The 61st Annual Grammy Awards played out the evening of Sunday, February 10, at the Staples Center with Alicia Keys as host, and despite its roll of nominations coming across as an act of contrition to last year’s list which was dominated by male performers the overall mood was that it was not so hot. In the days leading up to the ceremony several recording artists declined invites to perform or present, and even some of the winners like Drake used their acceptance speeches as a platform to call out the Recording Academy’s increasing insignificance.
If there was one bright spot of entertainment perhaps to be found in the Grammys this year, it would have to be a historical first according to TIME. That would be in the persons of the South Korean boy band BTS, which has the dual honor of being the first K-Pop act to act as a presenter for the Grammy Awards ever, and be nominated themselves (or rather, their art director) for Best Recording Package. They were the ones who presented the Best R&B Album to the winner Gabi “H.E.R.” Wilson for her self-titled 2017 compilation. But really, their Grammy presence was enough if one were to ask BTS’ fans.
It is also not hard to see why the seven-man K-Pop group would attract so much attention aside from the obvious. They certainly stood out with some of their hair color choices too, and cameras were never that far away from Jimin, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, V and Jung Kook for very long. The so-called “BTS Army” grew even louder on social media after footage of the boys at the Gramy ceremony proper, where their seating put them right next to country music Legend Dolly Parton, the MusiCares Person of the Year awardee this year.
The fact that BTS rapper Suga (one of three among them) took a mobile video of Drake’s rather condemnatory acceptance speech on his Grammy win for Best Rap Song (“God’s Plan”) brings the discussion of the awards ceremony back to the depressing reality that the Recording Academy is now being faced with. This too was a first according to The Atlantic as no other Grammy winner has ever called out the award-giving body for accusations of ineptness in choosing nominees and winners, and the program actually cut before Drake finished his speech. Still, that only strengthens the general perception that perhaps, the Grammys have become obsolete in this day and age, and music artists no longer feel honored by them.
Childish Gambino and Kacey Musgraves walked away from this lackluster night with 4 Grammys apiece, while Kendrick Lamar set the record for most nominations with eight, winning Best Rap Performance.
Image from The Hollywood Reporter