K-Pop's MAMA Awards to be held in U.S. soon

Major K-pop awards show to take place in America. (Image via Twitter/@MnetMAMA)
Major K-pop awards show to take place in America. (Image via Twitter/@MnetMAMA)

The World’s No.1 K-Pop awards show, MAMA (formerly known as Mnet Asian Music Awards) will soon be making its debut in the United States.

The announcement was made by CJ E&M, the makers of the show, at the annual MAMA press conference held on November 16, 2022. Kim Hyun-soo, head of CJ ENM's music content division, stated:

"We are planning and preparing to hold an event offline in the U.S. within three years.”

The 2022 ceremony will take place at the Kyocera Dome Osaka in Japan. The awards ceremony has previously held in a number of Asian countries, including Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau.

MAMA to be hosted in the States in three years, confirm makers

[#2022MAMA ] MAMA AWARDS Pop-up #MAMAWORLD📍일시: 22.11.18-11.24 (11:00-22:00)📍장소: 성수 커먼그라운드#MAMAAWARDS 를 즐기는 새로운 방법!초대형 8M #MAMA트로피 부터🏆시상식 현장을 옮겨놓은 #MAMA레드카펫레전드 무대가 담긴 #MAMA스테이지 까지! #2022MAMAAWARDS

MAMA's U.S. debut comes amid the rising appeal of K-Pop and other Korean artists on the world stage. According to CJ E&M the idols' popularity is evident from the large number of U.S. voters every year.

The Korean entertainment company director-general Kim Hyun-soo said that the U.S. is among the top five countries of voters on its platform. He added:

"There are a lot of fans from all over the world voting for this year's WORLDWIDE FANS' CHOICE category, and so many people are voting in the U.S. that the U.S. region is at the TOP 5."

He believes that the flagship Korean awards show is already global, making it the right time to venture into the U.S., the largest music market in the world. He further stated:

"I think it's reckless to divide the online region and offline region. I believe that MAMA is already an award ceremony that allows fans from all over the world to interact and be together."
[#2022MAMA | FANSTIVAL]2022MAMA AWARDS를 기다리는 최고의 방법!나의 취향을 골라 #2022MAMA ! 해시태그와 함께 공유하세요! 그리고 같은 취향을 가진 팬들을 찾아볼까요?👀📍More Info l #MAMAAWARDS #2022MAMAAWARDS

To give the show a more global character, its name was changed to just the acronym in 2022. The theme for this year's ceremony, "K-POP World Citizenship" also highlights how K-pop has created a global community for fans from all over the world to come together and celebrate music.

Mixed reactions from global and Korean fans

The decision to conduct MAMA in the US was widely praised by global K-Pop fans. The chance to get to see their favorite idols together was surprising to many, who were unsure about how to react to the news. Others were glad they wouldn't have to stay up at odd hours of the night to watch the show live.

Here are some reactions from Twitter:

and when i get to go to mama usa…
HOLD UP!!!!!!! THE MAMAS IN THE U.S.?????????…
so i don’t have to wake up at 5 am anymore…

Meanwhile, the majority of fans strongly disapproved of the move. Calling it "ridiculous," they said not everything needs to have "western validation".

@allkpop This right here is modern day K-pop in a nutshell. Selling out to the West and kissing America's feet pathetically begging for validation. Even the music is starting to become Westernized repetitive cr#p now.
Lol.... can the US pull off the scale of MAMA's stages??? Though they're probably not half as lucrative, they're more grand than the Super Bowl Halftime Shows.…

Many fans also pointed out that the US debut perfectly coincided with BTS' return from the military. Consequently, ARMYs hoped that there would be a surprise comeback stage prepared for the 7-member band in 2025.

mama waiting for BTS to come back. the world truly does revolve around them.…
@Kpop_Herald @MnetMAMA @BTS_twt In 3 yrs it will be 2025, the yr #BTS all return from military. Coincidence?!🤔Would be great to have MAMA in US in 2025 IF they have BTS perform. That way US audiences will finally see what BTS can really do live during award shows when given ample time to perform! @BTS_twt

CJ ENM has previously held its signature K-pop festival, KCON, across multiple countries and cities around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Mexico City, Bangkok, Sydney and beyond.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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