Katherine’s K-pop Recap: November 29 – December 5, 2021

A summary of the news, current and upcoming comebacks, charts and music show wins, and more!
FYI: This week’s post is SUPER long because of a bunch of award shows and end-of-year lists. Sorry in advance for all the scrolling!

NOTE: Except in special cases, the news recapped in these posts will refer to K-pop only. K-dramas, variety shows, and other forms of entertainment will only be mentioned if there is an idol or idol group involved.

News to Note

  • COVID-19 related updates:
    • Monsta X has all tested negative for COVID-19 after one of their staff members tested positive. You can read a translation of Starship Entertainment’s statement about it here.
    • aespa members Karina, Winter, and NingNing tested negative for COVID-19 after showing cold symptoms at the airport upon the group’s return from the United States. Giselle was the sole member who didn’t have any symptoms and was able to leave the airport first, while the other three waited for their test results.
    • Kep1er, the girl group resulting from survival show Girls Planet 999, has delayed their debut after one of their staff tested positive for COVID-19. (All the members tested negative.) They were initially supposed to debut on December 14th, but are temporarily suspending all schedules and activities as a precaution – presumably, this means they won’t be performing at the MNET Asian Music Awards (MAMA) on December 11th. You can read a translation of Wake One Entertainment and Swing Entertainment’s joint statement about it here.
  • Updates related to awards shows and end-of-year music festivals:
    • Super Junior’s Eunhyuk and STAYC’s Sieun will host the Gaon Chart Music Awards early next year on January 27th.
    • Boom, SHINee’s Key, and ITZY’s Yuna will host the SBS Gayo Daejeon, which will take place on Christmas like it does every year.
    • Jang Sungkyu, Girls’ Generation’s Yoona, and 2PM’s Junho will host the MBC Gayo Daejejeon, which will take place on New Year’s Eve like it does every year.
    • AOA’s Seolhyun, ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, and SF9’s Rowoon will host the KBS Gayo Daechukje, which will take place on December 17th – a different date from previous years, when it’s traditionally happened between the SBS and MBC shows. (The hosting news came out last week, but I forgot to include it.) KBS has also announced the first part of the lineup: Red Velvet, Oh My Girl, The Boyz, Stray Kids, ITZY, TXT, Kang Daniel, ENHYPEN, aespa, and Lee Mujin.
    • BTS will not be performing at MAMA next week. This is because South Korea recently implemented a mandatory 10-day quarantine for people entering the country – since BTS just returned from their concerts in the United States, they will still be in quarantine at the time of the awards.
  • Girl group ELRIS has changed agencies from Hunus Entertainment to IOK Company. You can read more about the situation here.
  • After IST Entertainment shared an update about the situation concerning Apink member Chorong’s bullying allegations, the accuser released their own statement saying that the information was false. After that, Chorong’s legal representatives provided a counter statement refuting those claims. You can read translations of both statements and more about the situation here.
  • Starship Entertainment will be changing newly debuted group IVE’s official greeting after it showed similarities to EVERGLOW’s signature greeting gesture. You can read a translation of their statement here.

Asian Artist Awards Winners

You can see the full list of winners here. I’ve listed all of the K-pop related awards below. (Note that many of these awards were awarded for singing or acting, but I removed the “singer” distinction in the award title since I’m only focusing on K-pop.)

  • Song of the Year (Daesang): BTS, “Butter”
  • Album of the Year (Daesang): NCT 127, Sticker
  • Singer of the Year (Daesang): SEVENTEEN
  • Performance of the Year (Daesang): Stray Kids
  • Stage of the Year (Daesang): aespa
  • Best New Artist: ENHYPEN and aespa
  • AAA Best Musician: ASTRO, The Boyz, ITZY, Kang Daniel, Wonho
  • AAA Best Artist: BamBam (GOT7), Brave Girls, ENHYPEN
  • AAA Fabulous: SEVENTEEN
  • AAA Best Achievement: NU’EST
  • AAA Potential: AleXa, T1419
  • AAA New Wave: Weeekly, STAYC
  • AAA Icon: Woodz
  • AAA Hot Trend: Brave Girls, aespa
  • AAA Best Music Video: EVERGLOW
  • AAA Best Emotive: WJSN Chocome, Kwon Eunbi
  • AAA Best Producer: Woozi from SEVENTEEN
  • AAA Best Creator: Brave Brothers
  • AAA Asia Celebrity: BamBam (GOT7), The Boyz
  • AAA Best Choice: Pentagon, Momoland, Golden Child
  • RET Popularity Award: CL, EXO, TWICE, Im Young Woong
  • U+ Live Popularity Award: IU, BTS, BLACKPINK, Im Young Woong

Several idols also picked up awards for acting, including Girls’ Generation’s Yuri, U-KISS’s Lee Junyoung (Jun), NU’EST’s Minhyun, ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, and NCT’s Doyoung.

Melon Music Awards

You can see the full list of winners here. I’ve listed all of the K-pop (and K-pop adjacent) related awards below.

  • Song of the Year (Daesang): BTS, “Butter”
  • Album of the Year (Daesang): IU, Lilac
  • Artist of the Year (Daesang): IU
  • Record of the Year (Daesang): aespa (produced by Lee Soo Man)
  • Top 10 Artist (Bonsang): IU, BTS, Heize, Akdong Musician, ILLBOI, Im Young Woong, NCT Dream, ASH ISLAND, Lee Mujin, aespa
  • Best Solo: IU and Im Young Woong
  • Best Group: BTS and aespa
  • Best Performance: The Boyz
  • Best Songwriter: IU
  • Best Collaboration: Coldplay and BTS, “My Universe”
  • New Artist of the Year: Lee Mujin and aespa
  • Music Video of the Year: TXT (for “0X1=Lovesong (I Know I Love You)”)
  • Hot Trend: Brave Girls
  • Netizen’s Choice: BTS
  • Global Rising Artist: ENHYPEN
  • 1theK Original Contents: STAYC

This Week’s Debuts and Comebacks

(Please note that I won’t necessarily link every release that came out this week – just the ones that I’m aware of or popped up on my radar. The same is true of the “Coming Up Next Week” category.)

Kai (EXO), “Peaches” (11/30)

EVERGLOW, “Pirate” (12/1)

T1419, “Red Light Green Light” (12/2)

Stray Kids, “Christmas EveL”
(special holiday single, 11/29)

Chungha, “Killing Me” (special single, 11/29)

cignature, “Boyfriend” (11/30)

IVE, “Eleven” (*DEBUT*, 12/1)

ONF, “Goosebumps” (12/3)

Stray Kids, “Winter Falls”
(special holiday single, 11/30)

ATEEZ, “Turbulence” (pre-release single, 12/3)

Coming Up Next Week

Monday (12/6)Tuesday (12/7)Wednesday (12/8)Thursday (12/9)Friday (12/10)
Xdinary Heroes (*DEBUT*)Ravi (VIXX)Monsta X (English single)

*NCT is dropping their new album on December 14th, but they’ll be releasing the title track early on the 10th. (And they’ll also be performing it at MAMA for the first time.)

This Week’s Music Show Wins

The Show (SBS MTV)Monsta X, “Rush Hour” (4th win)
Show Champion (MBC)Monsta X, “Rush Hour” (5th win)
M! Countdown (MNET)No broadcast/winner announced
Music Bank (KBS)SF9, “Trauma” (1st win)
Music Core (MBC)IU, “Strawberry Moon” (6th win)
Inkigayo (SBS)aespa, “Savage” (8th win)

Album Sales, Streaming, and Charting

Gaon Chart

NOTE: Gaon‘s weekly charts reflect the previous week. To see a full breakdown of the chart, you can go here.

Album SalesSF9,
Monsta X,
Rush Hour
Jeong Dong Won, The Giving TreeTWICE,
Formula of Love: O+T=<3
Lee Seung Yoon, Even If Things Fall Apart
Overall Digital“Limousine,” Show Me the Money 10*“Merry-Go-Round,” Show Me the Money 10**“Meeting Is Easy, Parting Is Hard,” Show Me the Money 10***“BREATHE,” Show Me the Money 10****IU,
“Strawberry Moon”
Streaming“Limousine,” Show Me the Money 10“Merry-Go-Round,” Show Me the Money 10“Meeting Is Easy, Parting Is Hard,” Show Me the Money 10“BREATHE,” Show Me the Money 10IU,
“Strawberry Moon”
Downloads“Limousine,” Show Me the Money 10Lee Seung Yoon,
“Even If It Falls Apart”
Lee Seung Yoon,
“Words Befitting One Who Loves Someone”
Monsta X,
“Rush Hour”
Lee Seung Yoon, “Open Your Textbook”
SocialBTSLisaBLACKPINKIm Young Woong Kim Hojoong

*”Limousine” is by BE’O feat. Song Mino, and is produced by Gray.
**“Merry-Go-Round” is by sokodomo feat. Zion.T and Wonstein, and is produced by Slom.
***“Meeting Is Easy, Parting Is Hard” is by Basick feat. Leellamarz, and is produced by Toil.
****”BREATHE” is by Anandelight, Mudd the Student, BE’O, unofficialboyy, and Geegooin feat. Song Mino, and is produced by Gray.

The International Side of K-pop

  • K-pop on various Billboard charts this week:
    • TWICE’s Formula of Love: O+T=<3 ranked #16 on the Billboard 200 in its second week, making it their first album to stay in the Top 20 for two weeks. It also placed #1 on the World Album Sales chart for the second week in a row.
    • NCT 127’s Sticker ranked #84 on the Billboard 200 in its tenth week. They’re now the only K-pop artist to have a 2021 album chart for 10 consecutive weeks this year, and the second artist to have two different albums chart for 10 weeks (after BTS).
    • BTS and Coldplay’s “My Universe” placed #29 on the “Hot 100” in its ninth week.
  • BLACKPINK has set a record as the first artist to ever have 70 million subscribers on YouTube (out of all music artists, not just K-pop ones).
  • BTS had a super successful concert series in Los Angeles these past two weekends, becoming the first artist to sell out all their shows at SoFi Stadium since it opened last year. It also sold over 200,000 tickets, and made over $33 million, setting several records for concert sets at a single venue in the United States. (You can see all of the record breaking here.)
  • BTS’s 2018 “IDOL” is their eighth to be certified single in the UK.
  • BTS member J-Hope has become the first Korean solo artist to have 8 million subscribers on Spotify.
  • aespa will be the first K-pop artist to guest on The Nick Cannon Show, performing “Savage” on December 9th.
  • CL will be performing on The Kelly Clarkson Show on December 9th.
  • SEVENTEEN’s “Clap” is their second music video to reach 100 million views after “Don’t Wanna Cry.”

2021 Year End Music Lists

  • BTS placed #1 on Apple Music’s “Top Songs of 2021: Global” list with “Dynamite,” a song that was notably released in August 2020. “Butter,” their May 2021 single, ranked #21.
  • TXT was the only K-pop group (and artist) to appear on Rolling Stone‘s “The 50 Best Albums of 2021” – their repackage The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE ranked #46.
  • NCT 127 and aespa were the only two K-pop groups (and artists) to appear on The New York Times‘ “Best Albums of 2021” – NCT 127 with their third album Sticker, and aespa with their first mini-album Savage.

Spotify Wrapped 2021

I’ve listed the “Top 10 K-pop Artists of 2021 Globally” and the “Top 10 K-pop Tracks of 2021 Globally” below, but you can see the full lists (that go up to #30) here. Notably, the “Top 10 K-pop Tracks of 2021 Globally” are all songs by BTS, BLACKPINK, or BLACKPINK members. In fact, they dominate the full Top 30 list – BTS has 13 songs (including one by V), and BLACKPINK has ten (including ones by Rosé and Lisa). The highest ranking song that isn’t by either artist is TWICE’s “I Can’t Stop Me” at #13.
BTS is also the #3 “Most Streamed Artist Globally,” after Bad Bunny at #1 and Taylor Swift at #2.

Spotify Top 10 K-pop Artists of 2021 Globally

  1. BTS
  3. TWICE
  4. Stray Kids
  5. TXT
  6. IU
  8. ITZY
  9. EXO
  10. Red Velvet

Spotify Top 10 K-pop Tracks of 2021 Globally

  1. BTS, “Butter”
  2. BTS, “Dynamite”
  3. BTS, “Permission to Dance”
  4. BTS, “Life Goes On”
  5. BLACKPINK, “How You Like That”
  6. BTS feat. Halsey, “Boy With Luv”
  7. Rosé (BLACKPINK), “On the Ground”
  8. BTS, “Film Out”
  9. Lisa (BLACKPINK), “Money”
  10. BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez, “Ice Cream”

Billboard Year End Charts 2021

Five K-pop groups made it onto Billboard‘s year end charts for 2021: BTS, TWICE, NCT (and NCT 127), BLACKPINK, and TXT. There are too many charts to mention – especially for BTS – so I’ve put the highlights below (major charts, #1 rankings, so on and so forth). You can see a full summary of everything here.

  • BTS
    • Two songs on the Hot 100: “Butter” (#11) and “Dynamite” (#41)
    • Two albums on the Billboard 200: BE (#40) and Map of the Soul: 7 (#113)
    • #1 on Top Artists – Duo/Group
    • #1 on Hot 100 Artists – Duo/Group
    • #1 on Billboard 200 Artists – Duo/Group
    • #1 on Global Artists Excl. U.S.
    • BTS had four albums on the Album Sales chart, with BE ranking the highest at #3.
    • BE ranked #1 on the World Album Sales chart, with BTS having seven albums on the chart in total.
    • “Butter” ranked #1 on the Digital Song Sales chart, with BTS having seven songs on the chart in total.
    • BTS had five songs on the Global 200 chart, with “Dynamite” ranking the highest at #5.
    • “Dynamite” ranked #1 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart, with BTS having six songs on the chart in total.
    • Taste of Love ranked #82 on the Album Sales chart.
    • Taste of Love ranked #15 on the World Album Sales chart.
    • “I Can’t Stop Me” ranked #192 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart.
  • NCT
    • NCT’s Resonance Part 1 ranked #27 on the Album Sales chart, while NCT 127’s Sticker ranked #48.
    • NCT’s Resonance Part 1 ranked #7 on the World Album Sales chart, while NCT 127’s Sticker ranked #13.
    • The Album ranked #200 on the Billboard 200.
    • The Album ranked #30 on the Album Sales chart.
    • The Album ranked #3 on the World Album Sales chart.
    • “How You Like That” ranked #185 on the Global 200 chart.
    • “How You Like That” ranked #79 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart, while Lisa’s “Money” came in at #176.
  • TXT
    • The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE ranked #197 on the Billboard 200.
    • The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE ranked #23 on the Album Sales chart.
    • The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE ranked #5 on the World Album Sales chart.

Notable Variety Shows Featuring K-pop Idols

Weekly IdolKnowing BrothersAmazing Saturday
This WeekWeki MekiLee Seunggi and Kai (EXO)Lee Youngji and Jeon Somi
Next WeekIVENon-idol guestsNon-idol guests

SOURCES NOTE: I get my news from a mix of sources, and all of them report the same information and sometimes cite each other as well. So rather than linking the exact article for each and every news item (unless the article provides a lot more detail), I will cite my general news sources below. Each of them will most likely have an article and/or tweet providing more details on the item in question.

MY REGULAR NEWS SOURCES: Soompi, Omona They Didn’t (Livejournal), The Seoul Story (Twitter @theseoulstory), and Girl Group Zone! (Twitter @girlgroupzone)


VIDEO SOURCES: YouTube, C9 Entertainment (cignature), JYP Entertainment (Stray Kids), KQ Entertainment (ATEEZ), MLD Entertainment (T1419), SM Entertainment (Kai), MNH Entertainment (Chungha), Starship Entertainment (IVE), WM Entertainment (ONF), Yuehua Entertainment (EVERGLOW)*
*”Pirate” music video is distributed by Stone Music Entertainment.

OTHER SOURCES: Wikipedia, BillboardGaon Chart, KBS, MBC, MNET, SBS, Apple Music (1), New York Times (1), Rolling Stone (1), Spotify (1) (2)

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