A Full Timeline of BTS in America
In anticipation of BTS’ return to the U.S. next for their second appearance at the Billboard Music Awards and first performance, here’s a look back at BTS’ time spent in America so far.
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Next week, BTS returns to America for the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. While their ongoing chart success makes them seem omnipresent in the U.S. pop conversation — as their Love Yourself: Her EP spends its 29th week on the Billboard 200 — the actual amount of time the septet has spent stateside is remarkably short.
See latest videos, charts and news
See latest videos, charts and news
Still, the amount of hard work RM, Jimin, Suga, J-Hope, Jin, V and Jungkook put in during their time here shows how hard they worked to connect with fans, local media and beyond during these opportunities. In anticipation of their return to the U.S. this Sunday (May 20) — for their second appearance at the Billboard Music Awards, and first such performance — take a look back at BTS’ time spent in America so far.
How BTS Is Changing the K-Pop Comeback With Their Billboard Music Awards Performance
Mid 2014: Filming BTS’ American Hustle Life in Los Angeles
Longtime ARMY fans know that BTS looked to engrain themselves in the world of hip-hop by living in Los Angeles, and learning more about the culture from West Coast greats like Warren G and Coolio. During the show, which aired on Korean broadcasting giant Mnet, the band completed missions to learn more about rap music and culture.
July 13, 2014: Surprise L.A. Concert
An infamous moment in BTS history: During the filming of American Hustle Life the guys were tasked with filling L.A.’s Troubadour for a surprise concert in less than two days. In their early years, the boys worried they wouldn’t find 200 fans to fill the venue — which feels almost laughable in light of the arenas they’re selling out today.
Aug. 9-10, 2014: KCON 2014 Los Angeles
With just over a year spent together, BTS became the youngest artist to play KCON 2014 in Los Angeles’ Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena — a fest which featured K-pop superstars like G-Dragon, Girls’ Generation, IU and more. Billboard was on the scene that year, noting that “rookie boy band BTS might have been the newest artist on the bill, but the huge crowd reaction could have made you think otherwise.” The Korean music and culture festival reported 42,000 attendees that year.
July 16-26, 2015: Live Trilogy in USA tour, “Episode II: The Red Bullet”
For their first U.S. tour, BTS played just four shows in the American leg of their “Episode II: The Red Bullet” tour, hitting the New York, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles areas that July. While there was not as much media attention on the guys then, BTS did film one of Billboard‘s most beloved live performances, with precise renditions of “I Need U” and “Dope” during their first group trip to NYC.
Sept. 22-27, 2015 – Highlight Tour
The group returned later in 2015 for another short set of dates, though the run was overshadowed by poor management from their promoters, and unhappy fans. A collaboration between streetwear brand Community 54 and seemingly now-defunct promoter TGM Events, the tour saw TGM admitting to overselling tickets for certain dates on the tour, which led to fans unable to attend the shows for which they paid (and likely traveled). The term “tour” was also used lightly, as the band only performed a short set. There are fans still waiting for refunds.
June 24-25, 2016: KCON 2016 New York
Now as certifiable superstars, with multiple Billboard 200 entries to their name, BTS headlined K-pop festival KCON 2016 New York at Newark’s massive Prudential Center. RM acted as a co-host for the fest’s two nights of performances, with the full band closing out the show, performing hits like “Fire” and “Dope,” along with album cuts like “Cypher Pt.3: Killer” and “Boyz With Fun.” KCON reported more than 42,000 attendees.
July 29-31, 2016: KCON 2016 Los Angeles
A month later, BTS was back for more KCON fun, again closing out the festival that played its West Coast date at the famous Staples Center. More than 76,000 attended its three-day 2016 celebration of K-pop and Korean culture in Los Angeles, including two sold-out nights of concerts.
March 23-April 2, 2017: Live Trilogy “Episode III: The Wings Tour”
With the massive success of their Wings album marking the biggest-selling and highest-charting K-pop album in history to date, BTS wer ready to be arena headliners all on their own. The American leg of their Wings tour garnered two concerts in Newark’s Prudential Center, one show at Chicago’s Allstate Arena and two concerts at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The band’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, reported 60,000 tickets sold. The guys documented parts of their tour in their “Burn the Stage” YouTube series, while also landing media looks from People, iHeartRadio and JBTV — and, of course, stopping by the Billboard office.
May 21, 2017: The 2017 Billboard Music Awards
In a major move for visibility for international artists, BTS not only hit the red carpet at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, but got their win for top social artist aired on ABC, where viewers saw the likes of Ansel Elgort and Miley Cyrus cheering for the boys. The septet charmed outlets like Good Morning America, E! News, Entertainment Tonight, J-14 during their ensuing media tour.
Nov. 14-21, 2017: American Music Awards and Los Angeles Promotions
After the release of their No. 7-peaking Billboard 200 smash Love Yourself: Her, BTS had the world’s attention, and snagged a performance slot at the 2017 American Music Awards to perform their new single “DNA,” receiving an introduction from friends and collaborators The Chainsmokers. The guys spent this U.S. trip doing a nearly unheard of amount of press, appearing on huge shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show, chatting with magazines like Vogue and Rolling Stone, and making themselves as known as possible — all leading to their next U.S. visit to be all the more major. Are you ready for the next step, Army?
The History of Bungee Jumping
Diving off a high tower with an elastic rope tied to the ankles for a quick adrenalin rush sounds like something developed by tourist entrepreneurs to lure modern thrill-seekers.
But the intrepid pioneers of this sport, the first bungee jumpers, didn’t have the sophistication of engineered elastic ropes and fancy boots.
Bungee Jumping Started in Vanuatu as the Pentecost Jump
The islands of Vanuatu sprawl in that arc from the Solomon Islands in the north to New Caledonia in the south. In the 1860s, the French and English formed a condominium to bring the islands, then known as the New Hebrides, into the western way of life. This joint rule lasted until 1980 when the nation gained independence and the name changed to Vanuatu.
The first bungee jumps were carried out thousands of years ago on the island of Pentecost, one of Vanuatu’s many islands.
Pentecost Island is known as the ‘island of legend.’ To confirm this label, the nagol or ‘Pentecost Jump’ has its roots in legend.
The Legend of the First Bungee Jump
In the times when legends were made, a man named Tamalie frequently and viciously beat his wife. One day she ran away in fear and hid in the top of a tree. Tamalie climbed after her despite threats she would jump. When he reached the top, she threw herself off and he plunged after her. However, she had cleverly tied vines to her feet that broke her fall while her husband crashed to his death on the ground.
The women continued to celebrate the legend, but over the years men have taken over the role. The Pentecost land divers spend weeks preparing for the jump to psyche themselves and deter evil spirits.
The ritual now has a dual role. One is for the tourist trade to bring hard cash into the villages; the other for religious significance. As the Pentecost land diver’s head scrapes the ground at the end of his dive it fertilises the earth for the coming yam harvest.
From Traditional Ceremony to Modern Bungee Jumping
The western version of this sport is also becoming a ritual. Thrill-seekers wanting to pay homage to the ultimate adrenalin rush dive off special platforms, high bridges or cranes set up for the occasion. The Pentecost land divers used nothing more than a tower made from sticks. The modern bungee-jumper uses the elasticity in the bungee rope to stop the free-falling body. The old-timers relied on three methods to break their fall:
1) the vines of carefully measured length have elasticity;
2) the tower has a bit of ‘give’;
3) the top of the tower breaks away as the diver reaches the end of the vines.
Modern bungee jumping is usually done over water, with the jumper having the choice if they want to be dunked in the water at the end of the fall.
The Pentecost land divers do their jumps over the forest floor. The ground is softened by a layer of leaf mulch, and is usually on a slope to assist in breaking the fall. However, a miscalculation in the length of the vines can be fatal as the land diver slams into the earth. Fortunately, these are rare.
First Commercial Bungee Jump on Kawarau Bridge
Henry van Asch and AJ Hacket established the first commercial bungee jumping operation on the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand. This bridge, spanning the Kawarau River was built in 1880 and is a short drive from New Zealand’s excitement town of Queenstown.
Many thrill seekers now pay to bungee jump from the Kawarau Bridge.
Bungee jumping is not the only modern sport that has its roots in the Pacific Ocean. Freestyle swimming was developed in the Solomon Islands; while surfing first started in Hawaii.
BTS’s 7 Members Were Discovered in the Most Unconventional Ways
If you’re an ARMY, the questions of how BTS members were discovered and how BTS was formed likely crossed your mind. Well, like the great bands before them, their story is a mix of the conventional and unconventional. BTS debuted in 2013 with their first-ever single, “No More Dream.” Since then, BTS members—RM, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, Jin and J-Hope—have become household names among K-pop fans everywhere.
With celebrity fans like Shawn Mendes, Tyra Banks and Charlie Puth, BTS has become one of the biggest and most well-known acts in K-pop history. But BTS wasn’t always BTS. About a decade ago, BTS members were just seven, normal South Korean guys with dreams of pop stardom. Then came Big Hit Entertainment, and their lives changed forever. As ARMYs know, 2020 was a milestone year for the band.
After the release of their first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, “Dynamite,” in August 2020, BTS followed their success with two more number-one hits: “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)” with Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo and “Life Goes On” from their November 2020 album, BE. The boy band was also nominated for their first-ever Grammy at the 2021 award show in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for “Dynamite.” So how was BTS formed into the band we know today? Read about all of BTS members’ discovery stories ahead.
RM, whose full name is Kim Namjoon, was the first member of BTS and is the band’s leader. RM, whose previous stage name was Rap Monster, is one of the band’s rappers. He started rapping in the sixth grade after he listened to Epik High’s “Fly” for the first time. In 2007, when he was in middle school, RM started rapping under the name Runch Randa, which led him to the rap crew Daenamhyup. (The crew also consisted of now-known stars like Top Dogg’s KIDOH, Big Hit Entertainment producer Supreme Boi and Show Me the Money 3 finalist Iron.) After that, RM started releasing more songs as a solo rapper until he was invited to audition for a hip-hop agency, where he met Untouchable’s Sleepy, who was a judge at the audition. Impressed by RM’s rapping, Sleepy connected RM to producer Bang Shi Hyuk, who invited him to audition for Big Hit Entertainment. Then, in 2010, RM became one of BTS band members, and the rest is history.
Jungkook, whose full name is Jeon Jeongguk, is one of BTS’ singers. He’s also the youngest member of the band, making him BTS’ Golden Maknae. Jungkook, whose nickname is Kookie, was discovered when he auditioned for the third season of Superstar K in his hometown of Busan. He was eliminated in the audition round, but the show gave him enough exposure to be scouted by at least seven agencies, including JYP Entertainment, FNC Entertainment and Starship Entertainment. In the end, though, Jungkook chose Big Hit Entertainment to become a trainee at. Jungkook has said that the reason he chose Big Hit Entertainment over the other agencies was because of RM, who impressed him with his rapping, which made Jungkook want to train and work with him. Long story short, RM is one of the reasons that Jungkook is one of BTS members.
V, whose full name is Kim Taehyung, is the son of farmers in Daegu. With a dream of becoming a musician, V started playing the saxophone in high school, at the recommendation of his father. Soon after, he accompanied a friend to an audition for Big Hit Entertainment in Daegu. V didn’t intend to audition himself and was only there to support his friend, but a team member at Big Entertainment saw him and encouraged him to audition. After he called his father for permission, V auditioned on the spot and became the only person from Daegu that day to make it to the next round. He eventually became one of BTS members and is one of the band’s vocalists.
Suga, whose real name is Min Yoongi, started as a rapper under the name Gloss in high school. It didn’t take long for Suga to make a name for himself as both a rapper and a producer. (He was known at the time for producing and composing beats for local artists, like band D-Town, in his hometown of Daegu.) Soon after, Suga started producing tracks for more well-known artists, like Reflow, who worked with Suga on his song “Who Am I.” Suga auditioned for Big Hit Entertainment after he saw a flyer for the company’s rap competition called “Hit It.” Suga didn’t win the competition, but he did take second place, which was enough for Big Hit Entertainment to sign him as a producer and a trainee. Though he planned on only becoming a producer, Suga was convinced to join BTS in 2010 and became one of the band’s rappers. (He’s joked that founder Bang Shi Hyuk “tricked” him into becoming a BTS member.)
Jin, whose full name is Kim Seokjin, was the fourth member of BTS. Jin was originally scouted by SM Entertainment while on the street of his hometown in Anyang. But, thinking that the offer was a scam, he never followed up with the company. He was scouted again—this time by Big Hit Entertainment—while as a college student. A scout for Big Hit Entertainment saw Jin as he was leaving a bus and convinced him to audition for the company. As a theatre major with no singing or dancing experience, Jin auditioned to be an actor. However, Big Hit Entertainment had other plans and convinced him to become a trainee for BTS. He is now one of the band’s vocalists. Though Jin never planned to become a K-pop idol, we can’t imagine him as anything else other than one of BTS members.
Jimin, whose full name is Park Jimin, was the final member of BTS. While as a student at the Busan High School of Arts, where he studied under the Department of Dance, a dance teacher, impressed by Jimin’s talent, encouraged him to audition for Big Hit Entertainment. After he passed the audition in his hometown in Busan, Jimin was flown to Seoul, where he became a trainee. As the last member, Jimin’s training was the shortest in the band. He debuted with the rest of BTS members in 2013.
Before BTS, J-Hope, whose full name is Jung Hoseok, was best known as a dancer. He started in the dance crew Neuron in his hometown of Gwangju before he auditioned for JYP Entertainment. Though he made it through a few rounds, J-Hope was eventually cut from JYP, which led him to audition for Big Hit Entertainment instead. Because of his dance skills and his sense of rhythm, Big Hit Entertainment saw J-Hope’s potential was a rapper and signed him as a trainee. However, J-Hope’s debut as one of BTS members almost didn’t happen. While he was a trainee, J-Hope and Big Hit Entertainment almost parted ways until RM convinced them both that BTS needed a member like J-Hope. After that, J-Hope stayed with the band and became one of BTS’s three rappers, alongside RM and Suga. And so that’s how all of BTS members were discovered.
BTS Members Ages
If you’ve ever asked, “How old are the members of BTS?” Let us explain it to you. Ahead, we listed BTS members from youngest to oldest. As we explained earlier, Jungkook is the maknae, as the youngest member, while Jin is the oldest member. (There is about a five-year age difference between Jin and Jungkook.) In a 2020 episode of BTS’ documentary, Break the Silence, Jungkook opened up about how he doesn’t relate to the nickname Golden Maknae, which fans have given because of his all-around skill as a BTS member.
“I envy the image people have of me. People call me the Golden Maknae, but that’s not how I feel, so I have to try harder to make myself appear that way. After all that time since my debut, I think finally I’m trying really hard,” Jungkook said at the time.
As the youngest member of BTS, Jungkook admitted in Break the Silence that he had a hard time being away from his family, but he found new family members in his BTS band mates.
“I moved to Seoul at a very young age and didn’t really have any best friends,” he said at the time. “The members are the ones who are always by my side and the ones I’ve been with the longest. I think they make me feel emotions that are hard to describe. It feels like we’re companions, and they helped me realize what friendship is. Family. They’re not family but they feel like family. There are times when I feel a close connection with them. In the way that water flows, I think we’re all doing a good job of maintaining this balance.”
So what are BTS birthdays and ages? To give you a clearer picture as to how much of an age difference there is between BTS members, we went ahead and listed their birthdays and ages as of August 2020.