Award-winning international actress and singer Lea Salonga suddenly made online buzz after she praised Korean band BTS for their latest hit single “Dynamite.”
The group’s fans, known as A.R.M.Y., were stoked that a celebrated Asian artist like her became a fan because of the song.
In her interview with Theater Mania, which was streamed on YouTube on September 1, Salonga recalled that she was initially impressed by BTS’s live performance at the New York Times Square during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest last December 31.
However, it was the release of the music video “Dynamite” on August 21 that made her fall “into the rabbit hole” of BTS.
“I’m a brand-new fan, well not brand new. I mean I saw them in New York’s Rockin’ Eve and I was really, really impressed. But I think it was when ‘Dynamite’ came out, that was when I was like…okay…into the rabbit hole I go and that’s it. Bye! You won’t see me for a while,” she said.
Salonga later expressed her admiration for BTS being the first Asian artist to score the top spot in Billboard’s Hot 100, a main music chart in the United States.
“And somebody who’s Asian, do you have any idea how happy I am that they got Billboard’s number 1 spot at Billboard’s Hot 100 chart?” she said.
“These are Asian men, beautiful Asian men, who have just done something that so many artists are hoping to achieve someday in their career,” she added.
She continued to commend their hard work for their music and live performances.
“They work really hard. Probably harder than so many other people do. Really driven, focused, ambitious, and disciplined,” Salonga said.
A video clip of this interview circulated among fan accounts of the group on Twitter and they were thankful that she recognized the members’ talent and that their music brought her happiness amid the pandemic.
“They work really hard. Probably harder than so many other people do. Really driven, focused, ambitious, & disciplined”
— Celine 🐯 (@elmariachiu) September 2, 2020
So far, the actress’ name had been trending on Twitter with over 7,000 tweets.
A Twitter user shared screenshots of Salonga’s old tweets where she talked about BTS since 2019 when their previous record-breaking track “Boy with Luv” was released.
Lea Salonga fangirling over #BTS
FROM "Guys, who was that K-POP boy band on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve??? Because, YAAAAAAAAS!!!!!"
TO "I’ve fallen into a BTS rabbit hole, and no, I don’t need saving.” CUTIE ♡ pic.twitter.com/OV8QEapGnj
— mavelline new york (@mspdmnggg) September 3, 2020
How Salonga took her fangirling to the next level
Salonga took her fangirling to the next level when she wrote a column dedicated to BTS on September 3.
“Backstory’s out!” she tweeted.
Backstory’s out! https://t.co/9AfuGZOEZ1
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) September 2, 2020
In her column, she detailed their success story from the ground up and how much the disco-inspired song meant to her.
“Maybe unintentionally, ‘Dynamite’ is a response to everyone spewing hatred and bile in this terrible environment. BTS through this one song is lighting up the sky with positivity and love, comforting and cheering us on during this frightening time, and reminding us that there’s still beauty and goodness left in the world,” Salonga said.
Salonga is a renowned actress and singer who won multiple awards in theater and acting, particularly the much-coveted Tony Awards for “Miss Saigon.”
BTS, who comprises RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook, has topped the Billboard 200 charts since 2018, which was last achieved by the English rock band The Beatles in the 1960s.
While “Dynamite” was their first number 1, it is their fourth song that made it to the top 10 of the Hot 100. The other three are “On” at number 4, “Boy With Luv” at number 8 and “Fake Love” at number 10.