2021 MAMA Announces Ed Sheeran Performance, Special Collabs, And More

CJ ENM shared some major announcements about the upcoming 2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA)!

A global press conference for the 2021 MAMA was held on November 16 at 10 a.m. KST.

Centering around the concept “Make Some Noise,” this year’s MAMA will be held offline with an in-person audience. Mnet’s CP (chief producer) Park Chan Wook explained, “We won’t be able to invite many people to the audience, but we believe it’s a big change that the artists and the audience are meeting. It will be carried out in accordance with the government’s disease prevention guidelines.”

As announced previously, the evaluation criteria and categories will also be different this year. Unlike in previous years, fan votes will not be one of the criteria for determining the Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year awards. However, the Worldwide Icon of the Year and Worldwide Fans’ Choice Top 10 awards will be determined entirely through fan votes, with no other criteria.

Until last year, music data from Gaon Chart, Twitter, and YouTube were included in the evaluation criteria. This year’s criteria also includes streaming data from Apple Music, a music streaming platform that is serviced in 167 countries. Data will be calculated by a third party company, Samil PwC, for greater fairness and transparency.

Apple Music’s Global Creative Director Zane Lowe shared through a video, “K-pop is taking over the world. It’s revolutionary and has creative melodies, and it’s contributing to the development of pop music.” He added, “I’m happy to provide an opportunity to fans around the world to celebrate the growth of K-pop and vote for their favorite artists. Vote for the Worldwide Fans’ Choice Top 10 by streaming on Apple Music. With the inclusion of streaming data, [MAMA’s] status as a global music show will be strengthened further.”

Kim Hyun Soo, head of CJ ENM’s Music Content Division, revealed their plans to one day hold MAMA in the United States. He explained, “We will expand the host countries to the Asian market and other close-by regions and later host MAMA in the United States. While centering around K-pop, we will invite celebrities who represent South Korea in film, drama, and K-lifestyle and strength communication with the generation between ages 15 and 24, showcase unique content based on storytelling, and strengthen the global data that reflects the rising status of K-pop.”

CP Park Chan Wook revealed that the most memorable MAMA performance for him was BTS’s “Life Goes On” stage last year. Though Suga was not able to directly join the performance due to a surgery, he made a virtual appearance using intricate 3D technology.

2021 MAMA will be hosted by Lee Hyori, who is the award show’s first-ever female host. CP Park Chan Wook described her as the “past, present, and future of K-pop” and someone who fits the concept of this year’s MAMA perfectly.

The CP also announced some special performances that will unfold at the 2021 MAMA. British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will be performing at the event. CP Park Chan Wook explained, “Ed Sheeran wrote BTS’s ‘Permission to Dance.’ He has some ties with K-pop. He’s the singer who sang ‘Bad Habits,’ one of the most-loved pop songs this year in Korea. He is preparing a MAMA version performance.”

Wanna One will be reuniting to perform at the show. CP Park Chan Wook shared, “The members are full of anticipation. The production team is preparing with various ideas in mind. We’ll create a stage that’s like a gift for fans.”

Other special performances are performances by the eight crews of “Street Woman Fighter” and a collaboration stage between members of top fourth generation K-pop groups. More information about the performer lineup will announced at a later date.

The 2021 MAMA will be live streamed on December 11 at 6 p.m. KST. Check out the list of this year’s nominees here!

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