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BTS's Jungkook will perform at Qatar FIFA, Dua Lipa won't. How is the 'Army' reacting?

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaNov 17, 2022 | 17:49

BTS's Jungkook will perform at Qatar FIFA, Dua Lipa won't. How is the 'Army' reacting?

Jungkook will be performing on November 20 along with Black Eyed Peas and others while Dua Lipa has cancelled her appearance on humanitarian grounds (photo-DailyO)

This year's Qatar World Cup is arguably the most controversial FIFA tournament in recent times. With all the growing human rights concerns, it's only natural for celebrities to turn down any brand endorsements lest they generate any negative PR. 

But the controversies don’t matter to BTS alumnus Jungkook, who has landed on Qatari soil and is ready to grace the FIFA World Cup 2022 opening ceremony on November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor near Doha.

Dua Lipa rejects FIFA on humanitarian grounds: Jungkook’s appearance comes in the aftermath of Dua Lipa rejecting an offer to perform at the ceremony. The Levitating hitmaker took a sarcastic jab at the Gulf state, saying that she would be ready to perform when it has “fulfilled all the human right pledges it made when it won the right to host” (winning the bid to host is another story altogether, btw).

Qatar’s homophobic laws and sketchy construction worker deaths might be the driving factors behind her backing out. 

To quote the British disco-pop icon’s Instagram story, 

“I will not be performing & nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform. I will be cheering England on from afar & I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host.”

BTS Army divided over Jungkook’s performance: Hordes of BTS fans (who are collectively placed under the umbrella term “Army”) showered their love on Jungkook from the moment he landed at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport. 

Some diehard Jungkook fans are also glad that he’s getting a global stage to showcase his solo presence away from BTS. 

At the same time, a few BTS Army members also expressed their disappointment, even going to the extent of calling Jungkook and HYBE Entertainment (BTS’s management agency) hypocrites.

His presence at the ceremony seems to be tonedeaf especially given that BTS delivered a much-lauded speech at the United Nations headquarters at New York this June. The speech was mainly aimed at addressing violence against children, inspiring the younger generations, vaccination, and climate change. 

What is Jungkook’s politics? While Jungkook has never been too vocal about his individual political views, BTS as a collective has often been on the forefront when it comes to donating for humanitarian causes. Back in 2020, following George Floyd’s death, BTS and Big Hit Entertainment (which is now renamed to HYBE) raised nearly $1 million for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Back in 2014, the South Korean ferry MV Sewol capsized leading to 299 on-board deaths. BTS members actively raised funds for the families of the victims. Additionally, they have contributed to several schools in their native country and UNICEF programs to promote universal education. 

Apart from their UN speech making headlines this year, BTS also visited American President Joe Biden at the White House this May to address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.

  • So, naturally with all this talk on fighting racism and hatred, Jungkook performing at an outright queerphobic country (the tournament’s own ambassador drew flak for referring to homosexuality as a mental issue) comes as a shock. 

Who will be joining Jungkook? The K-pop star will be joined by American electro-pop/hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin, and British popstar Robbie Williams. Other high profile artists will continue performing at the FIFA Fan Festival in Qatar in the weeks to follow, including rapper Post Malone, electronic producer Calvin Harris, and Adam Levine’s pop rock band Maroon 5. Even Nora Fatehi is supposed to be a part of this festival! 

Other artists who won’t be performing: British pop legend Rod Stewart has been another major name to have turned down the tournament for humanitarian reasons. Speaking to Sunday Times, the veteran musician revealed that he was being offered over a million dollars but he rejected the opportunity as “it’s not okay to go”. Stewart even went on to add that Iran needs to be outed from the tournament for the vaguely-worded reason of “supplying weapons”. 

Colombian singer Shakira, who has had a long relationship with FIFA singing 2010’s Waka Waka and 2014’s La La La was also slated to perform at the opening ceremony, but she supposedly had a change of heart last week. Shakira has been in the news recently for her highly-publicised split with Spanish footballer Gerard Pique and an ongoing case of tax fraud. Any more negative publicity at Qatar cannot be afforded by her PR team.

Additionally, the British alternative-rock outfit The Cure can also not perform, with their frontman Robert Smith citing a current European tour as the reason.

The opening ceremony will take place on November 20 right before the first match between Qatar and Ecuador.

Last updated: November 17, 2022 | 17:49
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