Girls' Generation's big win at YouTube awards met with collective 'meh'

BUBBLY: Tiffany of Girls’ Generation speaking to the media after accepting the Video of the Year award at the YouTube Music Awards.

Leggy K-pop girl group Girls' Generation took home a big trophy at the first YouTube Music Awards.

But not everyone was thrilled.

The nine-member act hold sell-out concerts and cause pandemonium wherever they go, but their win for Video of the Year, voted by fans, has caused fans of other artists to act out in the form of racist tweets, wondering who "robbed" the category's other nominees One Direction, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

According to the Los Angeles Times, 60 million votes were cast for all categories.

Girls' Generation member Tiffany was at the show to accept the award for their I Got A Boy music video. The show was streamed live from 6am on Monday (Singapore time) from New York.

When the win was announced, there was barely any clapping and only a few stray whoops from the audience.

"YouTube is my best friend, is it your best friend?" the bubbly 24-year-old said in her thankyou speech, ending off with a "saranghae" (Korean for "I love you").

There was very little love for Girls' Generation online though, as fans of other nominated artists went on a tweeting rampage and sites live-blogging the event responded to their win with a collective "meh".

Some Twitter users made comments like "why are they in America if they can't speak English", unaware that three of the girls are Korean-American.

Popular tech blog TechCrunch called the I Got A Boy music video "pretty boring", noting that it has received only 74 million views since it was released in January - low compared to Psy's Gangnam Style.

Said the blog post: "It seems like an obvious nod to YouTube's international audience.

But a local Girls' Generation fan, Mr Xavier Lim, 24, retorted:

"Or maybe the international audience is actually interested in people other than Miley Cyrus."

The customer service assistant noted that the US acceptance of K-pop, while growing, is still slow.

Major music trade magazine Billboard has been running a K-Pop Hot 100 chart since 2011 and groups like Girls' Generation and Big Bang have performed in North America, with more groups like Infinite, VIXX, Drunken Tiger and 2AM doing the same this month and next.

'VERY SPECIAL THING'

Mr Lim called the group's win a "very special thing" and said he was "proud of the girls and the fans".

"Winning was great, but I'm also proud of how we responded to all the bad comments online," he said, adding that SONEs - what Girls' Generation fans are called - worldwide have been using the YouTube Music Awards victory to educate nonfans about K-pop through social media.

Ms S.L. Sim, 30, an administrator of the local fan club for SM Entertainment, Girls' Generations' management company, said the win should be celebrated as proof that "music has no language barrier".

The voting power of K-pop fans has long been a force to reckon with, even outside of Asia. In 2011, fans voted Big Bang Best Worldwide Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, over Britney Spears and Jay Chou.

Mr Lim and Ms Sim voted online in the YTMA. Referring to Girls' Generation's win, Ms Sim said: "It is because other K-pop fans also contributed to the votes.

"Though varied, (K-pop fans) are like one big family. Despite some occasional differences, we look out for each other."

Added fan Low J Q, 23: "Winning such an international award is not only a victory for SNSD and their fans...it's a victory for the whole of K-pop as well as it helps put it on the world map."

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