BTS Inspires an Exciting, Respectful & Positive Environment on 'Good Morning America' Set
From anchors doing their "homework" to a focus on the band's message, "GMA" aimed to make ARMY proud.
While BTS undoubtedly prepared and rehearsed hard-core for their meticulous performance on Good Morning America, it was clear that there was just as much preparation going on with the show itself ahead of the group's first U.S. morning show appearance.
BTS fans, known as ARMY, are passionately protective of their boys and have taken it upon themselves to educate and speak out against errors in reporting or demeaning takes on the group. In the past, fans have delivered heavy criticism to rudely dismissive anchors and poorly prepared reporters, but from the get-go, there was a clear dedication in GMA aiming to understand and respect the artist and fan culture.
Despite rain showers throughout the night, Billboard heard that fans began lining up at GMA's Times Square location at midnight ahead of the show that starts at 7 a.m. ET (and wouldn't see BTS perform till closer to 8:30). Weathering the elements was worth it, marking a rare moment for supporters to not only get to visibly support their idols on mainstream U.S. television, but undeniably prove the impact BTS is making in America, as the show is known for filming both their indoor and outdoor audiences -- a key visibility point compared to other coveted media appearances like, for example, Tonight Show that brings a limited amount of guests inside their Rockefeller Center studio.
Before the guys even took the stage, the GMA experience was keen on connecting with BTS fans in different ways. Anchor and chief meteorologist Ginger Zee introduced her younger sister in a social-media livestream as a four-year-strong member of the ARMY and later shared more about her learning experiences.
"I know for me, the first couple years [my sister] was into this, I was like, 'I don't get it,' and then I started listening to the music," said Zee, who wore a purple dress, as the color has a special meaning to BTS fans, before adding her take on ARMY. "I've learned to be very tender with my words because the ARMY is so strong. We would never want to offend. I feel like it's kind of nice. We're learning how to be humans because of them; how to be kind people."
That respect continued on-air, where GMA anchors Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan welcomed the band with hugs and handshakes. Backstage, Roberts shared she read in-depth articles about the band as part of her "homework" for the appearance, which came through when she mentioned how "it's so beautiful, everything that you're about," asking RM about the group's speech at the United Nations and staring contently at member Jungkook as he answered a question in English despite him not being fluent in it.
Meanwhile, Strahan was sure to keep the message of self-love in focus when asking the band about their latest Billboard 200 chart-topper Love Yourself: Answer, adding, "Robin's been saying all morning how she loves the message, how you guys spread love and that's what the world is about."
Roberts may have summed up ARMY best when she said, "They really appreciate your music, but they appreciate the message."
From the anchors to the audience to the crew, the appreciation for BTS was palpable, until the guys hurried offstage when the show wrapped (with Jin needing to grab V, who stayed waving to the studio audience as his members shuffled out). It's this type of mind-set and mutual respect that helps an act surpass any labels or preconceptions that can hold them back, and be seen as the artists and musicians they aim to be seen as -- which is all fans want them to be seen as too.