[GOLDEN DISC] Hottest K-pop groups of 2023 highlighted at Golden Disc Awards
K-pop's biggest stars shone bright at the 38th Golden Disc Awards on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia, kicking off another year filled with music and passion.
Boy band Seventeen and girl group NewJeans each took a Grand Prize, while boy band ZeroBaseOne and girl group Fifty Fifty's Keena were awarded Rookie of the Year.
The 38th Golden Disc Awards took place at the Jakarta International Stadium (JIS) with audience members filling up the venue with thunderous roars at every minute. It was hosted by singer and actor Cha Eun-woo and singer Sung Si-kyung and sponsored by Mandiri, the largest commercial bank in Indonesia.
The Golden Disc Awards, hosted by the JoongAng Group, is a unique pop music ceremony that gives out multiple honors and one grand prize in three main categories — Digital Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Rookie Artist of the Year — and popular vote awards for male and female acts.
Best Album of the Year
Seventeen beat 19 other candidates in the album category: (G)I-DLE, aespa, Agust D (or Suga of BTS), Ateez, Enhypen, EXO, ITZY, IVE, Le Sserafim, NCT, NCT 127, NCT Dream, NMIXX, Stray Kids, Treasure, Twice, ZeroBaseOne, Jungkook of BTS and Tomorrow X Together.
Seventeen also received the Best Album award along with aespa, Enhypen, IVE, Le Sserafim, NCT Dream, Stray Kids, Jungkook, ZeroBaseOne and Tomorrow X Together.
“I really don’t know what to say,” member S.Coups said after receiving the award from Hong Jeong-do, vice chairman of JoongAng Group, and singer and actor Lee Jun-ho.
“We’re now into our 10th year as a group, and I firstly want to thank the members for having come all this way together. We wish that Jeonghan was here with us today, but he’ll be with us again shortly. So much work was put into this album, and I really want to thank everyone at [our agency] Pledis Entertainment again.”
Jeonghan was absent due to a recent ankle surgery following an injury he sustained last month.
“To be honored at such a prestigious ceremony as the Golden Disc Awards is just so overwhelming, especially with the senior artists and fellow artists who we grew up listening to,” Seungkwan said.
“Our goal is to work hard and bring hope to others. We’ll try so hard that people think, ‘Is that really necessary?’ We’ll make our music even more stubbornly and diligently. Thank you.”
Seventeen was the best-selling K-pop artist in 2023.
The band's 10th EP "FML" has sold 5.5 million copies since its release in April, the highest not only this year but ever by any K-pop artist. The band's 11th EP "Seventeenth Heaven" was the No. 3 best-selling album, with 4.8 million copies sold since October.
Best Song of the Year
The most popular song of 2023 was NewJeans' "Ditto" (2022).
NewJeans beat 19 other candidates in the song category: (G)I-DLE, aespa, AKMU, DK (December), Fifty Fifty, H1-KEY, IVE, Le Sserafim, NCT Dream, STAYC, Parc Jae-jung, BSS, Seventeen, Woody, Lim Young-woong, Jungkook of BTS, Jimin of BTS, Jisoo of Blackpink and Taeyang of Big Bang.
NewJeans also received the Best Digital Song award along with (G)I-DLE, IVE, Le Sserafim, STAYC, Parc Jae-jung, BSS, Seventeen, Jungkook and Jisoo.
“2023 has been such an astonishing year for us,” member Danielle said after receiving the award from actor Ha Jung-woo. “We’ve been able to learn and share so much. We are ever so grateful for this."
“Every stage and performance we put on, we did so with a heart grateful that so many people have loved our song,” Haerin said. “We’ll keep on making many new songs, and we hope that we’ll get to enjoy it with so many people, like we’ve been doing so far.”
“Ditto” peaked at No. 82 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, a record that was later beaten by “OMG” (2023), which peaked at No. 74 upon its release. "OMG" sold 1 million copies within a month of its release, of which 20,638 were sold in Japan.
The newbie in town
The honor of the Rookie of the Year went to boy band ZeroBaseOne and girl group Fifty Fifty.
The two acts beat eight other candidates in the rookie category: BoyNextDoor, Evnne, Plave, Riize, xikers, Lun8, n.SSign and Hwang Yeong-woong.
“Thank you so much for this award,” member Sung Han-bin of ZeroBaseOne said. “We will be a ZeroBaseOne that does not forget the meaning of this award and leaps on forward.”
“I’m so honored to be given this award that you can only get once in your career, especially at the Golden Disc Awards,” Keena, the only remaining member of Fifty Fifty, said. “Thanks to everyone including CEO Oscar Chun and the staff at [my agency] Attrakt and my most beloved family.”
ZeroBaseOne and Fifty Fifty have been the hottest newbies in the 2023 K-pop town.
ZeroBaseOne debuted through one of Korea’s largest TV audition programs with the aim of becoming “the one” to lead the next chapter in K-pop, like its predecessors Wanna One, Enhypen and more.
As a boy band put together through the votes of global fans, ZeroBaseOne got off to one of the smoothest starts for a newly-debuting group.
Its debut album “Youth in the Shade” (2023) sold 1.2 million copies on the day of its release alone, becoming the first ever debuting K-pop act to sell over a million copies of its album in a day. The album also sat at No. 182 on the Billboard Global 200 chart.
Fifty Fifty was perhaps one of the hottest acts of 2023, for better or for worse.
The group debuted as a quartet on Nov. 18, 2022, and shot to the top of the charts last year when its dance track “Cupid” (2023) went viral, especially on TikTok. The group was dubbed “the miracle” of its small K-pop agency, which typically struggles to compete with larger companies loaded with money and manpower.
Things took a turn for the worse when the four members filed for an injunction against their agency Attrakt, claiming that the company mistreated them and refused to share the income with the members. In a surprise turn of events, however, the public and the court sided with the agency rather than the members, and three members were kicked out of the agency and the group — with the exception of Keena, who returned to the agency after apologizing to the CEO.
Fifty Fifty is now a one-woman band with Keena as the sole remaining member.
Music for all ears
Other special honors included the Global K-pop Artist award given to boy band Stray Kids, whose two albums "5-STAR" (2023) and "Rock-STAR" (2023) sold over 5 million copies and 3 million copies last year alone.
Min Hee-jin, the mastermind behind the debut of girl group NewJeans and CEO of its label ADOR — a subsidiary of HYBE —, received the Best Producer award. BoyNextDoor, another rookie boy band under the HYBE umbrella, took home the Next Generation award.
The Bugs Favorite Golden Disc Most Popular Artist Award, which is given to the two acts who receive the highest number of votes on Bugs' voting service Favorite, went to trot singer Lim Young-woong and Jisoo of girl group Blackpink.
Tomorrow X Together won the Indonesia Fans Choice with Mandiri award, which exclusively counted the local votes from Indonesia.
The 38th Golden Disc Awards was the fifth time that the music awards ceremony was held outside of Korea, following the 26th edition in Japan, 27th in Malaysia, 29th in China and 37th in Thailand. The Golden Disc Awards began in 1986 to recognize and honor the popular music that garners significant attention each year.
K-pop's biggest stars shone at the awards ceremony, putting on never-before-seen performances for the global audience.
Boy bands Seventeen, Stray Kids, Tomorrow X Together, Enhypen, BoyNextDoor, Parc Jae-jung, La Poem and ZeroBaseOne and girl groups NewJeans, IVE, Le Sserafim, STAYC and Fifty Fifty’s Keena all took the stage, while hosts Sung and Cha also flaunted their soft vocals in a special duet stage for the show.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]