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On April 13th, K-pop band BTS was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. The band’s appearance in this coveted slot has already proven a pop culture milestone. Here are just six of the many reasons why:
BTS was Saturday Night Live’s first-ever K-pop performer
Saturday Night Live has hosted musical guests for decades now, but BTS was the first-ever K-pop band to perform on the show. Some have said that the band’s appearance on the show thus marks the full, thorough infusion of K-pop and the culture associated with it into the American mainstream, in a way similar to when Beatlemania pervaded the 1960s.
The live audience reacted
Most Saturday Night Live performers play their songs to an observant but restrained audience. BTS, on the other hand, got the crowd screaming and applauding along in real time. Even long-standing American stars such as Kanye West have played SNL sets for which the show’s live audience waited until the end to react, but BTS fever is so high among American viewers that the crowd just couldn’t hold back.
BTS brought unusual fashions to the forefront
Fashion publications were quick to comment on the outfits BTS members wore during its Saturday Night Live performance. Whereas many musicians are content to pull unique looks out of relatively ordinary clothes, BTS’ seven members instead expressed no qualms about donning high-class, high-price Louis Vuitton pieces and top-of-the-line Nike shoes. Given the meteoric rise that BTS has experienced in the past year or so, last night’s performance could ignite gradual propulsion of certain high-end garments into everyday culture the way hip-hop has driven the expensive brand Supreme to dominate American streetwear.
BTS thrust a long-overlooked songwriter into the SNL spotlight
On stage with BTS during its Saturday Night Live performance was Melanie Fontana. A songwriter who has worked with Britney Spears and Justin Bieber, Fontana wrote “Boy With Luv,” one of the two singles BTS released ahead of its April 12th album Map of the Soul: Persona. She joined the band on stage to perform “Boy With Luv,” which set YouTube records upon its release.
BTS’ performance set even more YouTube records
BTS might just be the kings of YouTube at this point. In a mere 48 hours, the videos for both its performances — “Boy With Luv” and “Mic Drop” — had garnered, respectively, 4.2 million and 2.4 million views. By comparison, Tame Impala’s two performances from last month have been viewed 428,000 and 176,000 times, and Ariana Grande’s 2016 performance of “Dangerous Woman” has been viewed 2.3 million times.
Despite BTS’ prominence, SNL suffered record-low ratings
Suffice it to say, even the immense popularity of arguably the most popular band making music right now couldn’t save SNL from its ongoing ratings slump. Although social media feeds were alight with rabid, real-time fan commentary on BTS’ Saturday Night Live performance, the show’s April 13th episode suffered some of the show’s lowest ratings in history. The episode matched a previously-set demo season low in people-meter markers, even though such low numbers are not uncommon for SNL to experience during this time of year.
What did you think of BTS’ Saturday Night Live performances? Let us know in the comments!