In response to recent controversies surrounding the show, the producers of the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards have pledged their commitment to fairness.
At a press conference for the upcoming awards show, Kim Hyun Soo, CJ E&M’s director of convention operations, asserted that the production team has been making efforts to make the awards fairer.
He reported, “This year, MAMA will be divided into three different parts. The ‘Asian Music’ category will focus on six different regions of Asia, with the awards decided by a panel of expert judges. The ‘K-pop’ category will look at artists who promote across seven regions of Asia, and the awards will be based on both the evaluations of expert judges and viewers’ votes. This year, for the sake of fairness, we changed the ratio of those two factors, with the judges’ evaluations now counting more towards the awards.”
He went on, “We are making an effort each year [to make the awards fairer]. Each year, we worry about our responsibility. This year, we narrowed things down into four categories and broadened the pool of expert judges. We also took votes, album sales, and digital sales into substantial consideration, so that they are reflected in the awards.”
Mnet director Kim Ki Woong stated that he believes the MAMA can eventually become the Korean counterpart to the Grammy Awards. He remarked, “Although we have a long way to go, [becoming the Korean Grammys] is our endgoal. It has been almost 10 years since we began ‘MAMA.’ In that time, Korean artists have received recognition abroad, and they are heading towards becoming mainstream music. We don’t know what will happen in the next few years.”
He continued, “We want to acknowledge cultural differences and respect them. If we continue to work together with Asian artists, I think we will end up being the Grammys.”
Although the two representatives appeared optimistic about the show, 2017 MAMA has recently been caught up in a series of controversies. It was previously reported that illegal voting for the awards had been detected, and the show temporarily halted all voting as it searched and removed votes. The show also came under fire in China earlier this month for using the Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan flags to represent the nations on its website.
Kim Hyun Soo responded to the flag controversy by saying, “We understand the issue and have deleted the page in question. As we are running an international business, this was an unforeseen problem that arose unexpectedly. Through the years, we have been through a lot of trial and error, and we are responding carefully. We are taking our roles as cultural ambassadors very seriously, and we believe that if we work hard, we will be able to achieve communication.”
He also spoke about the illegal online voting. “This year, we used two steps to confirm voters’ identities: the first stage was through social media accounts, and the second stage was through registration,” he explained. “There were instances of people attempting to bypass the system electronically.”
The 2017 MAMA will take place over the course of four nights in three different nations: on November 25 in Vietnam, on November 29 in Japan, and on both November 30 and December 1 in Hong Kong.
Kim Ki Woong also revealed at the press conference that I.O.I and AKB48 will be performing each other’s songs in their collaboration, which will take place in Japan on the second night of the show.