BTS documentary

BTS Documentary Series ‘Burn The Stage’ Premieres on YouTube Red

'Burn the Stage' shows the good, the bad and the ugly of the K-pop industry.
April 5, 2018
8 mins read

YouTube has just premiered the BTS documentary series “Burn The Stage” exclusively on YouTube Red, marking the K-pop group’s first original series with the platform. The group has released several series in the past, including “American Hustle Life” and “Bon Voyage,” but none of them have been as personal or intimate as “Burn The Stage.”

The show takes a behind-the-scenes look at the seven members’ lives during their monumental 2017 tour dubbed “The Wings Tour,” which lasted from February 2017 to December 2017. It is the group’s largest tour to date, with shows spanning across 12 different countries to an audience of over 550,000 fans.

As BTS member Suga explained in the series, the number of shows the group performed on “The Wings Tour” is equal to the combined sum of all of the shows they’ve performed previously. Since they have never performed a tour as big as this one, the members noted in the BTS documentary that they feel pressured to make each show flawless, especially because they will be performing in countries and venues they have never been to before.

The first episode of “Burn The Stage,” titled “I’d do it all,” could not have a more fitting title since it explains the members’ feelings of wanting to “do it all,” which can sometimes be impossible.

As such, the members wanted to make their documentary series more “raw” than any show they have ever released before. They also wanted to include footage they wouldn’t normally show fans, such as showing the members without makeup, outlining what they do in hotel rooms and even arguing with each other.

Being a K-pop idol comes with a lot of expectations, and the BTS documentary series ditches all those expectations to show the reality of living life on the road, which is not as glamorous as some people may think it is.

Episode 1 primarily serves as an introduction to the rest of the series by showing glimpses of what’s to come in future episodes. There are flashes of members appearing to suffer from exhaustion, which the series explains further in the following episode titled “You already have the answer.”

In Episode 2, the youngest member, Jungkook, nearly faints from overworking himself. During his interview for the series, Jungkook reflects on the event and says, “I think I overestimated myself.” The scene comes as a surprise to fans since, on that day, they saw Jungkook on stage appearing to act normal, showing no indication that he was feeling anything other than happiness or excitement.

The scene that takes place is intense, showing images of Jungkook feeling overheated. His crew tries to cool him off by fanning him and placing an ice pack on his back, but it’s clear that his unhealthy state comes from more than just feeling too hot; it also comes from feeling exhausted after a long day of rehearsals.

The other members worry about him, and BTS leader, RM, tells Jungkook not to push himself too hard. Still, Jungkook insists on continuing with the performance because it’s his one chance of performing for his fans in Chile, and he didn’t want to disappoint them. All the chaos takes place within a matter of minutes, all while fans in the venue are unaware of what’s really taking place behind the stage.

At the same time, Jimin is also backstage suffering from not only being tired but also feeling disappointed in himself due to his performance. He feels as if he “messed up” because his voice cracked during his solo song, but a crew member reassures him that it wasn’t a big deal.

Jimin explains that even if it’s small, a mistake makes him feel guilty because it’s something that he can’t take back. As the members explained in the first episode, their concerts are a way of introducing themselves to fans, and if their performances aren’t perfect, they feel as if they’ve let their fans down.

What the two scenes show is that even stars have their own insecurities. Despite the fact that the group is already successful and loved by so many fans, the members feel as if they could always do better, a mindset that can be both motivational and damaging if taken too far.

Fans of the group have become accustomed to seeing their idols smiling and laughing with one another, appearing to be content at all times. In the group’s show “Bon Voyage,” for example, the guys vacation to various parts of the world, where they spend their time shopping, eating out and visiting tourist attractions.

The series is lighthearted, and the only time the members appear upset is when they set up a hidden camera prank to pretend they are angry with one another or upset over a certain situation. That said, in “Burn The Stage,” all the footage, emotions and reactions from the BTS members are authentic, tearing down any illusion that the BTS members’s lives are without hardships.

The BTS documentary series isn’t all serious, though, since it balances the darker scenes with more hopeful or playful moments between the members. In the second episode, for instance, fans also see a scene where Jungkook playfully imitates the other guys’ solo performances by exaggerating the choreography, making the other members laugh hysterically.

During their rehearsals for the tour, the guys also mix serious conversations and practices with more humorous exchanges by teasing one another, giving themselves a bit of a break from what could be a mundane or repetitive task.

The BTS documentary series “Burn The Stage” ultimately feels refreshing among the group’s previous projects since it allows fans to get to know the real people behind the celebrities. The series does not depict the K-pop idol life as glamorous, but instead as a life of struggle, hard work and perseverance.

The BTS members, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, all show themselves unfiltered and firmly declare that what fans have seen in the past was merely a mirage. “Burn The Stage” will run through the months of April and May, with one episode airing on YouTube Red per week. You can keep up with the series by clicking here.

Michele Mendez, Temple University

Writer Profile

Michele Mendez

Temple University
Media Studies and Production

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