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BTS 방탄소년단 - Grammy Awards 2020

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2020. 1. 26.

BTS Made The Most Of Their 2020 Grammys Performance, Even Though They Deserved More

BTS burned bright during their all-too-brief performance at the 2020 Grammys, lending their talents to a star-studded performance of “Old Town Road” alongside fellow viral supernovas Lil Nas X and Mason Ramsey, as well as Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo and Nas.

Lil Nas X kicked off the performance while lounging on a couch, before getting up and sauntering into a new room in which BTS were waiting. The group bounded across the stage while performing “Seoul Town Road,” the remix on which RM appeared back in July. Lil Nas X continued shuffling through stage sets and shared the spotlight with Ramsey, Cyrus and Nas, enjoying a proper victory lap for the longest-running No. 1 hit in Billboard Hot 100 history.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Lil Nas X and BTS perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

The “Old Town Road” collaboration marks BTS’s first Grammys performance, following their debut on the show last year as presenters. While it was certainly an honor for them to become the first Korean act to perform on the awards show, it was hard not to see the move as a slight on behalf of the Recording Academy. BTS have launched three consecutive No. 1 albums in the United States, charted multiple Top 10 singles and sold out stadiums around the world. They are indisputably one of the most popular artists on the planet. Why not give them four minutes to perform an original song?

Artists and institutions can enjoy an easy popularity boost by collaborating with or simply shouting out BTS. For the Grammys to include them in an ensemble performance of a viral hit song feels like a blatant attempt to capture viewers who otherwise might not watch the show. on its own, BTS’s performance would have been a pleasant reprieve in the middle of a bloated awards show. But it stings a little when you consider the Recording Academy—which has a historically tenuous relationship with race, to put it mildly—neglected to nominate the group for a single award this year, even though their recent output could have qualified them for multiple categories.

Nevertheless, BTS’s performance at the 2020 Grammys was an incremental step forward, as they continue to make inroads with western audiences. The group members got to team up with some of the biggest names in pop music before millions of viewers, and that’s a victory any way you slice it. With their new album, Map of the Soul: 7, coming out next month, BTS will once again have a body of work eligible for nomination in the 2021 Grammys. Perhaps the Recording Academy will recognize their achievements then—or at least give them more than 90 seconds of stage time.

by Bryan Rolli

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