Why BTS’s Grammys 2021 Performance Is Important for the Award Show’s Future

BTS and their fans were disappointed at Sunday nights Grammy Awards in Los Angeles when the award for best pop duogroup performance ended up going to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. . . But the South Korean group still made a historic mark on the Recording Academys evening with a high-energy, sharply-produced performance of Dynamite. Viewers had to wait until the very end of the nearly-four-hour show for the big moment. . . It was not their first appearance at the Grammys. that was in 2019, when the septet presented an award. It wasnt even their second time that was during 2020s show, when they made a cameo for Lil Nas Xs performance of Old Town Road Remix, popping up onstage to join in for a verse of that hit song. . . But the third time was the charm for BTS getting primetime treatment and plenty of airtimeand making history. There were over a dozen performances at the Grammys on Sunday night, from the vivacious duo of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion to a politically resonant song from Lil Baby and Killer Mike. BTS, however, stood out by becoming the first South Korean act to ever perform one of their own songs at a Grammys show. . . BTS dominated airwaves over the past year with their crossover English-language hit Dynamite. But they had been challenging the previous limits of success for K-pop and Korean acts for years, making their first big U. S. awards show appearance in 2017 after developing a reputation as a social media sensation thanks to their vocal fanbase, known as ARMY. It has been a long road for K-popan over-broad genre categorizationto gain recognition and acceptance by the global music establishment, despite its status as a multi-billion dollar industry with powerful international appeal. Even breakthrough acts, like chart-topping Gangnam Style singer PSY and earlier groups including Big Bang and Girls Generation, found the Grammys blind to their musical successes. And though the Grammys have been criticized for shortsightedness, especially in recent years, the awards show remains a global standard and mark of achievement. Its also worth noting that popular boy bands, including One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, also struggled with Grammy recognition. . . BTSs performance is part of much-needed change toward increased respect for non-Western acts. Even though BTS went home empty-handed, their status as official Grammy performers suggests a more welcoming Grammys stage in the future, one that may begin to provide much-deserved visibility for acts of all origins. Next time, maybe theyll even take the stage for a song thats entirely in Korean.

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