Early predictions of 2021 MAMA’s Daesang winners: NCT is unlikely to win Daesang Album, BTS will not easily get another Daesang all-kill?

2021 MAMA has announced the nominees for 3 important Daesang categories: Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Artist of the Year.

Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) is always one of the most anticipated year-end events by Kpop fans. This year’s MAMA is expected to take place at 6PM KST on December 11. Currently, Mnet has announced all the nominations for each category and received much attention. Netizens have also cast their predictions for the winners at the upcoming MAMA. 

This year’s MAMA has confirmed major changes in the criteria for determining the winners. Unlike previous years, the 3 most important Daesangs of MAMA including Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and other related awards will no longer be fan voted. 

The only Daesang category that is completely dependent on fan votes is Worldwide Icon of the Year. On November 3, MAMA announced the nominations for the first categories, and on November 4, Mnet’s website updated the list of all eligible nominees for 3 major Daesangs: Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

Song of the Year nominations: 

Award Criteria: 40% judges’ evaluations, 30% digital sales, 10% physical album sales, 10% MV, 10% global music platform

  • 10cm – Borrow your night (Romance 101)
  • 10cm – Sleepless in Seoul (ft. Lee Suhyun)
  • aespa – Next Level
  • AKMU – NAKKA (ft. IU)
  • Baekhyun – Bambi
  • BTS – Butter
  • Cho Jungseok – I Like You (HOSPITAL PLAYLIST Season2)
  • Choi Yuree – Wish (Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha)
  • CNBLUE – Then, Now and Forever
  • Coldplay & BTS – My Universe
  • DAVICHI – Just hug me
  • DAY6 – You make Me
  • Gaeko & KwonJinah – I feel like
  • Heize – HAPPEN
  • Hyolyn & Dasom – Summer or Summer
  • HyunA – I’m Not Cool
  • ITZY – In the morning
  • IU – Celebrity
  • JANNABI – A thought on an autumn night
  • Jessi – What Type of X
  • Lee Mujin – Rain and You (HOSPITAL PLAYLIST Season2)
  • Lee Mujin – Traffic light
  • Rain – Switch to me (duet. JYP)
  • Red Velvet – Queendom
  • Rosé – On The Ground
  • SEVENTEEN – Ready to love
  • SHINee – Don’t Call Me
  • Somi – DUMB DUMB
  • Stray Kids – Thunderous
  • Taeyeon – Weekend
  • TWICE Alcohol-Free
  • Yang Yoseop & Jeong Eunji – LOVE DAY(2021) (Romance 101)
  • Yumdda – 9ucci (ft. DOGE)

This is considered the most unpredictable Daesang category because both BTS and IU have smash hits that are strong candidates. In terms of domestic digital performance, IU’s ‘Celebrity’ is indeed tough to beat, but BTS’s ‘Butter’ also has a good digital record and its gap with ‘Celebrity’ is not too wide. 

Regarding the remaining criteria such as physical sales, MV, Apple Music platform, BTS certainly has a huge advantage with ‘Butter’. Thus, the final decision lies with the judges’ evaluations: Will they consider the impressive achievements of Korea’s ‘digital queen’ IU or BTS’s international impact with ‘Butter’ ranking No.1 on Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks?

Album of the Year Nominations

Award Criteria: 40% judges’ evaluation, 10% digital achievement, 40% physical album sales, 10% global music platform

  • (G)I-DLE – I burn
  • aespa – Savage
  • Baekhyun – Bambi
  • Brave Girls – Summer Queen
  • BTS – BE
  • D.O. – Empathy
  • DAY6 – The Book of Us : Negentropy
  • DRIPPIN – A Better Tomorrow
  • EPEX – Bipolar, Pt.1 Prelude of Anxiety
  • HyunA – I’m Not Cool
  • IU – LILAC
  • Kai – KAI
  • Kang Daniel – YELLOW
  • Kwon Eunbi – OPEN
  • Mino – TAKE
  • MIRAE – Splash
  • NFlying – Man of the Moon
  • NCT127 – Sticker
  • NCT DREAM – Hot Sauce
  • P1Harmony – Disharmony : Break Out
  • Red Velvet – Queendom
  • SEVENTEEN – Your Choice
  • SHINee – Don’t Call Me
  • Stray Kids – NOEASY
  • Taeyeon – What Do I Call You
  • TXT – The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE
  • TWICE – Taste of Love

This is possibly the most predictable category for netizens.  Accordingly, BTS’ album ‘BE’, although released in November 2020, is still within the valid tracking period of MAMA 2021.If BTS’s ‘BE’ is not nominated, it is possible that NCT 127 will win the Daesang due to the extremely high sales of ‘Sticker,’ which totaled 2.27 million copies. However, BTS sold over 3.6 million copies of their album ‘BE,’ and had better digital achievements and Apple Music score, so NCT 127 doesn’t appear to stand a chance.

Nomination MAMA 2021
Nomination MAMA 2021

Artist of the Year nominations:

Award Criteria: 40% judges’ evaluation, 20% digital achievement, 20% physical album sales, 10% MV, 10% global music platform

  • (G)I-DLE
  • aespa
  • Baekhyun
  • Brave Girls
  • BTS
  • D.O.
  • EPEX
  • Heize
  • ITZY 
  • IU
  • Jo Yuri
  • Kai
  • Kang Daniel
  • Kwon Eunbi
  • Lee Mujin
  • Lisa
  • NCT127
  • P1Harmony
  • Red Velvet
  • Rosé
  • Stray Kids 
  • Taeyeon
  • TXT
Nomination MAMA 2021

BTS is considered the best candidate for the ‘Artist of the Year’ category

The last and most important category is ‘Artist of the Year.’ This category will continue to be a battle between BTS and IU. However, netizens now believe that, unless the jury wants to get in the way of BTS’ all-kill Daesang, BTS is the artist who deserves this award the most because of their breakthrough achievements this year.

It should be noted that the above nominee list contains a large number of names because MAMA 2021 will announce all candidates who meet their criteria in each category. Then, before awarding the Daesang, this list will be whittled down (probably to the top five most outstanding candidates).

Nomination MAMA 2021
Which Kpop artists/groups do you think will win Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year of MAMA 2021?  Please share your opinion.
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