On Thursday, the Recording Academy announced that a special segment called “Old Town Road All-Stars” will take place during the Grammys. Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus will be joined by Diplo, Mason Ramsey and K-Pop superstars BTS.
Yes, you read correctly—BTS are performing at the Grammys.
The announcement follows Variety’s feature on Lil Nas X. The piece revealed the special stage, though the Recording Academy had not confirmed anything at the time. More speculation came out last night after Ariana Grande tweeted a photo of her and most of the group—Min Yoongi (Suga) was missing from the picture.
At first, leader and rapper Kim Namjoon (RM) was the only one reported to be performing; he collaborated with Lil Nas X on the “Seoul Town Road” remix of “Old Town Road.” However, the Recording Academy’s statement included the whole group—RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook.
From Zero Nominations to… Grammy Performers?
Although BTS’ fans should be happy about them performing, many are not taking the announcement too lightly; just search “BTS Grammys” on Twitter and you will find a plethora of tweets. But to fully understand why, allow me to start from the beginning.
In September 2018, the Grammy Museum announced “A Conversation with BTS,” an intimate event with the group and some of their fans. The event occurred after BTS’ four-night, sold-out stint at the Staples Center for their “Love Yourself” tour. They sat down with Artistic Director Scott Goldman to talk about their creative processes and what was to come next for them.
Last year, the Grammys invited BTS to present at the 2019 award show. Despite not receiving a nomination for their music, their album Love Yourself: Tear earned one for Best Recording Package; St. Vincent’s Masseduction took home the award in that category. All in all, they still made history by being the first Korean act to both be at the award show and also receive a nomination.
Following the 2019 Grammys, many believed that BTS would have a great shot at a music nomination. Billboard reported that the group submitted their song with Halsey, “Boy With Luv,” for consideration for three categories, including Record and Song of the Year. Their album, Map of the Soul: Persona, was also submitted for Album of the Year.
However when nominations came out in November, BTS were nowhere to be seen. Although the presenters mentioned global music and impact, the group remained missing. This caused some confusion because of how many records BTS broke throughout the year. With MOTS: Persona reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, it marked their third album release to do so. This made them the first artist with the most No. 1 albums within a year’s time since The Beatles. In addition, the album outsold Beyoncé’s surprise drop, Homecoming. But even so, the septet received nothing.
Many took to social media, expressing their feelings on the matter.
Halsey and producer DJ Swivel both worked with BTS and commented on the group receiving zero nominations.
With the Grammys giving BTS so much attention in the last year, it seemed like they had a chance of being nominated. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The award show isn’t the only one to receive some sort of backlash regarding topics like this one. The MTV Video Music Awards created a controversial, K-Pop specific award category last year; while including K-Pop artists was huge, many did not understand why there needed to be a separate category.
K-Pop is a genre that continues to take the world by storm, selling out venues in minutes and breaking countless records. As a K-Pop fan myself, it is hard to see these groups not receive the recognition they deserve, but we can only hope that things within the industry will change one day.
The Bright Side
In contrast to receiving zero nominations, BTS are still quite excited to be performing on “Music’s Biggest Night,” especially after RM said that they “will be back” after their appearance last year.
To see BTS perform alongside Lil Nas X and more, be sure to tune into the Grammys this Sunday at 8PM EST on CBS.