This month, media entertainment company SOON ENT polled 50 famous South Korean influencers with a combined worldwide follower count of 160 million to vote for the top idol acts of 2021 so far. Now, the results are finally in—here are their top 5 picks for male K-Pop acts.
5. MONSTA X
MONSTA X ranked joint-fourth overall with one influencer vote. The group started this year with a global brand endorsement for the well-known makeup company Urban Decay and an original series: Area 51: The Code in conjunction with the UNIVERSE artist-fan communication app.
After several Japanese releases from February to May, MONSTA X then came back with their ninth Korean mini-album—One of a Kind—and title track “Gambler” in June. Unfortunately, Shownu had to take a hiatus from the group to recover from retinal detachment and later announced he’ll be enlisting for his mandatory military service this month.
However, on a brighter note, MONSTA X is set to release a new single with UNIVERSE titled “Kiss or Death” next week.
4. Kang Daniel
Soloist Kang Daniel is the only solo act on the list, ranking joint-fourth with one vote from the influencer pool. At the start of this year, he scored his first American collaboration—”State of Wonder” with Inverness and Anthony Russo.
Then, he released a digital single in February. “Paranoia” went on to become Kang Daniel’s solo debut on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart. After appearing on YouTube Originals‘ K-Pop Evolution, he released Yellow and title track “Antidote”—the final part of his color-themed solo project.
On top of all that, Kang Daniel has been selected as the MC for Mnet‘s female dance crew competition show Street Woman Fighter and joined the lineup for Cyworld BGM 2021, which seeks to remake popular Cyworld background music tracks.
The only second-generation group to make the ranking, Highlight received three votes in total, putting them third in the ranking. Unfortunately for fans, Highlight went on hiatus in 2018 as the members began to enlist for mandatory military service. Now, they’re finally back.
Highlight release their third mini-album, The Blowing, as a four-member group in May this year. The Blowing peaked at no.2 on the Gaon chart, while title track “Not the End” delighted fans just as much.
2. NCT DREAM
In second place is NCT DREAM, who ranked second with four influencer votes overall. 2021 has been NCT DREAM’s biggest year yet. In May, they finally release their first studio album: Hot Sauce. The group smashed their own pre-order record by 243% with over 1.7 million copies reserved.
By the end of the month, NCT DREAM became “double million sellers” as Hot Sauce surpassed 2 million copies sold. They went on to release repackage Hello Future in June, which has now made NCT DREAM “triple million sellers.”
Finally, BTS swept the top spot in a landslide with a staggering 41 votes out of 50. BTS has been on a non-stop rollercoaster ride this year, both in South Korea and internationally. In March, they became the first Asian and first non-English speaking act to be crowned Global Recording Artist of the Year by the IFPI.
After last year’s successful BANG BANG CON, BTS held a sequel to the YouTube concert experience in April, shortly after releasing a new Japanese single. Then, they delighted ARMYs with the release of “Butter” in May this year. Billboard no.1 “Butter” broke the record for the most-viewed YouTube premiere of all time and the most viewed video in 24 hours with 108.2 million views.
BTS then scored their fifth consecutive no.1 this month with “Permission to Dance,” and were just named the Special Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture by South Korean President Moon Jae In.
See the top five female acts here: