Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande lead MTV Video Music Awards nominations, K-pop fans upset

Ariana Grande's (left) break-up anthem thank u, next and Taylor Swift's You Need To Calm Down, in which she criticises social media trolls, will contend for the top prizes of song of the year, best pop and video of the year. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande dominated nominations on Tuesday (July 23) for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) with 10 apiece, but some K-pop fans cried foul when best-selling Korean bands were placed in a separate category.

Grande's breakup anthem thank u, next and Swift's You Need To Calm Down, in which she criticises social media trolls and those who attack LGBTQ people, will contend for the top prizes of song of the year, best pop, and video of the year.

Grande also got a nod for artist of the year along with rapper Cardi B, 17-year-old newcomer Billie Eilish, Halsey, the Jonas Brothers and Shawn Mendes.

Korean boy band BTS, which has led a K-pop music wave in the United States and scored three No.1 albums on the Billboard chart in the past year, got four nominations, all for its Boy With Luv single featuring American singer Halsey.

One was in the newly created K-pop category and the others were for choreography, art direction and collaboration. BTS were missing from the artist, video and song of the year fields.

"bts outsold,,, EVERY SINGLE,,, artist in the artist of the year category but the vmas didn't wanna see that so they made a whole new category just to not acknowledge the power and influence bts has had over the whole industry," tweeted a BTS fan called Chioma.

"I am getting so sick of the westerners not giving BTS the due respect. They ignore stats, facts, achievements, charts and the people as well," a user called Shivani Shintre posted on Twitter.

Other nominees in the K-pop field include girl band BlackPink, Monsta X, NCT 127, EXO and Tomorrow X Together.

Fans vote on the winners of the VMA awards, which will be announced at a show in Newark, New Jersey, on Aug 26, but they do not vote on the nominations.

The new Video for Good field features songs deemed to have raised awareness. It includes Swift's You Need To Calm Down, Halsey's female-empowering Nightmare, Lil Dicky's environmentally themed Earth and John Legend's Preach about social injustices.

Other nominees in the category include The Killers' Land Of The Free, a protest against US President Donald Trump's planned wall on the US-Mexican border, and Runaway Train about missing children.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.