Taylor Swift was up. Elon Musk was in, out, in and maybe out again. Tom Cruise was back. BTS stepped aside, and so did Serena Williams, and Tom Brady too — oops, scratch that. But the slap? The slap was everywhere. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t on the level of a moon landing, or selection of a pope. But henceforth all you need say is “the slap” and people will know what you mean — that moment Will Smith smacked Chris Rock at the Oscars and a global audience said, “Wait, did that happen?” Even in the room itself — maybe especially in the room itself — there was a sense everyone had imagined it, which helps explain why things went on as normal, for a bit. The pandemic was over, phew! Well, of course it wasn’t. But live entertainment pushed forward in 2022, with mask mandates dropping and people rushing to buy things like, oh, Taylor Swift tickets! We’ll take any segue to mention Swift, who already had a big year in 2021, but just got bigger — heck, she broke Billboard records and then she broke Ticketmaster. (No word if she got her scarf back). It was a year of celebrity #MeToo cases like Harvey Weinstein (again), R. Kelly (again), Kevin Spacey, Paul Haggis, Danny Masterson. And the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, its every excruciating turn captured on TV. On the big screen, there were big comebacks. Mourning its dearly missed star, Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was a box office triumph. James Cameron’s “Avatar” made a splashy December return. Then there was Cruise, turning 60 in ’22 just like the Rolling Stones, swooping into Cannes with his most successful movie and showing, like those still-touring rockers, that when they tell you “The end is inevitable,” as they do in “Top Gun: Maverick,” you can always reply: “Maybe so, sir, but not today.” Read more: Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ role taught him lesson post-slap Will audiences one day find Cruise – or the Stones, for that matter – too wrinkled and past the sell-by date? Maybe so, but not this year. Our annual, totally selective journey through a year in pop culture: JANUARY It’s GOLDEN GLOBES time. But is a Globes with no telecast, boozy celebs or red carpet a Globes at all? The embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association, reeling from stunning failures over diversity, holds a private event and plans a comeback next year. Hey, remember the original wardrobe malfunction? Well, JANET JACKSON says she and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE have moved on, and so should we. The New York Times buys Wordle, and we’re all thinking in five-letter words (though W-O-R-D-L-E is six, just saying.) Meanwhile, it’s a month of loss, heading off a year of loss: pioneering Black actor, director and activist SIDNEY POITIER dies at 94. What would a year in pop culture be without BRITNEY? Just months after her liberation from her restrictive conservatorship, Spears is reported to have signed a mammoth book deal, but at year’s end we’re still waiting for news. RIHANNA is pregnant! TOM BRADY retires! (Stay tuned, on that one.) TAYLOR watch: JAKE GYLLENHAAL speaks out, saying he really has nothing to do with that song. MARCH Quick, who wins Oscars this month? Well, “CODA” does, a feel-good drama with a largely deaf cast, and TROY KOTSUR becomes the first deaf actor to win an acting Oscar. Alas, all anyone can talk about is — you know. SMITH, who wins the best actor award not long after slapping Rock over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, won’t truly address the issue until the end of the year, so keep reading. KARDASHIAN watch: Kim K is declared legally single again in her ongoing divorce with YE, the rapper formerly known as KANYE WEST. And BRADY, retired for 40 days, says, “Never mind!” APRIL It’s GRAMMY time, and JON BATISTE wins big, taking five statuettes. The musician’s huge year will later include performing at the first state dinner of the Biden administration, for French President Emmanuel Macron. The next day Macron will meet with MUSK (thanks for the segue, Monsieur le President) who begins his acquisition of TWITTER this month, leading to untold — and still unfolding — changes at the social media giant. MAY So imagine you’re sipping cocktails at the MET GALA and a musician comes sauntering through, playing the melodica — of course it’s BATISTE, because the Met Gala’s that kind of crazy party. The biggest splash of the night, though, is KARDASHIAN, on the arm of boyfriend PETE DAVIDSON, wearing the same sequined, skin tight gown MARILYN MONROE wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to JFK in 1962. In movies, “Top Gun: Maverick” opens, the highest-grossing domestic debut in CRUISE’S career, and his first to surpass $100 million on opening weekend. HARRY STYLES fans rejoice! His album, “Harry’s House,” is here. JUNE Stunning news for the global fanbase of BTS as the K-pop supergroup announces it’s taking a break to focus on members’ solo projects. On the legal front, a Virginia jury hands DEPP a victory in his very messy libel case over allegations of domestic abuse, finding that former wife HEARD defamed him in a 2018 op-ed. On a happier note, Britney gets married…. July Only one wedding, Britney? BENNIFER has two! Maybe what happens in Vegas usually stays in Vegas, but not when you have 227 million followers on Instagram. With a winking reference to being a “Sadie” (married lady) JENNIFER LOPEZ directs fans to her newsletter where she shares pics of her quickie wedding to BEN AFFLECK. “Love is beautiful,” she writes. “And it turns out love is patient.” Speaking of patience, fans of BEYONCÉ are rewarded for theirs with the release of her long-awaited “Renaissance,” her first solo album in six years. AUGUST So, we were saying ... Bennifer’s second wedding, on Affleck’s compound in Georgia, is bigger and fancier. One wedding, one split: KARDASHIAN and DAVIDSON are no longer. In other summer news, the world remembers PRINCESS DIANA, whose shocking death happened 25 years ago, and whose life is being rehashed for a new generation in the current season of “The Crown.” Only days after the anniversary, that same Netflix series will pause production as a mark of respect for QUEEN ELIZABETH II as Britain — and the world — mourn the beloved monarch, who dies at age 96 after more than 70 years on the throne. SEPTEMBER Mounting political intrigue in Europe, and by that we mean, did spit fly at the Venice premiere of “Don’t Worry Darling”? Either way the movie, directed by OLIVIA WILDE and starring her boyfriend (alleged spitter STYLES), is saddled – or blessed? – with more than its share of extracurricular drama. At the EMMYS, behold SHERYL LEE RALPH, who wins for “Abbott Elementary” and schools the crowd on the power of dreams and self-belief. “This is what believing looks like,” she says. You know what else believing looks like? Rachel Berry from “Glee” – aka LEA MICHELE – at last getting to play Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” on Broadway. In sports, with four rueful words that resonate with working moms everywhere, SERENA WILLIAMS says she’s stepping aside from tennis, because “something’s got to give.” Read more: Apple to release Will Smith's 'Emancipation' post-slap OCTOBER The second HARVEY WEINSTEIN trial opens in Los Angeles. ADIDAS drops YE, part of a cascade of companies that will sever ties with the rapper over his antisemitic and other troubling comments. The MUSK era begins at TWITTER as the world’s richest man carries a sink into the office, to “let that sink in.” HEIDI KLUM’s Halloween costume is a slimy, glistening rain worm. But before the month worms away from us, let’s cede it to SWIFT for dropping her new album, “Midnights” (Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day), then adding seven bonus tracks, then becoming the first artist to occupy all top 10 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Let THAT sink in! P.S. Celebrity divorce watch: BRADY and )GISELE BUNDCHEN split. NOVEMBER Did we say LAST month was Taylor Swift month? Well now, millions of eager fans crowd a presale for her much-awaited Eras Tour, resulting in crashes and endless waits. Ticketmaster cancels the general sale, citing insufficient stock. Multiple state attorneys general announce investigations. Takeaway: People want Taylor Swift tickets. At the multiplex, they also want their Wakanda. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” meets the double challenge of following up one of the biggest blockbusters in history and losing its biggest star. DECEMBER Love ’em or hate ’em, here come HARRY and MEGHAN again, with a Netflix documentary watched very closely by royalty across the pond. Over at Twitter, MUSK says he’ll step down as CEO — after polling users — once he finds someone “foolish” enough to replace him. Cameron’s “AVATAR” sequel finally appears, 13 years after the original broke records, and yes, moviegoers flock to Pandora once again. And bringing the year full circle, SMITH emerges to promote his new film, “EMANCIPATION,” hoping people will forget about … what was it? … at least enough to check out the movie. In this year of comebacks, will Smith’s be the biggest? Check back with us in 2023.
Jin, the oldest member of K-pop supergroup BTS, began his 18 months of mandatory military service at a frontline South Korean boot camp Tuesday, as fans gathered near the base to say goodbye to their star. Six other younger BTS members are to join the military in coming years one after another, meaning that the world's biggest boy band must take a hiatus, likely for a few years. Their enlistments have prompted a fierce domestic debate over whether it’s time to revise the country’s conscription system to expand exemptions to include prominent entertainers like BTS, or not to provide such benefits to anyone. With lawmakers squabbling at Parliament and surveys showing sharply split public opinions over offering exemptions to BTS members, their management agency said in October that all BTS members would perform their compulsory military duties. Big Hit Music said that both the company and the members of BTS “are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.” Read more: BTS' Jin makes guest appearance at Coldplay concert in Argentina Jin, who turned 30 earlier this month, entered the boot camp at Yeoncheon, a town near the tense border with North Korea, for five weeks of basic military training together with other new conscript soldiers, the Defense Ministry said. After the training involving rifle-shooting, grenade-throwing and marching practices, he and other conscripts would be assigned to army units across the country. About 20-30 fans — some holding Jin’s photos — and dozens of journalists gathered near the camp. But Jin didn't meet them as a vehicle carrying him moved into the boot camp without getting him out. “I want to wait (for) Jin and see him go into the military and wish him all the best,” Mandy Lee from Hong Kong said before Jin’s entrance to the camp. “Actually it’s complicated. I wanna be sad. I wanna be happy for him,” said Angelina from Indonesia. "Mixed feelings. He has to serve (for) his country.” Angelina, like many Indonesians, uses only one name. Read more: South Korean army appears to want to conscript BTS members A couple dozen fans could be seen as a small turnout given Jin's huge popularity. But Jin and his management agency had earlier asked fans not to visit the site and notified them there wouldn’t be any special event involving the singer, in order to prevent any issue caused by crowding. Authorities still mobilized 300 police officers, soldiers, emergency workers and others to maintain order and guard against any accidents, according to the army. Strict safety steps were expected as South Korea is still reeling from the devastating Halloween crush in October in Seoul that killed 158 people. Hours before entering the camp, Jin — whose real name is Kim Seok-jin — wrote on the on the online fan platform Weverse that “It’s time for a curtain call.” He posted a photo of himself Sunday with a military buzzcut and a message saying, “Ha ha ha. It’s cuter than I had expected.” By law, all able-bodied South Korean men must serve in the military for 18-21 months under a conscription system established to deal with threats from North Korea. But the law gives special exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers if they have won top prizes in certain competitions and enhance national prestige. K-pop stars and other entertainers aren’t given such benefits even if they gain worldwide fame and win big international awards. “Though BTS members have opted to go to the military, there are still some sort of regrets,” said Jung Duk-hyun, a pop culture commentator. “Those in the pop culture sector experience little bit of disadvantages and unfairness, compared with those in the pure art sector or athletes. This will likely continue to be an issue of controversy so I wonder if it must be discussed continuously.” Exemptions or dodging of duties are a highly sensitive issue in South Korea, where the draft forces young men to suspend their studies or professional careers. Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and Lee Ki Sik, head of South Korea’s enlistment office, previously said it would be “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness in the country’s military service. Chun In-bum, a retired lieutenant general who commanded South Korea’s special forces, said the government must move to repeal any exemptions as the military’s shrinking recruitment pool is “a very serious” problem amid the country’s declining fertility rate. He called a debate over BTS’s military service “unnecessary” as it wasn’t raised by BTS members, who have shown willingness in carrying out their duties. BTS was created in 2013 and has a legion of global supporters who call themselves the “Army.” Its other members are RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, who is the youngest at 25. The group expanded its popularity in the West with its 2020 megahit “Dynamite,” the band’s first all-English song that made BTS the first K-pop act to top Billboard’s Hot 100. The band has performed in sold-out arenas around the world and was even invited to speak at United Nations meetings. Hybe Corp., the parent company of Big Hit, said in October that each member of the band for the time being would focus on individual activities scheduled around their military service plans. In October, Jin released “The Astronaut,” a single co-written by Coldplay. Jung, the commentator, said sold projects could give BTS members much-needed time to develop themselves after working together as a group for many years. But Cha Woo-jin, a K-pop commentator, said it’s unclear if BTS would enjoy the same popularity as a group when they get together again after finishing their military duties in a few years. In August, Lee, the defense minister, said BTS members who are serving would likely be allowed to continue practicing and to join other non-serving BTS members in overseas group tours. Cha said K-pop’s global influence wouldn’t be hurt much because of BTS members’ enlistments as they “appear to represent K-pop but aren’t everything of K-pop.” Chung agreed, saying that other K-pop groups like BLACKPINK, Stray Kids and aespa could rise further.
South Korea’s military appears to want to conscript members of the K-pop supergroup BTS for mandatory military duties, as the public remains sharply divided over whether they should be given exemptions. Lee Ki Sik, commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, told lawmakers on Friday that it’s “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to ensure fairness in the country’s military service. Earlier this week, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup made almost identical comments about BTS at a parliamentary committee meeting, and Culture Minister Park Bo Gyoon said his ministry would soon finalize its position on the issue. Whether the band’s seven members must serve in the army is one of the hottest issues in South Korea because its oldest member, Jin, faces possible enlistment early next year after turning 30 in December. Under South Korean law, all able-bodied men are required to perform 18-21 months of military service. But the law provides special exemptions for athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers who have won top prizes in certain competitions that enhance national prestige. Without a revision of the law, the government can take steps to grant special exemptions. But past exemptions for people who performed well in non-designated competitions triggered serious debate about the fairness of the system. Read: 3 members of K-pop sensation BTS diagnosed with COVID-19 Since the draft forces young men to suspend their professional careers or studies, the dodging of military duties or creation of exemptions is a highly sensitive issue. In one recent survey, about 61% of respondents supported exemptions for entertainers such as BTS, while in another, about 54% said BTS members should serve in the military. Several amendments of the conscription law that would pave the way for BTS members to be exempted have been introduced in the National Assembly, but haven’t been voted on with lawmakers sharply divided on the matter. Lee, the defense minister, earlier said he had ordered officials to consider conducting a public survey to help determine whether to grant exemptions to BTS. But the Defense Ministry later said it would not carry out such a survey. In August, Lee said if BTS members join the military, they would likely be allowed to continue practicing and to join other non-serving BTS members in overseas group tours. People who are exempted from the draft are released from the military after three weeks of basic training. They are also required to perform 544 hours of volunteer work and continue serving in their professional fields for 34 months.
South Korean superstars BTS were crowned artist of the year at the American Music Awards on Sunday, brushing aside challenges from Taylor Swift, Drake and The Weeknd as they took home a total of three awards and teamed up with Coldplay for a raucous “My Universe” and closed the show with “Butter.” “Seven boys from Korea, united by love for music, met the love and support from all the armies all over the world,” said BTS' RM after the group won their artist of the year for the first time. “This whole thing is a miracle. Seriously, we would never take this for granted.” The band was also named favorite pop duo or group and got the favorite pop song award for “Butter.” Also read: BTS on 1st Grammy nod: 'It’s hard to express in words' The show celebrated the best popular music for a second pandemic year with a mix of live and pre-taped performances. Silk Sonic’s Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak kicked off the awards on a funky, R&B and pre-taped note with their “Smokin Out the Window” and Jennifer Lopez pre-taped her “On My Way” from her upcoming romantic comedy “Marry Me.” An earlier scheduled performance of “Butter” by BTS and Megan Thee Stallion was scrapped after the rapper cited personal reasons for dropping out Saturday. She turned out to be a big winner: named favorite female hip-hop artist, her “Good News” winning for favorite hip-hop album and her “Body” was crowned favorite trending song, a new award this year. Olivia Rodrigo came into the night with a leading seven nominations but only took home the crown for favorite new artist of the year. “Writing songs is my favorite thing in the whole world and I am so grateful for everyone who has embraced my music,” she said. Rodrigo lost favorite pop album to Taylor Swift's “evermore.” In a taped speech, Swift told her fans: “I’m so lucky to be in your life.” Swift also won for favorite female pop artist, giving her a career total of 34, the record for the most awarded artist in AMA history. Rodrigo performed her hit “traitor” live on a stage covered with flowers and Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean brought a little country to the stage when they sang their pre-taped duet “If I Didn’t Love You.” With a little help from Julieta Venegas and Tainy, Bad Bunny performed their hit “Lo Siento BB :/.” Among live performances, Italian band Måneskin made their U.S. awards show debut with their viral hit “Beggin.’” Chlöe of Chloe x Halle floated down onto the stage to perform her hit debut single as a soloist “Have Mercy,” swinging her hair and twerking. Mickey Guyton got loud cheers while singing her patriotic song “All American” in a silvery dress, periodically screaming out “How y'all doing?” The fan-voted awards show aired live from Los Angeles on ABC. Nominees were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 25, 2020, through Sept. 23, 2021. Becky G won for favorite female Latin artists and thanked the Latinx community. “You are not alone,” she said. “We are the American dream.” Also read: BTS hit 'DNA' exceeds 1.2 bln views on YouTube Machine Gun Kelly grabbed the favorite rock artist award. “I want to accept this for all the aspiring musicians, the one who desires to play an instrument, wants to rap, wants to sing — not just the rock artists, but all the artists,” he said. Earlier Sunday, in awards announced before the show, Swift was named favorite female pop artist, Ed Sheeran got the favorite male award and Doja Cat featuring SZA on “Kiss Me More” was named collaboration of the year. Kanye West was named favorite gospel artist Underwood won for favorite inspirational artist and favorite female country artist and Doja Cat also won two other awards: favorite female R&B artist and her “Planet Her” was named favorite R&B album. Luke Bryan was named favorite country artist and Bad Bunny was the favorite male Latin artist. The Weeknd was crowned favorite male R&B artist and Drake won the favorite male hip-hop artist. Gabby Barrett took home the favorite country album for “Goldmine” and favorite country song for “The Good Ones.” For the older viewers, New Edition and New Kids on the Block performed together. The Boston-based groups took turns with the hits, trading hits: “You Got It (The Right Stuff”), “Candy Girl,” “Step By Step,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and uniting for “Can You Stand the Rain,” “Is This the End,” “Hangin' Tough” and “If It Isn’t Love.” The favorite Latin album went to Bad Bunny’s “El Último Tour Del Mundo.” Host Cardi B, wearing a constant stream of new outfits, revved up the crowd. Later her song “Up” was named favorite hip-hop song.
It's no secret that K-pop has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry with artists bred here becoming global household names supported by fans from all over the globe.
Global superstar BTS has set another record on YouTube, with its music video for the 2017 song "DNA" earning 1.2 billion views on YouTube, the band's agency said Thursday.
K-pop superstars BTS canceled an upcoming concert series in South Korea's capital as the country that exports entertainment worldwide tries to contain a soaring virus outbreak.
Police say they are investigating a member of K-pop superstar group BTS over a traffic accident involving the band member and a taxi driver.