Metro Team Reacts to BTS 'Map of the Soul' ON:E
Unforgettable performances, killer looks, iconic solos, the remixes, the nostalgia—we have too many favorite moments from the epic weekend!
A true force to be reckoned with in the global entertainment industry, BTS mounted an epic two-day concert over the weekend that had everyone, including our team, breathless. Garnering over a million viewers in 191 regions and countries, purple hearts all over the world came together for what was truly an outstanding show.
Still processing a lot of emotions and feelings, we ask the Metro editorial team about what they thought of BTS' virtual concert experience that was!
On the panel for this discussion:
Kate Paras: Metro.Style Beauty Editor
Grace Libero: Metro.Style People Editor and resident K-Drama expert
Cara Tirona: Metro.Style Editorial Assistant
Justin Convento: Metro.Style Culture Editor
and Leah Puyat: Resident K-Entertainment Expert!
Top 3 favorite moments from the MOTS: ONE concert? Why?
Kate: First, when the members each gave their speech on Day 1, surrounded by the virtual audience. The one where Jimin cried. You could feel the energy of ARMY from all over the world represented in each of those virtual audience boxes. And in turn, when BTS expressed their gratitude and love for ARMY through the performances they worked so hard for. Second, Jung Kook and Jimin’s solos were automatic standouts for me, but I have to say j-hope’s "EGO" was such a refreshing, surprisingly standout segment for me on both days. I just felt like the energy of the entire concert picked up after that song. And Hobi is always a ray of sunshine. Third, "We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal," with those floating ARMY cubes and ARMY bombs filling the screen. Emotions of love, longing, and hope all mixed into one beautiful song and performance. ARMY was blessed with this closing number on both days.
Grace: My bias is Jungkook, so literally everything he did on both days falls under my “favorite” list (especially that last part in “Boy With Luv” where they had their backs turned and the camera zoomed in on him; he turned his head and pouted). I also loved and appreciated each of the members’ heartwarming messages towards the encore (especially that moment when Jimin got so emotional and was almost speechless), with the huge screen showing the screens of ARMYs from all over the world. And not just seeing them and their ARMY bombs, actually, but hearing all their screams. It was just obvious how these encouraged the boys more. Lastly, I got so teary-eyed with the “We Are Bulletproof: Eternal” performance on Day 2, which was such a fitting end to an amazing 2-day online concert. I like the message of the song, with the lyrics “We were only seven / But we have you all now… We are we are together, bulletproof.” In their speech at the UN General Assembly 2020, they talked about how the pandemic caused them so much sadness and anxiety. But they said, “Life goes on. Let’s live on.” And the lyrics of “We Are Bulletproof: Eternal” can’t be more apt—they’re not only seven during this challenging time, they have their ARMYs from different parts of the world, and together, they can be each other’s batteries to power through and see a better tomorrow.
Cara: If I had to choose 3 of my favorite moments from MOTS: ONE concert, the first one would have to be the messages of the members towards the encore. Their messages made me feel their love for their fans and how much they missed us, as they repeatedly said “borahae”. I enjoyed also the silliness of the members on stage, like when Jungkook prevented Jin from doing his signature flying kiss, or when Jimin imitated Jungkook at the end of the song Boy with Luv. Lastly, their last song "We are Bulletproof: the Eternal" really moved me because it gave the viewers the message that we can overcome anything, we are bulletproof. With everything that’s happening to the world right now, the song embodies strength and empowerment that are much needed right now. I could not help but be emotional during this part, especially with the audience singing along with BTS.
Justin: Is it even possible to pick favorite moments from this VISUAL and AUDITORY feast? Everything—production, visuals, glam, looks... all of it were top notch, I was able to watch both days and their replays, but I still couldn’t quite get enough of all of it. If I must choose three moments, and in no particular order:
- Definitely the encore speeches from Day 1 and when Jimin was looking out to the crowd and about to cry. We love you, Baby Mochi! Don’t cry! Then how after their messages of hope and love for their fans, they transitioned into "We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal"… I was a crying mess!
- Cute moment that had me giggling out loud was Jungkook interrupting Jin’s kiss to the camera! Adorable!
- Jungkook grabbing the camera during the encore performance of "IDOL" on Day 2! I thought it was hilarious to see just how goofy he really is (and not just this sexy hunk of a young man standing before us)—hanging out and messing around with his hyungs.
Leah: In no order, my favorite moments are...
- When the members join J-Hope and do their improv dancing for "EGO"—it was so light and carefree and showed their deep affection for each other!
- When Namjoon said : “ we are Strong; we will find a way. If we have to redraw the map, we will do it.” It was so life -affirming and as overused as the word is when it comes to BTS, it was inspiring.
- When Taehyung winks at the little boy to amuse him and maybe also to make him comfortable. I’ve heard of this comment: in the Maknae line, Jimin looks like the baby, JK is the actual baby, and Tae IS the baby. And this childlike wonder (coupled with a sexy performance persona!) just makes him so endearing.
Favorite performances (solo and group) from the MOTS: ONE concert?
Kate: I’ve mentioned my favorites in the first question, but for group performance, for some reason I always enjoy seeing them perform "DNA". Coupled with amazing CGI, it was a feast for the senses. No wonder it’s the music video that has reached a billion+ views on Youtube already. Oh, and "RUN" is always a great song, the boys seemed to have enjoyed “running” around the venue!
Grace: My favorite is absolutely Jungkook’s “My Time” solo performance, especially on Day 2, because he was just too hot to handle with his red suit and animal print outfit and his jaw-droppingly sexy dance moves. It’s just too hard to move on from that performance! I also liked Jimin’s “Filter” solo performance because he looked sexy, too, and his quick outfit changes were very impressive.As for the group performance, I totally enjoyed “Dope” not only for the energetic performance of the boys but also for its over-the-top effects that were just so out-of-this-world amazing.
Cara: My bias is Jungkook, so there’s no doubt that my favorite solo performance would have to be "My Time". He really brought it to the stage, and he was too hot to handle. Not only did Jungkook perform really well, the meaning behind the song truly transcended through his dance moves and through the stage design! Then, my favorite group performance is "Black Swan". Even before watching the concert, "Black Swan" was really one of my favorite BTS songs, so I really enjoyed watching them perform it. The dance solo of Jimin is also worth commending. It was beautifully choreographed from start to finish.
Justin: Okay, before I get into this… I need to say that it was WONDERFUL to see everyone get such memorable solos. The songs picked out per member were so meaningful and I honestly… am still speechless. That being said, I have to choose Jungkook’s "My Time" for my favorite solo performance. Not because he is my bias and not even because he looked so good from start to finish. It was the entire meaning behind it. Apparently, once reading the English translation of the song, I understood what the performance really meant. Read the translation on Genius at this link. Another solo performance I LOVED (all caps, necessary) is "Inner Child" by V, my bias wrecker... I was bawling. (And how lucky is that kid!)
Then, my favorite group performances (yes, I can’t just choose one) are "ON" and "Black Swan". "ON" because it’s my favorite MV to watch (if you haven't yet, you need to watch ON Kinetic Manifesto), "Black Swan" because it was literal art. I could watch both over and over again. Bonus performance—"RUN" was so much fun! I was dancing and running around in my room when this came on during encore performances of Day 1.
Leah: As mothers always say, that’s like asking my favorite child. Went through Twitter posts and lots of reflecting and again in no order:
- "Black Swan" - totally transportive and emotionally impactful with the black seascape as backdrop and then Jimin’s solo! That was performance art!
- "ON" - the overall smoldering mood, the drama of having so many dancers and the primal beat of the drums all added up to a true sensory experience
- "My Time" - the lethal combination of intense acting and choreography just took my breath away.
- Oh, and "We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal"; BTS and Army all in the same orbit ; floating individually but somehow bound by the same universe. In a time of isolation and doubt , the Map of the Soul: One made me feel connected to BTS and the ARMY, and best of all, to the microcosmic complexity within myself.
Emotions/feelings about the MOTS: ONE concert?
Kate: This is my first ever BTS concert experience, and I’d have to say I was already overwhelmed with emotions. What more a live concert?! We’ll leave that one for another Editor’s Reaction in the future. *Manifesting Mode* But seriously speaking, discovering BTS was my 2020 silver lining. Did not expect to go full-on ARMY ever, but here we are. And boy have these guys blessed me with so much happiness, good vibes, and good energy this year. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I’d have to say BTS found me when I needed them most! Such a genuinely talented, hard-working, substance-driven, passionate group of guys who just want to send out messages of hope and self-love to the world. What’s not to love? Being able to enjoy an online concert over the weekend, and experiencing mind-blowing technology despite our limited local Internet capacity was a treat, and definitely makes me look forward to better, bigger things in life in general. That’s the effect BTS has on me—they make me dream again, they make me look forward to that "Spring Day".
Grace: As a new ARMY, I’m overwhelmed with joy and kilig. I didn’t want the concert to end. While my bias is Jungkook, I’m just so happy MOTS: ONE gave me a newfound appreciation for the rest of the guys. They gave their 110% for each performance in both days. They’re all so talented and special in their own ways; they complement each other so much. Their chemistry, energy, and genuine friendship can be felt onstage with their banters and pure kulitan moments. I can’t wait for the day I’d finally get to see them perform in person. If I already enjoyed this concert just from watching through my laptop, I can imagine how much more hyped I’d be when they’re actually right in front of me. They just make me smile, and hearing their music uplifts my mood. They’re truly the overall package, and I was able to prove that further through this one-of-a-kind online concert experience. The weekend was like a dream all ARMYs didn’t want to wake up from, and that’s a feeling I share with them.
Cara: While watching the concert, I really felt the group’s love for their fans. It may have been very difficult for them to cancel their tour earlier this year, so I am really glad they were able to find a way to perform for us, their ARMY. They really are happiest when they are on stage. I guess the best way to describe what I feel is to quote J-Hope when he was giving his Day 1 closing message. He said that he is 80% happy, 20% frustrated. While I am happy that I was able to watch BTS perform in concert, I felt frustrated cause I wanted to physically cheer them on. At the end of the day, it made me look forward to when I can really watch BTS live, and dance and sing along to their songs.
Justin: I’m feeling literally everything. Major hangovers and withdrawals. I think they were able to make the entire thing so special for ARMY and you could feel the love they have not just for what they do, but also for their fans. They missed performing and it showed every single second. I'm a quarantine ARMY. I've listened to BTS for years, especially in their collabs with popular artists such as Halsey, Lauv, Nicki Minaj, etc., but never loved them and appreciated them the way I do now post-"Dynamite". Since August, they have brought so much joy into my life! Beyond their music is a message of hope and loving yourself... and they came into my life at a time I needed them the most! And I definitely count them as one of my quarantine blessings—you're never lonely with these boys.
Leah: Whew, the emotions! I couldn’t have imagined how overcome with emotions the concert experience would be! Their raw honesty, their atmospheric intensity, it was just on a whole new level! I had to give a talk on why K-drama is so addictive and it led me to research on Confucian ideals, since Korean culture was shaped so much by it. And the idea of the Confucian superior gentleman is so well embodied by the members. The superior gentleman is on a quest , and his greatest trait is his innate nobility; his superpower is his own inner integrity. And BTS lets each one into their journey through their searingly vulnerable lyrics; then they just hook you in with the power of their dancing and singing.
Pick one—MOTS: ONE Day 1 or Day 2? Both?
Kate: I’d have to pick both, as both were unique, despite having almost identical setlists. The energy was quite different on day 2, I felt the guys ease up, and you know they were having a good time. Being able to pull a concert off virtually, without a live audience to cheer you on is a challenge that BTS showed up for, and killed like the pros they are. We are #blessed!
Grace: Both! While both sets are basically the same, there are so many details that were specific to each day. Sometimes you’d have to rewatch to see and appreciate the littlest details you may have missed the first time around, so having Day 2 also felt like a different experience (and then watching the replay was another story, that gave me major #sepanx too). They mentioned that this concert felt different because they didn’t have a live audience to interact with and draw energy from, and that it actually felt like they were just shooting for promo. But the technology upgrade of seeing their fans on-screen real-time was enough to motivate them. Knowing that they can be of help in cheering up their fans during such a trying time inspired them to give the best performance they could give despite the circumstances.
Cara: I honestly cannot choose between Day 1 and Day 2. Both had their own little moments that made them special and memorable. I’m just really glad that I was able to witness both days, it was really worth the money!
Justin: Both! But if just one, like I had to make a gun to my head decision, I’d pick Day 2. With both days, I feel like they went all out and did their very best, but Day 2 was another level of wow. Of course, nothing really beats the first time experiencing MOTS: ONE and so Day 1 for me was just… so much… and i wish I had the capacity to process it right now but I still don’t. Haha!
Leah: BOTH DAYS! Day 1 had more dramatic moments, when Jimin cried and their opening comments and ments were more pensive and reflective. Day 2 felt more playful and light; as if they had gotten all the drama out of their systems and their mission was just to have fun!
Comment on BTS being able to mount such an exemplary virtual experience such as this.
Kate: Being a BTS fan has opened my eyes up to all this amazing new technology and possibilities, and it only makes me look forward to what they have in store in the future. Sadly, my internet could not handle a higher resolution (1080p and 4K), so I had to settle for whatever it could give, but that in itself was already an experience. Being able to see 6 different views made you feel like you were really there. The sound quality was amazing, and the venue was stunning. Different stage setups, never a dull moment, and being able to see behind the scenes (i.e. camera men, camera cranes, exposed sets) gave it such a raw, yet still polished feel. You almost feel like you really are there, witnessing all the hyped-up action. BTS and Big Hit Entertainment never let an opportunity go to waste. They give 101% production every single time.
Grace: This is my first online concert experience, and I was truly impressed by the grandness of it all. It was so high-tech, extremely creative, and the multi-cam setup was topnotch, too (it made me feel like I was actually there)! I liked each and every setup, because they were executed flawlessly. It was such a visual feast and an otherworldly experience. Every change in setup literally got me saying “wow” and “OMG.” The whole concert was well thought out; no stone was left unturned as every detail was painstakingly conceptualized and executed. I liked the sequence and the video presentations in between, with some concepts carrying over to the performances that followed. Their outfits are so stylish and fashion-forward too!
Justin: I may sound super biased but I think only BTS could mount such a virtual experience such as MOTS: ONE. Yes, we’re all sad we couldn’t have the real concerts because of the Covid-19 pandemic… but they did the next best thing. Just like how (our President) Namjoon/RM said: "We'll find a way, we always have,” he said during the concert, referencing BTS and ARMY being able to be together during these difficult times. “If there's no way, we'll redraw the map."
What does MOTS: ONE mean for the concert industry worldwide?
Kate: These are changing times. I don’t think that the entertainment industry will ever be the same again, now that everyone has the capacity to CREATE on some level. Being a BTS fan makes me wish that entertainment industries in different countries level up too, and give more attention to the arts—it’s such an invaluable aspect of difficult times such as a global pandemic. People need escape, they need to be entertained, they need to be carried through tough times, and they need healing through music. I think that BTS’ message of hope, coupled with Big Hit’s amazing management style, and a commitment to excellence on both ends really sets them apart—truly something to be celebrated and commended for.
Grace: This was a trend-setting, pioneering online concert experience that set the bar high. It just marked a new chapter in the entertainment industry globally. I’m just in awe of how BTS did something that used to be unthinkable. We may not speak the same language, but our (purple) hearts connected. Imagine uniting more than 100 million viewers for a singular event—now, that is wow!
Cara: Through MOTS: ONE, we can truly see that distance and even a pandemic cannot stop people from gathering, although online, for their love for music.
Justin: BIG THINGS! And other music artists should take notes! From the multiview options and 4k resolutions, to even the intermissions, encores, and 1 hour of settling down and logging on for the show. So much of it really translated to an actual concert for me. I am definitely feeling the after effects of a concert high—and major separation anxiety from these boys already! I think MOTS: ONE will revolutionize the way the entertainment industry can craft experiences worth having. No second was wasted and the Big Hit team really went all out in visual effects, set design, costumes, etc. Even the inclusion of a little museum/exhibit is a treat, it’s like entering the stadium and seeing a pop up display that allows you to walk down memory lane and witness the evolution of this little boy band who could, and become the true global sensations we know and love today.
Leah: It’s a breakthrough for the industry. Of course, the face to face energy of a traditional concert will never be matched; but MOTS: ONE proved that the online concert model can be massively successful and still genuinely connective. BTS paves the way, again; and like a lighthouse in a heavy storm, it shows that there is hope for the performance industry even during a pandemic.
Missed the concert? You can still purchase tickets and enter the BTS EXHIBITION Map of the Soul at this link.
Lead photos and images in story @BTS_twt, @BTS_bighit