Insert Foot: Why does K-Pop sensation BTS have seven members?

BTS, Kpop, K-pop

Insert Foot discovers BTS.

Editor’s note: Work with us here… Mr. Insert Foot, in many ways, is like RIFF’s curmudgeonly dad. He’s open to new ideas, but it takes a while! Next month, we’ll talk to him about the 23-member NCT.

I was messing around the other day (working) and stumbled onto a BTS video. Which was weird (horrible).

Actually, it wasn’t. It was just … there. Like boy band videos have been for thousands of years (there’s a Jesus and the Disco Disciples joke out there I’m not quite brave enough to attempt).

What I am is a middle-aged suburban man whose former employer made him drive to sports arenas on weeknights to watch boy bands. I’ve seen them. I’ve reviewed them. I received death threats from fans for whom puberty was still theoretical.

I’ve seen Backstreet Boys, InSyncers, 98 degrees of Kevin Bacon … all the greats. I even went to a Hanson show and lost my daughter, because I used to believe putting kids on leashes was a bad idea (I “found” her when she remembered I was her ride). So I’ve seen these things before.

I also now know that BTS has its own specialty meal at McDonald’s. Which, I don’t understand but, considering I’m pretty sure I saw a Backstreet Boy working at McDonald’s in 2015, I say more power to them. Sell some cheese and make that money while the making is good.

But I do have one question.

Why does BTS have seven members?

I’m almost serious. Two extra members is a lot to think about, isn’t it? Six wasn’t enough. I thought the legal limit was five. Seven just looks wrong. I mean, I get it when you’re the Jackson 5 and Randy and LaToya get to go on tour because no one trusts them staying home alone. Two extra members is a lot to think about, isn’t it? And they still made a couple Jacksons wear instruments to look busy.

I did a little research–because my life lacks meaning–and found a gossip writer named Nicki Swift, of whom I’ve never heard because no one gives me money to rewrite pointless pop culture drool anymore.

Swift actually wrote about the phenomenon of BTS having to be comprised of seven young men.

Turns out, seven is actually not a lot of people for a K-Pop band.

How fascinating, I thought. I’ve played places where seven people standing near a stage would be considered a triumphant mob. Maybe I don’t get this.

Swift wrote:

“BTS members include Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. The seven guys first met as members of their label’s ‘training camp,’ a sort of K-Pop college that prepared them for life as a pop star, reported Insider. So why seven? According to Popbuzz, it’s just pure math. Part of the K-Pop brand is connecting with their fans and forming a large social media presence, which is why BTS formed their fan A.R.M.Y., which actually stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth.”

Math … no wonder I don’t understand. But why seven?

“Giving fans a large variety of people to fall in love with helps increase the group’s popularity.”

Oh. So it’s about popularity?

“A large variety” … with the same haircut and clothes. Though, to be fair, some of the hair changes color.

Here’s where things got interesting:

“In fact, at just seven members, BTS is one of the smaller K-Pop groups out there. Girls’ Generation has nine members, and EXO can have as many as 12 performing at once. Having a favorite performer, or a “bias” as it’s called in K-Pop, is a big part of forming a successful brand and is one of the reasons BTS is continually shattering records.”

Good for them. I’d like a BTS meal for my 12-year-old, please ….

I’m just happy bands are back and McDonald’s is open and taking too much of humanity’s money again. Extra cheese, please.

Follow music critic Tony Hicks at

(4) Comments

  1. Jade Melon

    Do you like this work? Because you aren't very good at it. You'd think given the opportunity to write about the biggest music group in the world (with potential to become the biggest music group in history), you'd go beyond outdated concert outings and a self-admittedly unheard-of internet celebrity gossip writer, for sources. There was zero intellectual curiosity that went into this piece. I suspect you included your personal history with boy bands as a means to posture yourself (likely jokingly) as eligible to write on the topic, but all you did was prove that longevity does not necessarily breed experience, ability, or growth; it just means you can be terrible at something for a long time. I guess I'm the clown because I thought I'd get from a supposed music discussion publication (never heard of Riff, but I was at least curious), a little dive into the roles each member brings to the team. They are a group of rappers, singers, spokes leader, classically trained dancers, producers, songwriters, composers. There are only 4 singers. If they weren't so heavily influenced in their history by hip hop (yes, BTS was originally conceptualized as a hip hop group, and was actually formed around RM, an underground hip hop artist in S. Korea), then they would be a 4-piece singing group without the 3 rappers. Is that a reasonable enough number for you? But fortunately they are so much more than that. I doubt you have ever seen a live performance of these guys. It's comical that you think the experience of seeing 90s American boybands in concert is on any level comparable to a BTS concert. These guys are performers through and through and would put any Vegas show to shame. NSync were not performing stunts and aerial flips over each other. They weren't out rapping some of the most popular rappers today. And dancing so well that they could very well be considered a dance crew. So yeah. To accomplish all that, you need all seven. But at least you touched on McDonalds and a slightly racist depiction of them all having the same haircut. This was a disappointment. It really would have been better to remain unwritten as it added nothing to the numerous discussions and articles about these talented artists which will likely be immortalized, as BTS surely will be. By the way, minimal research effort would have shown you that most of their fans are over 30, so your happy meals for 12 year olds attempt at humor falls short. It's a bit embarrassing. But all that being said, I still hope you really check them out and actually learn about what's going on in the industry you write about.

    1. Rachel

      @Jademelon , you already said what's on my mind. Mr. Tony Hicks, should you provide a subjective insight into their work you would gain respect even if you decide they are not your cup of tea after that. Shame on you that you haven't learned how to respect artists, be it BTS or others through your 22 years as a music critic. I am a 31 years old pharmacist that thoroughly enjoys the BTS meal just FYI.

  2. Sophy

    Abysmal attempt at humor in this burp of an article. Insert foot? Might want to take your head out of your ass first. Please quit this, your day job—I hear McDonald’s is hiring.

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