BTS’s MMA Performance Reveals What Western Award Shows Lack

The Melon Music Awards aired on Nov. 30. During the awards show, BTS performed a set of “Intro: Persona,” “Boy in Luv,” “Boy With Luv,” “Mikrokosmos,” and “Dionysus.” BTS’s MMA 2019 performance showcased BTS’s growth over their career and placed an emphasis on the members’ individual styles. Nothing short of spectacular, the performance demonstrated that BTS is on another level, and it’s a level western award shows have not yet reached

BTS MMA Performance
BTS | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for dcp

BTS included a throwback track in their MMA performance

RM opened BTS’s performance with his solo, “Intro: Persona.” The set pieces mirrored the song’s music video. The stage also included hints of BTS’s future albums Map of the Soul: Shadow and Map of the Soul: Ego and references to past work. After finishing his “Intro: Persona” performance, RM was joined by the other members of BTS for a throwback performance of “Boy in Luv.”

The song took fans back to BTS’s Skool Luv Affair era from 2014. It immediately flowed into BTS’s 2019 hit, “Boy With Luv” which acts as a follow-up to “Boy in Luv.” The two songs showed BTS’s growth and versatility as artists.

BTS made MMA 2019 their own concert

Like they did during their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour, BTS built their own galaxy with “Mikrokosmos.” As BTS sang, they were surrounded by galaxy imagery making it appear like they were truly floating in space. For this song, it was no longer MMA 2019, it was a BTS concert.

Towards the end of the song, a screen rose into the air, displaying the words “I love you” in different languages. With this, BTS’s message of love was clear. More importantly, it reminded viewers that BTS has broken down barriers and touched audiences around the world.

‘Dionysus’ showed BTS’s power as performers

Going into the 2019 MMAs, fans wondered how BTS could possibly top their performance from last year’s awards show. The final song of BTS’s MMA 2019 stage put aside any wondering. The group ended their iconic set with “Dionysus” from their 2019 EP, Map of the Soul: Persona.

Before “Dionysus” began, each member of BTS performed a solo dance break to a past BTS song. V danced to “No More Dream” and Jin appeared on a horse figurine before dancing to “Danger.” Jimin appeared angelic as he danced to “I NEED U,” and then the stage transformed into “Fire” for Suga to embrace his trademark imagery from BTS’s HYYH era.

Jungkook shocked everyone as he performed in a pool of water to “Save Me,” and J-Hope showed off his dance skills to “Fake Love.” RM ended the individual dance breaks with “Dionysus,” boldly walking onstage to pick up his thyrsus. 

BTS proceeded to perform “Dionysus” surrounded by Greek imagery, back-up dancers of different races, and harpists. Through rapid-fire choreography, BTS conveyed a confidence and urgency. Before the final verse, the group performed a dance break to “Dionysus” remixed with their 2013 song “N.O,” displaying their remarkable talent even more.

BTS is on a level no one can reach

“Dionysus” proved to be the perfect song to cap off BTS’s set. With the performance, BTS were bold and powerful. They were a group at the top of their game, on a level no one else can reach. With the incorporation of “Boy in Luv” and the individual dance breaks, BTS revisited each era that brought them to this point.

BTS finished the 2019 MMAs with a clean sweep, winning eight awards with four of those being daesangs, or grand prizes. The group won Record of the Year, Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. In 2013, BTS won Rookie of the Year at the MMAs.

BTS’s EP Map of the Soul: Persona has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and BTS became the first artists in 2019 to achieve this. When BTS released the EP in April 2019, it reached the No.1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. BTS achieved these accomplishments without packaging Map of the Soul: Persona as a bundle, something many western artists were not able to do.

BTS’s MMA performance and wins showed what a shame it is the Grammy Awards failed to recognize the group this year. Whether it was because of cultural ignorance or simply intimidation, BTS was not nominated despite being able to outsell and outperform western artists.

At the MMAs, BTS was properly recognized for their achievements. The awards show put an emphasis on artists and their performances. In doing so, BTS proved their artistry and talent is something that cannot be replicated or reached. They are on another level, and it’s a level some western award shows cannot see.