BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, has become the first K-pop group to win at the Billboard Music Awards.

The South Korean boy band grabbed the top social artiste category award at the high profile event on May 21, held in Las Vegas. It was the first time that a Korean artiste won at the global awards since Psy was honoured in the top streaming song (video) category with his worldwide smash-hit Gangnam Style in 2013.

BTS edged out tough competition for the award including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes.

“We still cannot believe that we’re standing here on this stage at the Billboard Music Awards. Oh my gosh. It’s so great to see all the artistes we admire and we feel honoured to be in this category with all these great artistes right in front of us,” Rap Monster, the leader BTS said during the acceptance speech.

“This award belongs to the every people (sic) all around the world that shines. I love you and thank you very much!”

According to Billboard, the winner was chosen based on major fan interactions with music, which includes album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring, social engagement and the result of a global online vote by fans. These were tracked from March 2016 to March this year.

The seven-member group has been going strong on several Billboard music charts, topping Social 50 for 25 weeks and ranking No.16 on Artists 100. Four consecutive albums of BTS also made it on the Billboard 200 chart, including its latest album release Wings: You Never Walk Alone. The track Spring Day landed at No.15 on the Bubbling under 100 chart and Not Today stood at the top of the weeks Twitter Top Tracks.

Prior to the music event, the group was interviewed by Billboard and ABC’s Good Morning America. The group’s fans exploded with excitement when a picture of BTS with other superstars like The Chainsmokers, singer-songwriter Halsey and Camila Cabello emerged online.

BTS was showered with congratulatory messages on social media from those in the music circles in and out of Korea, including Apple Music and Bang Si-hyuk, CEO and producer at the band’s agency Big Hit Entertainment.

BTS’ fashion also became a hot issue at the annual award. Vogue magazine praised the seven members’ black suits.

“Each look played off the other, yet stood on its own ground – a pitch-perfect red carpet debut,” the fashion magazine said on social media.

Since its debut in 2013 with No More Dream from its first album 2 Cool 4 Skool BTS has gained international fame and high popularity worldwide. – The Korea Herald/Asia News Network/Ye-eun