Music’s biggest night wouldn’t be complete without music’s biggest band: BTS! After strutting on the red carpet, they joined Lil Nas X for an epic ‘Old Town Road’ extravaganza.
Out of all the celebs at the 2020 Grammy Awards, none were as eagerly anticipated as the seven shining stars from Seoul, BTS. Arguably the kings of K-Pop, BTS — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook – arrived at the Jan. 26 awards to the roar of adulation from their fans, the ARMYs. Sadly, due to the group not getting nominated in any category, they weren’t given a solo performance slot. Thankfully, their friend Lil Nas X was, and when it came to the epic “Old Town Road All-Stars” performance — when all the acts that remixed “Old Town Road” performed the song with Lil Nas X — BTS was the first remix showcased. On a rotating set, Nas’s song transformed into “Seoul Town Road” and out came BTS. While other acts involved were Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Mason Ramsey and others, it’s safe to say BTS were the stars here.
Before the performance, they shone on the red carpet. As the seven walked down the red carpet, the group looked incredible. They were the picture of class, wearing long coats to deal with the drab February weather. However, no grey skies would dampen their fans’ spirits, and BTS shined like the seven stars that they are. With their highly-anticipated performance with Lil Nas X, this red carpet appearance was just an appetizer before the main course.
Fans also got a preview of BTS at the Grammys – of sorts – when Ariana Grande posted a different kind of “BTS” photo – behind-the-scenes – to her Instagram on Jan. 22. “Look who I bumped into at rehearsal,” she captioned a shot of her with six of the members. The lack of Suga in the shot sent a wave of panic throughout the BTS kingdom. “WHERE IS YOONGI?” (Yoon-gi is Suga’s real last name) even trended online. Thankfully, Suga was there with the rest of his bandmates at the Grammys, so the panic was just a false alarm.
With the inclusion of BTS, Grammy Awards ensured that this year’s “Grammy Moment” would belong to BTS, Days ahead of the show, the academy announced the first performance of “Old Town Road All-Stars.” Lil Nas X would be joined by Billy Ray Cyrus, BTS, Diplo, Mason Ramsey, and other surprise guests – probably all the stars who have appeared on an “Old Town Road” remix. RM of BTS famously appeared on the “Seoul Town Road Remix.” It was released in July 2019, and predictably, it blew up. The YouTube video of the song alone has over 15 million plays. However, it wasn’t all horses and rainbows. Many BTS fans complained that the band was being reduced as “backup dancers” and not given their own spotlight.
Actually, for a second, there was concern that BTS would skip the 2020 Grammys. Despite the band’s Map of the Soul: Persona debuting at the top of the US Billboard 200 in April 2019, and the release going gold in the States, it failed to get a single nomination. Not only was it shut out of the Album of the Year, but the band was also snubbed in the Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Record of the Year and Best World Album.
The Recording Academy’s failure to nominate BTS caused some fans to question their standards for diversity. The nomination process would come under greater scrutiny after Recording academy presider/CEO Deborah Dugan filed a discrimination complaint against the academy, alleging that – among other things – that the nomination and voting process is rigged, often to give preference to white artists over their non-white ones (per The Hollywood Reporter). Ahead of the show, the Academy announced a new diversity initiative to change things. With Map Of The Soul: 7 reportedly scheduled for Feb. 21, expect BTS to not only pick up some nods at the 2021 Grammys, but also be given their own performance spot.