Idol (BTS song)

12 hours ago
Albert Flores

"Idol" (stylized in all caps) is a song recorded by South Korean boy band BTS, released on August 24, 2018, by Big Hit Entertainment as the lead single from their third compilation album Love Yourself: Answer (2018). An alternative version of the song, which features Nicki Minaj, was also included as a bonus track with the digital album. The single debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the two versions combined sold 43,000 downloads in their first week of sale in the US. It is certified platinum by the RIAA.

On July 3, 2019, the Japanese version of the song was released as a B-side track, along with the Japanese version of "Boy with Luv" and an original Japanese track titled "Lights".

Background and release

The day before the release of the single when its trailer was released, rumors about a collaboration track between BTS and Nicki Minaj had surfaced when Shazam identified the teaser video of the track as "Idol by BTS (feat. Nicki Minaj)". +more On August 24, 2018, two hours before the official release of the album, Big Hit Entertainment confirmed that an alternative version of "Idol" featuring Nicki Minaj would be included in the digital version of the album as a bonus track.

After its release, the song inspired an Internet dance challenge known as the "Idol Challenge", in which people dance to the chorus of the song, to try out the song's choreography. The challenge has been done by different celebrities such as +moreA. P_(South_Korean_band)'>B. A. P member Zelo and Stephen "tWitch" Boss on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


As described by Billboard's Tamar Herman, "Idol" is a "traditionally inspired track" featuring different classical Korean instruments. According to media outlets, the song and the music video were inspired by Korean genre pansori and John Woo's 1997 movie Face/Off. +more Yonhap reported, "The song is electronic dance music in the style of South African dance music. The African beats are layered with traditional Korean rhythms, as well as the pounding of a Korean folk percussion instrument used in the performance of traditional Korean farmers' ensemble. Rolling Stone India said, "According to the group's label Big Hit Entertainment, “Idol” was inspired by gqom, a style of house music that originated in Durban, South Africa. Gqom combines powerful traditional thumping drum with bass and house synths in a balance between tradition and trend. " adding, "The track's blend of Korean instruments like the gakgung (the Korean horn-bow which explains the shehnai-like sounds) with African rhythms, trap rap and electronica contribute to expanding its culturally rich, diverse, global sound".

"Idol" is in the key of C# minor and incorporates various styles such as pop, world, contemporary R&B, and K-pop. Both versions are 126 beats per minute. +more One of the writers, Ali Tamposi, stated the rep from Big Hit wanted the song to feel intense.

In 2020, the lyrics of "Idol" were displayed in an special exhibition titled "Korean Pop Lyrics: Melodies of Life" at the National Hangeul Museum in Seoul.

Music video

On August 22, 2018, the teaser video of the track was released, while the full music video was released on August 24. YouTube's official tally saw the music video garner over 56 million views within 24 hours of its release, breaking Blackpink's previous record for "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du", of being the most viewed K-pop group music video within the first 24 hours and making it the most watched music video within the first 24 hours, surpassing American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift's music video for “Look What You Made Me Do”, which recorded 43. +more2 million views in 2017. On August 29, 2018, the music video became the fastest to reach 100 million views on YouTube in 2018. The record was eventually broken in December 2018 by Ariana Grande, with the song "Thank U, Next".

On September 6, 2018, the music video featuring Nicki Minaj was released. The music video is similar to the original music video, but with some additional scenes and Nicki Minaj rapping her part with Korean transliteration of the lyrics at her back. +more The video ends with several "Idol Challenge" video clips uploaded from their fans.

The music video was created by the director Choi Yong-seok of Lumpens. Assistant directors include Guzza, MinJe, Jeong, Park Hye-heong all from Lumpens. +more The director of photography was Man Hyun-woo from GDW. Other key personnel are Song Hyun-seok who controlled the gaffer, Kim Bona and Park Jin-sil as art directors, Ahn Ye-min and Lee Hyun-seung making up the art team. Song Sukki as the construction manager, Ma Seung-keun working the show light, and Kang Jong working the lift operator. The key scenic artists were Hong Yeong-jun, Lim Kwang-hyun, and Seo Sang-hyeok. As of August 2021, the video has surpassed over 980 million views on YouTube.

Critical reception

Raisa Bruner of Time described the song as "a clubby, beat-heavy track that pulses with energy and a sax melody line off the top", with the song being "hard-charging" during its runtime. Regarding the collaboration with Minaj, Bruner thought that the "collaboration mark[s] the beginning of BTS’ impending arrival on the U. +moreS. scene. ".

Commercial performance

In the United States, "Idol" debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was ranked first in sales for the week, the two versions combined selling 43,000 downloads in their first week of sales, and generated 24. 4 million first-week streams combined. +more The song dropped 70 positions in its second week, charting at number 81. PopBuzz ranked it on their list "The best music videos of 2018 (so far)".

In January 2019 it was announced that BTS would collaborate with the manufacturer Mattel to create dolls modeled off the outfits from the music video "Idol".


Music BankAugust 31, 2018
September 7, 2018
September 14, 2018
InkigayoSeptember 2, 2018
InkigayoSeptember 9, 2018
InkigayoSeptember 16, 2018
Show ChampionSeptember 5, 2018
Show ChampionSeptember 12, 2018

Weekly Popularity AwardSeptember 3
September 10
September 17
September 24
October 1


BTS promoted the song on various music programs in South Korea including M Countdown, Music Bank, Show! Music Core, and Inkigayo garnering a total of eight wins despite its short promotion. On December 1, 2018, BTS performed the single at the Melon Music Awards. +more In the same month they promoted it at SBS Gayo Daejeon. The song was promoted at the 2018 MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards and MBC Gayo Daejejeon as well. In 2019 it was performed at the Seoul Music Awards.

BTS performed the single on America's Got Talent Season 13 semi-final which was aired September 12, 2018. They also performed it on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America.

On October 12, 2018, the group performed the single on The Graham Norton Show in the UK.

Track listing

Credits and personnel

Korean version

The song's original credits are adapted from the CD liner notes of Love Yourself: Answer.

*Pdogg - producer, keyboard, synthesizer, vocal & rap arrangement, digital editing, recording engineer @ Dogg Bounce *Supreme Boi - producer, chorus, gang vocal, vocal & rap arrangement, digital editing, recording engineer @ The Rock Pitt *”Hitman” Bang - producer *Ali Tamposi - producer *Roman Campolo - producer *RM - producer, gang vocal *Jungkook - chorus, gang vocal *J-Hope - gang vocal *ADORA - digital editing *Hiss noise - digital editing *James F. Reynolds - mix engineer

Usage in media

"Idol" is featured in the heavily panned YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls Rewind.


Weekly charts

Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)38
Ireland (IRMA)33
Japan Hot 100 (Billboard Japan)11
Malaysia (RIM)1
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)2
Singapore (RIAS)1
South Korea (Gaon)1
South Korea (Kpop Hot 100)1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)60
UK Independent Singles3

Argentina (Argentina Hot 100)48
Argentina Anglo (Monitor Latino)14
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)5
France (SNEP)103
Finland Digital Song Sales (Billboard)1
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)1
Italy (FIMI)88
Japan Hot 100 (Billboard Japan)47
Mexico Ingles Airplay (Billboard)24
South Korea (Gaon)86
South Korea (Kpop Hot 100)10
Sweden Digital Songs (Billboard)1
US Billboard Hot 10011

Year-end charts

South Korea (Gaon)70
Chart (2019)Position
Japan (Japan Hot 100)92
South Korea (Gaon)49
Chart (2020)Position
South Korea (Gaon)164


Release history

VariousAugust 24, 2018OriginalBig Hit
United KingdomOctober 12, 2018Contemporary hit radioNicki Minaj Remix


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