“Destroy the stage.” That’s the advice RM, the composed leader of one of the biggest pop acts in the world — BTS, of course — gave to their young, wide-eyed labelmates ahead of their first U.S. showcase tour a few months ago. “It’s all about your attitude towards the performance,” dancer and rapper J-Hope added. “Because fans know if you’re putting your heart into it.”
Watching the five members of Tomorrow X Together confidently take the stage at the PlayStation Theater in May, in the heart of New York City’s Times Square, it was clear that they were listening closely to their seniors. They performed their entire discography — all five songs — and communicated entirely in English in front of a sold-out crowd of over 2,000 fans. Not bad for a group that’s only a few months old. Though, Tomorrow X Together, pronounced “Tomorrow by Together,” aren’t your average rookies.
For an emerging Korean group, a U.S. tour is a milestone years in the making, but the steady demand for K-pop abroad has reached a fever pitch in recent years, making the Western market more accessible than ever. But for Tomorrow X Together, whose March debut EP The Dream Chapter: Star landed on the Billboard 200 and topped the World Albums chart, selling out their first U.S. showcase wasn’t just a testament to the international fanbase they’ve accumulated in such a short period of time; it was a chance to prove themselves as artists and performers — as more than BTS’s “little brothers.”
Needless to say, the pressure was on, but they didn’t let it show.
“We learned that we can perform in front of a lot of fans,” youngest member Huening Kai told MTV News of their first showcase in New York. “At first we were so nervous, but now I think it was really fun.”
But did they destroy the stage? “Of course!” said Taehyun, the group’s most quietly self-assured member despite his age. Leader Soobin takes a more practical, measured approached: “I think we did our best,” he said. “We are so thankful for BTS’s advice.”
From left to right: Taehyun, Beomgyu, Huening Kai, Yeonjun, and Soobin
Standing in front of the five members — Soobin (18), Yeonjun (19), Beomgyu (18), Taehyun (17), and Huening Kai (16) — in an executive suite of a Manhattan hotel in July, it’s easy to see how this group of teens has captured the hearts of Korean and international fans alike. They are attentive and jovial, even after a 14-hour flight from Seoul. “I watched Iron Man and Iron Man 2 on the plane,” Beomgyu said excitedly in English. He’s currently in the midst of an Iron Man phase, and in case you’re wondering: No, he hasn’t seen Avengers: Endgame; yes, he knows what happens to Iron Man. “I didn’t watch Endgame either, but they spoiled it,” oldest member Yeonjun added, pointing to Taehyun, Huening Kai, and Soobin, who are all sporting knowing grins. “They spoil everything.”
Spoilers, like disagreements, are unavoidable when five individuals spend the majority of their waking hours together, training and rehearsing. Like BTS before them, TXT (as they’re commonly referred to) even share one bedroom; the older members on the bottom bunk beds, the younger three on the top. “Hanging out with them is always fun,” Taehyun said with a wide smile. “We get very noisy,” Yeonjun added softly.
But he’s also quick to point out that it isn’t all fun and games and Marv