Cover There are 10 of BTS’ biggest moments this 2021 (Photo: @bts_bighit/Twitter)

From winning Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards to their speech at the United Nations General Assembly, 2021 is undeniably BTS’ year

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you might have heard of BTS. You know, the world’s biggest music group today. BTS’ meteoric rise is for the books: a seven-member group from a small entertainment company in South Korea—once under the verge of bankruptcy and now a billion-dollar company—has grown to a successful, record-breaking and inspiring artists today.

BTS has beaten the odds and has inspired an entire generation through their music whether it’s self-love, mental health, racism, breaking barriers or standing up for yourself.

Every year, we continue to say that it’s BTS’ year but the next year happens and the group continues to achieve even greater things, all while remaining humble and never losing sight of their genuine love for music, for each other and for their fans.

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of the many moments in 2021 that makes it BTS’ year, whether it’s their historic win at the American Music Awards, their speech at the United Nations or simply just opening their own Instagram accounts for their fans.

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1. One-of-a-kind United Nations speech and performance

BTS loves to surprise us, even though we’re hardly surprised by anything they do except to constantly be amazed. Eyes were on the septet when they took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly to speak about sustainability, promoting vaccination and the importance of the younger generation on making a difference regarding world issues.

In an unprecedented step by the United Nations, BTS’s speech was watched by over six million fans online and marked the group’s first-ever activity as South Korea’s Special Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture. While some may raise eyebrows as to what a pop group is doing at the United Nations, it’s also not an unwelcomed presence given that BTS has given a speech in 2018 at the General Assembly and virtually in 2020. The group has been speaking up on issues that they care about from loving yourself, mental health and racism and have been running the Love Yourself campaign with UNICEF.

As if that wasn’t enough, the pop superstars also graced the halls of the United Nations and performed their hit song, Permission to Dance—the first time that such a performance ever took place in the United Nations headquarters in New York.

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2. Sweeping 9 awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards

Speaking of unsurprising moves by the group, sweeping trophies at an award show is something they’ve been doing for years. At the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA)—one of the biggest music awards shows in South Korea—BTS took home nine awards in total including all four Daesangs (grand prize) for the third year in a row.

This makes them the most awarded artist in MAMA history as well as the biggest winner of the 2021 edition. Even outside of MAMA, the group remains the most decorated artist with 63 local Daesangs and 427 total awards (as of date of writing) both locally and internationally. BTS scooped Song of the Year for Butter, Album of the Year for BE, Worldwide Icon of the Year (the first and only winner since the award was introduced in 2018) and extended their streak as Artist of the Year since 2016.

Don’t miss: BTS Wins Big at Mnet Asian Awards 2021—With 9 Awards Including All 4 Grand Prizes

3. Bringing home Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards

If BTS is heavily awarded back home in South Korea, they’re also raking in just as many awards overseas—after all, it’s not an exaggeration for the world’s biggest group today. Because making history is second nature to BTS, they have (unsurprisingly) done it again.

The pop juggernauts became the first Korean and Asian act to bring home the coveted Artist of the Year award at the American Music Awards, one of the major music award shows in the US. The AMAs have finally acknowledged (as they should) BTS in the top category after ignoring them for years and they’ve managed to bring it home in the first year of being nominated.

In addition to the Artist of the Year award, BTS also nabbed the Favourite Duo or Group (Pop) award for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, their chart-topping smash hit, Butter also took home the Favourite Pop Song award. What makes the win even sweeter is that BTS made their US television debut when they performed their song, DNA in 2017 and four years later, they’re the music award show’s biggest winner.

Additionally, BTS also achieved an all-kill win at the Billboard Music Awards—the first South Korean act to bring home four awards in one night. Getting awards on top of awards is what they do.

Don’t miss: BTS Make History as First Asian Act to Win Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards 2021

4. Two-time Grammy-nominated artists

BTS earned their second Grammy nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their smash hit, Butter. This makes them the only South Korean act to ever be nominated twice as they were nominated last year—the first for any South Korean group—for their first English song, Dynamite.

But as with previous years, BTS remains snubbed in major categories. Butter spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart—again, the first of any Asian act—but the group didn’t get any nods for Record of the Year. Though they didn’t submit them for nomination, it’s also good to note that their song, Permission to Dance and collaboration with Coldplay, My Universe also peaked at number one on the charts.

But regardless of whether the pop superstars win a Grammy or not, one thing is clear: they’re already winners for continuously being a source of inspiration, bringing people together through their music and breaking barriers that no award can ever measure.

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5. Four day concert in Los Angeles

BTS’ first live concert since the pandemic, Permission to Dance on Stage in Los Angeles, has achieved the biggest single venue engagement by any act in almost a decade. The group has been selling out stadiums and concerts for their tours but this one is highly anticipated given that the group hasn’t performed in front of their fans for two years.

The four-day concert at So-Fi Stadium sold 214,000 tickets and grossed US$33.3 million. There hasn’t been a single venue box office total at this scale since Bruce Springteen’s 10-day show in Giants Stadium New Jersey in 2003.

If that says anything, it’s that we need bigger stadiums to hold BTS concerts in.

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6. ‘Butter’, ‘Permission to Dance’ and ‘My Universe’ release

Give it to BTS for not releasing an album in 2021 but three singles, all of which peaked at the top of charts and also broke records along the way. After the success of their first English song, Dynamite last year, BTS followed it up with Butter which became the most-watched music video in 24 hours on YouTube. After that, they worked with Ed Sheeran to release Permission to Dance which was praised for bringing positivity and being inclusive amidst these trying times.

BTS also collaborated with Coldplay to release My Universe. Frontman Chris Martin travelled all the way to South Korea to record the song and since the two groups have nothing but praises for each other. They also released a new version of Butter featuring Megan Thee Stallion, a remix by rapper Suga and a holiday remix.

Don’t miss: BTS’ ‘Butter’ Outsells 99 of the Bestselling Albums in South Korea Combined

7. Louis Vuitton ambassadors

There’s been a lot of hubbub on which lucky fashion house will be able to get BTS as ambassadors. As much as they are pop superstars, they’ve also become fashion icons in their own right, constantly spotting various luxe brands from Dior, Gucci, YSL, Prada, Chanel and Prada.

French fashion house, Louis Vuitton emerged as the lucky one. Following BTS’s appearance at the Grammys earlier this year sporting Louis Vuitton suits and their attendance at the unveiling of the late Virgil Abloh’s fall/winter 2021 collection, perhaps the ambassadorship has been teased all along.

For the group’s first appearance as house ambassadors, the pop icons graced the “stage” at Buncheon Art Bunker B39 in Seoul to present Louis Vuitton’s fall/winter 2021 spin-off collection. BTS each wore individual looks and walked around the art and culture space.

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8. Opening their Instagram accounts

Being the biggest group in the world, you’d expect BTS to have it all. While the group does have an Instagram account, it’s managed by their agency. They own a Twitter account but they use it as a group because one of their mottos has always been to things as a group. So imagine the joy of their fans when BTS finally started their own individual Instagram accounts.

That’s not to say that their motto has changed—after all, every member is only following each other—but more so to have a space where they can express themselves individually while remaining as a group. And we already see that. Main dancer J-hope went for a Polaroid-style feed, leader RM is posting the Namjooning life and vocalist Jin is showing all the good food he’s made.

If you need to measure how many were excited about BTS opening Instagram accounts, just look at the records they’ve broken so much so that the official Guinness World Records account had to make a post about it.

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9. Guinness World Records Hall of Fame

Speaking of Guinness World Records, we sound like a broken record but BTS has been stacking up record after record. The pop group has officially entered the Guinness World Records 2022 Hall of Fame after collecting an astonishing 23 Guinness World Records (there might be more since that announcement).

Their song Butter alone currently holds five records including most viewers for a premiere of a music video in YouTube (which they also previously held) and the most streamed track on Spotify in the first 24 hours of its release. Other records include the most tickets sold for a live-streamed concert, the most streamed music group on Spotify.

Their album Map of the Soul: 7 is the best-selling album in South Korea, overtaking their previous album, Map of the Soul: Persona. At this point, it’s just BTS vs BTS, right?

Don’t miss: BTS Officially Enters Guinness World Records 2022 Hall of Fame

10. The BTS meal

Fans of BTS and McDonald’s had the time of their life this year when the mega-group and fast-food chain joined forces to launch an exclusive BTS meal. Some may say that it’s just chicken nuggets. Yes, it’s just chicken nuggets with two new sauces but what makes the meal extra special is the sense of comfort that it gave their millions of fans all over the world especially during the pandemic.

BTS has been spotted eating McDonald’s when they’re on break, on tour or during filming. Sope (Suga and J-hope) both own McDonald’s-themed merch and who can forget V ordering McFlurry during BTS’ Bon Voyage in New Zealand?

BTS specifically chose nuggets instead of burgers for this collaboration knowing that they have fans in other places that cannot eat certain types of meat.

The BTS meal consists of nine-piece chicken nuggets, fries, a drink and exclusive Korean-style sauces: sweet chilli and cajun dipping sauces, inspired by popular recipes from McDonald’s in South Korea. Selected regions have the meal offered with a special packaging featuring the band's logo and the signature purple colour as well.

Where goes BTS go from here? We might not know exactly but one thing we do know is that they’ll only keep going up and up until they hit that soft landing. And the world will hold their breaths and continue to watch in awe.

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