K-pop group Girls' Generation beats Miley, Lady Gaga at first YouTube awards

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Story highlights

  • South Korea's Girls' Generation wins year's best video at YouTube awards
  • The K-pop group beat Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga
  • The group is massively popular in Asia
  • The inaugural YouTube awards were streamed online

The South Korean girls group Girls' Generation beat the likes of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and its compatriot Psy to win the top award for video of the year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards.

The K-pop group, which is one of Asia's biggest musical acts, won for the video "I Got a Boy."

While massively popular in Asia, the reaction to its win from the American audience was muted -- with scattered applause, but mostly a long, deafening silence.

Meet the 'YouTube famous'

While Girls' Generation may be unknown to an American audience, the pop group is a national phenomenon in Korea. The group's record releases are a national event with every news outlet running stories and inciting fans to near-hysteria.

READ: How far would you travel to see Girls' Generation?

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The group might be likened to an Asian version of Spice Girls, with pop sounds, costumes and synchronized dancing. The members sing and also rap.

The YouTube Music Awards nominees were based on views, likes and comments and subscriptions over the last 12 months and fans voted for the winners.

The "I Got a Boy" video features the nine members in a pink house and then moves to the girls gyrating in front of random settings. They intermittently have random English lyrics, but mostly sing in Korean.

It's not the group's first foray into the United States, as the ladies appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and also "Live! With Kelly" last year.

READ: What does the U.S. think of Girls' Generation ?

Artist of the Year went to rapper Eminem and the award ceremony, which was streamed live online, was hosted by actor Jason Schwartzman and musician Reggie Watts. The awards reflect the growing tendency for people to turn to the internet, rather than television or radio, for music and video.

However, according to Variety magazine, at most 220,000 people watched the event online, a fraction of the 10.1 million who tuned in for the MTV Video and Music Awards in August.