'BTS Paved The Way': BTS Fans Trend Support on Twitter After K-pop Group's Two Billboard 'Top Group' Nominations, Including 'Top Group'

Globally-renowned K-pop Group BTS was nominated for two Billboard Music Awards, including Top Group on Thursday morning. Fans were proud of how the band is leading the way for K-pop artists alike. The BTS Army spoke loudly on Twitter Thursday morning and claimed the group is "paving the way." This phrase quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, along with the hashtag #BTSBillboardTopGroup, which was the number one trend worldwide.

The trending threads were filled with fans of all kinds, from those who have been supporting BTS since their start—a few said it's incredible to see their favorite group receive such a high honor after so much time—as well as admirers who are passionately gearing up for BTS's next album, Map of the Soul: Persona, which will be released on April 12.

Along with Top Group, BTS was nominated for Top Social Artist. This comes as no surprise, as BTS has held the title for the award since 2017, when they took the crown from Justin Bieber who had won the award each year from 2011 to 2016. It's also no surprise because BTS was the most tweeted about celebrity group on Twitter in 2018, according to a list published by Vogue.

The most intriguing part of Thursday's celebration, however, may be the phrase "BTS Paved The Way," which started trending at number 13 on Twitter worldwide, and quickly shot to number 3 at the hand of fans who used the phrase as many times as possible in one tweet. So what, exactly did BTS pave the way for? And how?

BTS fan Olivia Valencia, who lives in the Philippines and uses Twitter username @glyjinstanbts, told Newsweek the phrase comes from a fan-wide understanding that BTS's break into global fandom has and will pave the way for other K-pop groups who crave western exposure.

According to Valencia, when BTS was first nominated for Top Group in 2017, other K-pop fandoms attacked the BTS Army and claimed they were searching for Western validation. In a series of screenshots Valencia preserved from conversations with competing group fans, many claimed the Billboard Top Social Artist award was "meaningless" and claimed their groups did not need a nomination to be considered "legendary." Since then, Valencia claimed the fandoms who once tore BTS down now mimic the successful BTS fan behavior online that skyrocketed BTS to global attention. They do this by tagging their favorite groups in posts to hit Twitter algorithms and trying to get key phrases trending.

It's the exact formula BTS fans execute so well. The second BTS does something notable—which happens very often—as a collective, the Army is able to trend a topic, phrase or even their own hashtag #BTSArmy or #ArmyArmyArmy in celebration.

Valencia explained how BTS has paved the way with originality in a K-pop community saturated with acts who assume they must be perfect and adhere to strict guidelines. "BTS really paved the way," she explained. "Like seriously, K-pop is nothing more than an industry that produces very manufactured groups. I feel really happy that there's a K-pop group like BTS that writes and produces their own music, and speaks of real life struggles. something I can relate to."

Though BTS is paving the way in K-pop, Valencia explained their success is relevant to any artists aiming to break into the American market. She referenced prior articles in Newsweek, as well as BTS articles in publications like Forbes and Teen Vogue. "As someone from Asia, we would be extremely awed if an Asian artist would be featured in international or global papers."

Though fans exclaim BTS have paved the way with their talent and global reach, it's undeniable the fandom has played a role in the group's mega-exposure over time, as the community shows the reach of a single group when a world-wide collective stands proudly together.