Highlights from MAMA 2023 plus more breaking K-pop news

In the K-pop world


By Marissa Chin

Highlights from MAMA 2023 plus more breaking K-pop news

K-pop biggest awards night is here! Read ahead for updates on what went down at MAMA 2023, YG Entertainment’s Babymonster debut and more.


Highlights from Mnet Asian Music Awards 2023 

Over the past two days, the iconic Tokyo Dome was lit ablaze with explosive performances from K-pop’s biggest acts in celebration of MAMA 2023. The two-night awards show saw triumphant wins from Seventeen who was the biggest winner with five trophies, including their first-ever grand prize for Album of the Year and Best Male Group. Other big wins were NewJeans who took home two grand prizes: Artist of the Year and Song of the Year although they were not present.

Despite BTS being on hiatus, the group was still honoured the Worldwide Icon of the Year for the sixth consecutive year, showing their impact in the industry. Jungkook greeted ARMYs via a pre-recorded video to thank the fans for the award. The youngest member himself won Best Collaboration and Best Dance Performance Male Solo for Seven. Meanwhile, fellow member Jimin took home Best Male Artist and Suga was awarded Best Rap & Hip Hop for the song People Part 2 featuring IU.


Babymonster tells you to Batter Up 

Alas, YG Entertainment’s newest girl group after Blackpink is finally here! On 27 November at midnight, their first digital single Batter Up was released. Like Babymonster’s predecessors, the group’s debut features a powerful girl power anthem with trap-heavy beats, hip-hop influences and a catchy hook. Babymonster is made up of six members (it was announced that Ahyeon would be taking a temporary hiatus) of various nationalities: Ruka and Asa (Japanese), Pharita and Chiquita (Thai) and Rami and Rora (South Korean). 


BTS Jungkook and Justin Timberlake drop 3D remix

Following the massive success of 3D, BTS’ Jungkook is teaming up with yet another popular Hollywood star in a surprise collaboration! On 24 November, it was announced that Justin Timberlake would release a remix of the hit song on the same day. A callback to his NYSNC days, the remix “enhances the 2000s vibe of the old school sound of the original version, infusing it with a retro charm”, as per the statement. Presently, there are mixed reviews from fans due to Timberlake’s current scandal due to revelations released in Britney Spears’ memoir.


ARMYs will see RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook enlisting in the military soon

Speaking of BTS, Big Hit Music also released a statement on 22 November officially announcing that the remaining military enlistments of RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook have been initiated. “The artists are preparing to fulfil their military service duties…We ask you for your continued love and support for RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook until they complete their military service and safely return.” As of now, Suga is the latest member to join the military in early September. BTS plans to reunite as a group in 2025. We wish them all the best!


Blackpink show up in their royal best at Buckingham Palace 

We all know Blackpink is K-pop royalty but on 21 November, the quartet shocked fans by appearing in Buckingham Palace alongside actual royals! The members were guests of King Charles and Queen Camilla at a state dinner in honour of the South Korean president and First Lady’s visit to the UK. During the royal banquet, King Charles mentioned the Blackpink members in his speech to commemorate their work in advocating for sustainability in a ballroom of more than 170 guests.

“I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose, better known collectively as Blackpink, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience,” the monarch said. “I can only admire how they can prioritise these vital issues, as well as being global superstars.” Jisoo, Lisa, Jennie and Rosé were given awards and honorary MBEs for their roles as advocates at the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow.


K-pop shines at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards 

During the 2023 Billboard Music Awards on 20 November, various K-pop artists were awarded for their groundbreaking achievements. NewJeans took home the Top Global K-pop Artist prize while Stray Kids won Top K-pop Album for 5-Star.

Further, Jungkook received the Top Global K-pop Song for Seven and Blackpink was awarded for Top K-pop Touring Artist. Watch NewJeans and Stray Kids perform at their very first Billboard Music Awards!


Riize’s Seunghan to go on an indefinite hiatus due to controversies

The newest boy group from SM Entertainment, Riize, has faced several controversies since their debut in September. On 22 November, the label announced that member Seunghan would be on an indefinite hiatus after several leaks were released online from his private social media accounts.

“Seunghan is feeling severely apologetic and is reflecting on himself for causing disappointment and commotion to not only the team and members but also to fans due to issues regarding his personal life that are being leaked and circulated recently via social media and online communities.

Seunghan feels mental pressure and responsibility regarding this, so after deep contemplation, he relayed his intention to halt activities for the team.”

At the same time, SM Entertainment also acknowledges the invasion of privacy and the spreading of misinformation which has caused a defamation of character on their artist. As a result, the entertainment company has also stated that they are currently collecting evidence and will be pursuing legal action towards the individuals leaking images and photos of Seunghan with malicious intent.


Enhyphen wants a taste of the Sweet Venom 

Enhyphen returns with their fifth EP Orange Blood on 17 November alongside its title track, Sweet Venom. Moving away from their usual dark sound, the song features a funky and groovy rhythm that still plays on Enhyphen’s vampire concept. The EP contains five songs, including an English version of Sweet Venom. Listen to Orange Blood below!


Aespa brings all the Drama in their latest comeback

On 10 November, SM Entertainment’s Aespa made their highly anticipated comeback with their fourth EP titled Drama. Known for their cyberpunk aesthetic and futuristic visuals, the title track of the same name delivers an impactful chorus and memorable choreography. The EP offers six tracks in total, ranging from Halloween-core melodies to refreshing summer sounds. Stream Drama below!


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