The 'Popularity Award' of the '33rd Golden Disc Awards' is solely decided on the number of votes. BTS was in the lead for the majority of the time but with only a few days left for the voting, EXO, who was behind in second place by thousands of votes, suddenly overcame BTS. Thousands of new IDs revealed to have been suddenly created in just a few hours for EXO votes. The fans would use stolen phone numbers and vote for EXO in the 'Golden Disc Awards' app.
As a result, EXO fans are accused of illegally creating IDs with these stolen phone numbers to increase votes. One of EXO's biggest fan club, EXO LAB with more than 170,000 followers, reportedly even encouraged others to use the illegal method to vote.
A fan of another fandom criticized EXO-Ls, stating, "The 'Popularity Award,' which needs to be 100% fair, was processed in an unfair way."
On December 31, the voting for 'Popularity Award' drew to a close. BTS ultimately took first place with 42.20% of the votes. EXO followed in second with 42.04%.
EXO did not win the 'Popularity Award,' however, fans of other fandoms are demanding an investigation into the matter. One fan stated, "Aside from the voting results, it's clear that the voting process was not fair. In order to revive the trust, they must carry on an investigation and make sure such an incident doesn't happen again."
Meanwhile, the '33rd Golden Disc Awards' is scheduled to take place on January 5-6.