2023 “MAMA Awards” Draws Criticism From Korean Netizens Following Line-Up Announcements

Korean netizens are not impressed.

This year’s Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA), one of the most prestigious events in the Asian music industry, is currently facing significant criticism from Korean netizens. A post on popular community site TheQoo has garnered more than 44,000 views and over 220 comments, illustrating the deep-rooted dissatisfaction among Korean fans.

The main bone of contention seems to be MAMA’s unconventional approach to revealing their anticipated line-up for the event. Instead of straightforward announcements, the organizers have opted for a daily puzzle reveal, challenging fans to decode the names of the performers from cryptic clues.

One such puzzle had the organizers post a series of numbers arranged in a calendar-like pattern. Fans, being the dedicated detectives they are, matched the numbers to the positions of letters in the alphabet. The result was the word “LE SSERAFIM.”

| Source Music

In another instance, numbers corresponded to an old-style phone keypad, producing the word “RIIZE.” While some fans enjoyed the challenge, many felt it was a convoluted way of unveiling something as crucial as the performer line-up.

The first major criticism is regarding the complexity of these puzzles. MAMA’s tradition of announcing the line-up is a greatly anticipated event. Fans wait with bated breath to know if their favorite groups or artists will be gracing the MAMA stage.

RIIZE is rumored to be part of the performers’ lineup. | SM Entertainment

By turning the announcement into a game, the organizers have added an element of frustration for many. Korean netizens argue that the essence of the announcement is lost in translation, literally and figuratively. Instead of the excitement and anticipation, there’s now confusion and exasperation. They believe that a straightforward announcement would serve the purpose and respect the fans’ enthusiasm.

  • “Why won’t they just reveal everyone at once?”
  • “We already know which groups are most likely to attend, though. Lmao. This is f*cking extra.”
  • “Are they really going to do this for every group every day…?”
  • “I hate MAMA, and I don’t want to support them. But it’s one of the most sought-after award shows by idols, including my biases, so it’s annoying AF.”
| TheQoo

The second point of contention is the language of these announcements. For an event rooted in Korean culture and primarily catering to  Korean artists, the choice to make announcements exclusively in English has struck a wrong chord with many.

Language, as we know, isn’t just a medium of communication but also an embodiment of culture and identity. By sidelining Korean in favor of English, the organizers seem to have inadvertently alienated a section of their core audience.

  • Even the i-fans hate this…
  • Oh? I didn’t even know this is still a thing. Lmao.
  • Ever since they started hosting the show overseas, I stopped looking forward to it. Haha.
  • I don’t really mind the little stuff like this, but I actually think it’s the dumbest thing that they’re hosting the show in Japan.
| TheQoo

Fans believe that while international outreach is essential, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the native audience. Balancing global aspirations with local sensibilities is crucial, especially in an industry where fans play a pivotal role in an artist’s success.

Source: TheQoo