Billboard has authoritatively added BTS to their decades-long list of “The Greatest Pop Star of Every Year”!
This week, Billboard named BTS “The Greatest Pop Star of 2020,” proceeding with its tradition of assigning a pop star that shone particularly brilliant for every year.
BTS joins a list of legendary singers that goes right back to 1981 and incorporates artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Nirvana, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Eminem, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adele, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Drake, and Ariana Grande.
For its most recent expansion to the list, Billboard featured BTS’s numerous historic achievements in 2020, including becoming the first Korean artist at any point to score a Grammy Awards nomination (for their smash hit “Dynamite,” which was the first song by an all-Korean group to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100). BTS likewise made history on the Billboard charts when their most recent title track “Life Goes On” appeared at No. 1 on the Hot 100, making it the first track sung essentially in Korean at any point to top the chart.
Mia Nazareno stated, “It’s impossible to ignore that BTS is the first Asian artist to appear on this list alongside undeniable, no-questions-asked English-language superstars. While non-English works of art are often sidelined into ‘foreign’ categories, this level of recognition for a predominantly Korean-language band from Western media—the group was even named 2020 Entertainer of the Year by TIME—feels like a changing of the guard at the gates of American top 40.”
“With each milestone and new No. 1 in 2020, BTS made it harder for U.S. audiences to deny not only the group’s own supreme superstardom, but also K-pop’s much-deserved place in mainstream music,” she continued. “And now that we’re finally listening, it pains us to imagine all the potential pop classics we missed out on simply because of the language barrier between us.”