It was regarding one specific category last year.
On October 19 (KST), the nominations for the 2023 MAMA Awards were released, drawing some significant backlash from netizens who felt that the list was “rigged.”
The allegations came from multiple fanbases, who stated reasons for believing that certain idols were snubbed in certain categories. The exclusion of BTS’s RM and Jin from the best music video nominations, no performance-related nomination for ATEEZ, and a visible absence of JYP’s fourth-generation groups were some of the primary driving forces of fans’ dissatisfaction and anger.
However, this is not the first time the award show has been accused of being rigged. In 2022, fans made similar allegations regarding possible voting manipulation. Many different groups and idols were nominated for this category, and the acts were to be narrowed to the top ten through these votes for the final stage.
A Korean forum post put together a compilation of different graphs showing the voting for the groups, which flagged suspicions about certain groups’ votes being manipulated. The graphs for groups like BLACKPINK, aespa, BTS, and Stray Kids showed a consistent pattern with clear moments of momentum.
On the other hand, groups like NCT 127, TXT, and ATEEZ saw a few huge peaks, but the rest of the results were consistent.
However, the graphs for groups like IVE, DREAMCATCHER, LOONA, Kep1er, and Brave Girls saw a huge increase in voting in a short span of time.
This led to suspicions that bots were being used to boost certain groups into the top ten positions. Though some were ready to give the situation the benefit of the doubt, all of the groups showing inconsistent voting patterns were pushed into the top 20 within the next few days.
The controversy grew so much that the network organizing the show, Mnet, had to step in and issue statements to address the accusations.
The “2022 MAMA AWARDS” voting currently being held by Mnet Plus is being thoroughly verified step by step to ensure that a transparent and fair voting takes place throughout the entire
process from joining membership to opening and closing of voting.
The entire voting process discloses the total number of votes and the percentage of votes per artist in real time so that all global K-POP fans can see it.
However, another portion of the statement created ambiguity about any possible “rigging” in the voting process.
In addition, data identified as fraudulent voting during the monitoring process will be excluded from the final aggregation.
Mnet also urged fans to keep the process fair and asked for their cooperation in the same statement.
We ask for your cooperation in creating a proper voting culture so that the voices of K-POP artists and global K-POP fans who support these artists can be reflected honestly in the voting process.
Notably, none of the groups that got embroiled in the controversy ended up in the top 10 when the final awards were announced. However, it looks like the lack of trust between fans and the award show has stayed put even a year later.