EXO didn’t attend the MAMA awards ceremony for 3 years in a row, and fans believe they have a reason to do so.
2017 was the last time EXO appeared at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) even though they won the Daesang for 5 years in a row. The group was still nominated for years, not in attendance. Everything was so tense that since 2018, many famous fanbases of EXO did not encourage EXO-L to vote for MAMA because they did not support the award ceremony.
Fans believe that this award ceremony manipulated the results, lacked respect for artists and fans. Especially, EXO was also the victim of Mnet and MAMA despite being a famous group. The bad relationship between EXO and Mnet was mentioned after MAMA became the focus of criticism for its unfair treatment of the idols participating in this year’s awards ceremony.
2015: Deleted EXO’s performance
EXO-L started getting angry with Mnet in June 2015. The SM male group video performing the song Love Me Right had reached 700,000 views, but Mnet suddenly deleted it to “edit the quality”. Deleting the video means that hundreds of thousands of views would be lost, so even Mnet quickly reposted this video, the views would not return.
This made fans extremely angry because YouTube views have long been an important criterion for evaluating achievements or awards. Moreover, other groups had not had their videos deleted like EXO.
2017: The worst award ceremony of EXO’s career
The last time EXO attended MAMA was in 2017, but they had a very bad experience due to the voting system.
Usually, fan votes account for 20-30% of the final result. However, at MAMA 2017, some artists with a high number of votes were surpassed by those with fewer votes. Instead of EXO or BTS, Wanna One won the Best Male Group award even though they were a rookie group at that time, or the Best Male Artist award belonged to Zico, not G-Dragon, etc.
Although some fans did not care about winning or losing, those who have worked hard to vote for idols are depressed and disappointed, feeling that their votes were meaningless. EXO was nominated in 19 fan-voted categories and they led 5 categories, but they won only 1 prize.
EXO’s order of performance is also controversial, although it is not known if this is the plan of the organizers or SM. Usually, the MAMA awards ceremony will let rookie groups perform first, and then seniors’ turn.
But at the 2015 ceremony, EXO had to perform before Wanna One even though they were a 5-year-old group at that time, and the boy group that won Produce 101 season 2 only debuted 4 months ago. This made EXO-L dissatisfied, claiming that the organizers lacked respect for EXO, and treated the group unfairly.
Not only that, but EXO fans were mistreated at the awards ceremony. They were pressed into the barrier, confiscated the lightstick, many people even thought that this was a “conspiracy” to create “a silent black ocean” during EXO’s performance. Moreover, the group’s performance was interrupted and had audio problems.
Song Joong Ki – the host of MAMA 2017 said that EXO was sad and cried backstage. The boys also burst into tears when they received the Daesang Album of the Year award. At that time, Baekhyun encouraged fans: “We won the award, now you can go home and rest. You have worked hard, we will meet again next year.”
But EXO did not return to MAMA for the next 3 years, some SM artists did not have a good relationship with this award ceremony. Suho even told EXO-L that they don’t need to vote: “You guys don’t need to vote, because you are already a Daesang award for us.”
2019: Not attending the ceremony, but EXO’s heartbreaking moment was distorted
EXO was absent from MAMA 2019, but they still appeared on the VCR, Mnet used a part of the MV MAMA of EXO in the award ceremony video, but the group’s image was crossed out, implying that MAMA here was the name of that awards ceremony, not the title of EXO’s debut song. Before the protests from fans, Mnet had to remove the video from the social network accounts.
However, what made the fans most angry was that the moment when EXO cried at MAMA 2017, was distorted into… tears of joy in another video.
Fans were extremely angry because after what the group endured at the 2017 ceremony, they know that pain was the real reason behind EXO’s tears. As a result, EXO-L trended the hashtag #MAMAApologizetoEXO (MAMA apologizes to EXO) to request a satisfactory explanation.
EXO is not the only group to be treated unfairly, but what happened to them is the most controversial. Every year, fans mention the past incidents with the hope that MAMA will change and treat idols better.