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

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."

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:

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

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.

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