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(LEAD) BTS scoops up second Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist

All Headlines 16:47 May 21, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 10th para)

SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- K-pop sensation BTS won a Billboard Music Award in the Top Social Artist category on Monday, dominating the fan-voted category for the second year in a row.

The South Korean septet defeated four competing singers including Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande to grab the award at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday (U.S. time).

As their name was called, the seven-member act took the stage with bright smiles amid roaring cheers from fans.

"Thank you so much for this precious award for two years in a row," team leader RM said on stage.

"This time, we had a chance to think about what social really means for us. And some of our fans told us that our music really changed their lives," he said.

"Now we realized that our words truly carried weight thanks to you guys."

"This award really is for you," member Jimin said, referring to their fans. "I truly thank you and love you."

In May 2017, BTS won its first Top Social Artist Award at the BBMAs, becoming the first Korean group to win a Billboard Music Award.

The Top Social Artist is one of two fan-voted categories at the annual award event. With their 2017 victory, BTS broke Justin Bieber's six-year winning streak dating back to 2011.

This photo provided by Big Hit Entertainment shows Korean boy band BTS. (Yonhap)

Ear-splitting cheers pounded the arena as the 2018 awards host Kelly Clarkson called BTS to the stage for their first live performance of "Fake Love," the lead track of their latest album. Clarkson introduced them as "the biggest boy band in the world."

Shrouded in white smoke and blue-violet lights, the boy band packed the stage with their military-precise, dynamic moves as their rapt fans' roared and chanted.

Fans kept chanting "BTS" even after they left the stage.

The show was broadcast live by South Korean cable music channel Mnet.

"Most BBMA performances have heavy stage sets or (backing) dancers. The BTS members were the only ones that had a simple stage, with the cameras giving full shots of their group dance," said K-pop pundit Kang Myung-suk in the local live broadcast. "I think this is what Billboard takes to be BTS' allure -- performances exclusively composed of physical movement."

He also called the group a "K-pop boundary breaker," referring to iTunes's introductory memo for BTS.

Indeed, BTS' sensational hits are rewriting the history of K-pop.

The main track from BTS' latest LP, "Love Yourself: Tear," instantly dominated major music charts at home and abroad after its release on Friday.

Within one hour of the album's release, its lead track, "Fake Love," claimed the top spots on six local music streaming charts. It also shot to the top spot on iTunes' Top Albums charts in 65 countries, including the United States, Australia and Brazil.

This photo released by the Associated Press shows BTS staging their first live performance of their new song, "Fake Love," during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 20, 2018 (U.S. time). (Yonhap)


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