BTS wins big at 2020 Mnet Asian Music Awards

Tamar Herman, South China Morning Post

Posted at Dec 07 2020 08:27 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2020 09:14 PM

The Mnet Asian Music Awards, K-pop’s biggest annual awards night, was broadcast live from South Korea on Sunday night. BTS won big, as expected, Twice surprised with a performance of new song and veteran singer BoA celebrated her 20th anniversary with younger artists covering her hits.

Here are five things you need to know about the 2020 Mama awards.

Twice debut new song

South Korean award shows usually emphasise remixes and it’s rare for premieres to take place. But during Sunday night’s ceremony, Twice surprised with the debut performance of their previously unreleased song Cry For Me after performing their other recent singles.

Twice’s fans, known as Once, were very excited, and Twice trended across many global social media platforms and the news topped various portal sites in South Korea.

The song was co-written by Ryan Tedder of One Republic, who posted on social media that it would be Twice’s next single on social media, but the release date is not known yet.

Collaborations galore

Whether it was girl groups covering BoA’s songs, including Aespa’s Winter making a surprise appearance, or Jessi and Hwasa covering Rain’s viral hit Gang, Monsta X and rookie label mates Cravity teaming up, Tomorrow X Together covering BTS’ Dynamite, or Stray Kids, The Boyz and Ateez going at it in regal, warlike performances, collaboration stages made the six-hour 2020 Mama awards worthwhile.

BTS the big winners

BTS took home all of the grand prizes across four categories, known as daesang awards in Korea, being recognised in the song, artist, album, and worldwide icon of the year categories for their various achievements of the historic 2020.

Collectively, BTS received eight awards, while Suga, who is recovering from a shoulder injury but made an appearance over the phone to give an acceptance speech and as a hologram during a performance, also won one in collaboration with IU for their song Eight.

After winning the artist of the year award, J-Hope said: “Big thanks to Army, who is watching at this time. I am truly grateful that we are able to come here each year and perform for you. A lot of things have changed this year, but my gratitude remains constant.

“Every step BTS takes, every growth along the way – we hear about how great our fans are. I want to stress that our Army is the reason we are able to make this acceptance speech and perform on stage. I don’t say this enough, but I would like to take a moment to thank the rest of the band. Because of you, I was not lonely or sad – we all did good this year, I love you! Especially Suga, get well soon – wish you were here. This award is not complete without you.”

Big three are back

All of South Korea’s historic big three K-pop companies were in attendance for the first time since 2015. JYP, SM, and YG Entertainment were all represented after years of industry fallouts resulting in the latter pair not sending artists to the Mnet Awards for several years.

YG Entertainment artists haven’t been in attendance at Mama shows since 2016, even though they had been front-and-centre since Mama began in 2009, but this year the company’s rookie group Treasure had their own set and won several awards.

The event also saw the return of several SM Entertainment acts after last year only saw WayV appear, and no SM artists perform in 2018. This year, however, saw NCT and its various teams, including WayV, as well as BoA, who performed second to last and had numerous songs covered by other acts in celebration of her 20th anniversary as an artist, in attendance.

Unwanted guest

The coronavirus took centre stage at 2020 Mama. Not only were there frequent mentions of the virus throughout the night, but many award recipients gave their acceptance speeches while wearing masks, or briefly removing them to speak. Additionally, in between each performance and award announcement, a woman in a silver bodysuit was seen cleaning microphones with disinfectant.

All the 2020 Mama winners

  • Artist of the year BTS
  • Song of the year BTS, Dynamite
  • Album of the year BTS, Map Of The Soul: 7
  • Worldwide icon of the year BTS
  • Best new male artist Treasure
  • Best new female artist Weeekly
  • Best male group BTS
  • Best female group Blackpink
  • Best male artist Baekhyun
  • Best female artist IU
  • Best dance performance: solo Hwasa, Maria
  • Best dance performance: male group BTS, Dynamite
  • Best dance performance: female group Blackpink
  • Best vocal performance: solo IU
  • Best vocal performance: group Mamamoo, Hip
  • Best band performance Day6, Zombie
  • Best hip hop & urban music Zico
  • Best collaboration IU featuring Suga, Eight
  • Best OST (soundtrack) IU
  • Best music video BTS
  • Favourite male group NCT
  • Favourite female group Iz*One
  • Favourite dance performance group Tomorrow X Together
  • Favourite dance performance male solo Taemin
  • Favourite dance performance female solo Jessi, Nunu Nana
  • Inspired achievement BoA
  • The most popular artist Twice
  • Notable achievement artist Seventeen
  • Global favourite performer Seventeen
  • Discovery of the year Ateez
  • Best stage Monsta X
  • Best of next Cravity
  • Best new Asian artist Jo1
  • Favourite Asian artist WayV
  • Worldwide fans’ choice top 10 (in order of announcement) NCT, Treasure, Tomorrow X Together, Got7, Ateez, Seventeen, Mamamoo, Twice, BTS, Blackpink
  • Best Asian artist: Japan Official Hige Dandism
  • Best Asian artist: Mandarin G.E.M.
  • Best Asian artist: Thailand Ink Waruntorn
  • Best Asian artist: Indonesia Rizky Febian
  • Best Asian artist: Vietnam Binz
  • Best new Asian artist: Japan Fujii Kaze
  • Best new Asian artist: Mandarin Chih Siou
  • Best new Asian artist: Thailand Milli
  • Best new Asian artist: Indonesia Tiara Andini
  • Best new Asian artist: Vietnam Amee
  • Best executive producer of the year Bang Si-hyuk
  • Best producer of the year Pdogg
  • Best composer of the year Yovie Widianto
  • Best engineer of the year Gu Jong-pil, Kwon Nam-woo
  • Best video director of the year Lumpens
  • Best choreographer of the year Quang Dang
  • Best art director of the year Mu:E