENTEEN
Best Male Artist: Zico
Best Female Artist: IU
Best Hip-Hop/Urban: Heize’s “Don’t Know You”
Stans were most salty over of Twice’s win for “Signal,” which nabbed the Song of the Year despite receiving only 1% of fan votes. Others challenged Pristin’s victory over Kim Chung-ha, who received 6 million more votes in the the Best New Female Artist Category. Then there was beef regarding the snubbing of icon G-Dragon for Best Male Artist, Wanna One’s win over EXO for Best Male Group, and the lack of fair screentime for bands like DAY6, GOT7, NCT and Super Junior.
The awards show was split over 3 days and 3 cities, the first two days in Vietnam and Japan and the final in Hong Kong, featuring performances from new, nominated, and OG industry heavyweights.
Today the final awards were finally announced on the enormous MAMA stage, featuring performances from k-pop’s biggest acts, and whether or not you’re pissed about the outcomes–YOU GOTTA FANGIRL. YOU JUST GOTTA.
Here you’ll see I’ve curated a highlight reel of my favorite performances from Hong Kong all special for you, to save you lazy SOBs the trouble of navigating Youtube playlists. I’ve only listed HK performances, however, because if I included Japan and Vietnam we would literally be here all day watching pretty people sing and dance–and while that sounds amazing, it’s JUST NOT HEALTHY.
We’ll begin with EXO, who drenched thousands of thirsty stans with the smoky vocals and passionate hip rolls of “The Eve and “Ko Ko Bop.”
Then, because I’m Bangtan trash, ALL OF THE BTS PERFORMANCES, of which there are 3–kicking off with early-2017 hit “Not Today” and ending the whole shebang with the new remix of “Mic Drop”:
THOSE DANCE BREAKS THO
Some GOT7 gorgeousness:
Red Velvet performing Peekaboo and Red Flavor:
And NCT with this lit medley:
Rookie winners Wanna One with “Energetic”:
MONSTA X’s latest hit:
A few Goblin OST favorites:
This too-sexy-for-words Taemin & Sunmi dance duet:
And a girl group medley from Jeong Sewoon!