The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards happened over the weekend (14 March), and for ARMY, it was a day to be celebrated.
BTS first presented at the Grammys in 2019, and then performed at the 2020 show with Lil Nas X. This year, BTS got to perform their first-ever Grammy solo stage, and received a Grammy nomination – it’s the first time it was given to a South Korean (or Asian, for that matter) artist. It was, in short, a big deal.
It’s no surprise that the ARMY were excited for BTS, who were nominated in the category of Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their 2020 hit, “Dynamite”, which was the 7-member band’s first song performed completely in English. The upbeat track topped the Hot 100 last year and epitomises a retro disco revival.
BTS’s performance was highly anticipated – all told, the boys have put on over 30 performances of “Dynamite”, each with a different set design, costumes, and remixed versions. Most of these performances have been on American platforms, including The Tonight Show w/Jimmy Fallon, America’s Got Talent, Grammy Museum, and MTV VMAs.
The award goes to…
However, the award went to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s “Rain on Me” – performed at the MTV VMAs – which was another disco-driven dance pop performed by two of arguably the biggest names in pop today.
This prompted a huge reaction on Twitter among the ARMY, with the hashtags ‘#BTSOurGreatestPrize’ and ‘#LightItUpBTS’. Unsurprisingly, fans were upset, with some tagging the awards show as the #scammys.
It would be easy to point the ire of the ARMY as simply anger over their idols being snubbed at the awards show, with fans pointing to racism as one of the reasons. It’s easy to mock the ARMY over their reaction simply because they’re vocal.
But hype over the ARMY and BTS’s only loss aside, there have been a few noticeable issues during the Grammys:
The Grammys scheduled BTS’s performance towards the end of the entire show. BTS fans have pointed out that the Recording Academy was only taking advantage of BTS’s huge fanbase: ARMY. On Twitter, the fanbase created more than 4.4M unique Tweets (without RTs) compared to Grammy’s 1.5M Tweets that night:
The Grammys announced the winners (Ariana and Gaga) just before BTS were due to perform. Despite that, the Grammys relentlessly hyped BTS’s live performance all night to try to keep viewers tuned in. Nevertheless, the boys took their loss graciously, and still brought their electric performance to the stage before moving to a high-rise rooftop somewhere in Seoul with spotlights galore.
BTS’s performance of “Dynamite” was cut short. The Grammy performance cut out V’s part in the song, prompting fans to trend the hashtags #FairTreatmentForV on Twitter to protest against his reduced screen time on the show:
The Recording Academy actively pushed back on BTS publicity. According to former grammy.com managing editor Rachel Brodsky, the Recording Academy discouraged her from writing about BTS:
The shady thing with the Recording Academy
One has to remember that other great artists have been snubbed by the Recording Academy too. Katy Perry was nominated 13 times, and Nicki Minaj was nominated 10 times – neither of them won. The Weeknd received no nominations this year for his album After Hours, which contains the single “Blinding Lights” that made history as the first song to spend a year on the Hot 100’s top 10 list.
This year’s Grammys have stirred up controversy that’s more than BTS, with artists – from Zayn Malik to Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj – coming out to criticise the Grammys for their lack of transparency.
ARMY got the last laugh
BTS addressed their fans and their loss with grace, saying that “we’ll work hard for this next year as well and we’ll be back.”
After the Grammy performance, BTS posted a 17-minute live video on the platform VLive where members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook thanked the support of their fans, with a banner reading “Thanks ARMY” in the backdrop.
The video racked up more than 10 million views – and according to Nielsen Live+Same Day official national numbers, Grammys 2021 recorded an average of 8.8 million viewers. The fact that a 17-minute show managed to rake in more views than a 2-hour show is impressive.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that BTS didn’t win. As Esquire puts it, “it’s clear that the Grammys need BTS more than BTS needs the Grammys”.