|Members of BTS react to the announcement of the nominees of categories for the 63rd Grammy Awards, where the K-pop sensation was nominated for the Grammy Award in the category of best pop duo/group performance for chart-sweeping single "Dynamite," Wednesday, a first for a Korean pop group. Screen capture from BTS' Twitter account|
BTS becomes first Korean group to achieve Grammy nomination
By Park Ji-won
|Cover image for Esquire showing BTS Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment|
Some have taken this as a sign that the Grammys has become inclusive.
"The nomination implies that BTS is now considered a regular part of the U.S. pop music scene, not just a small triumph that will be short-lived," Jung Min-jae, a pop music critic said.
BTS is the first Korean group to be nominated for the Grammys but they have long been deserving of the nomination, said Jung.
"I assume that the Grammys thought that the existence and influence of BTS can no longer be ignored after it topped the Billboard's Hot 100 with its first English song 'Dynamite,' along with its other outstanding activities. It is also meaningful that BTS was named alone as a group while other nominees were listed for collaborations," he said.
"It's not just BTS, no other Asian artists have been given or even nominated for awards in popular genres. They're represented in minor, less-influential genres like classical or jazz music… K-pop and other non-American, non-Western music has largely been categorized as 'world music,' so far," Kim Young-dae, a music critic, said during a TBS radio interview, Wednesday.
"The Grammys started to change its direction recently, by including more people of color and more women as voting Academy members. BTS and Bang Si-hyuk, CEO of Big Hit Entertainment and producer of BTS became voters as well," Lim Jin-mo, a popular music critic, was quoted as saying by Yonhap News TV.
"It is also important that K-pop has been recognized in the U.S. mainstream market. Of course, the focus is on BTS now, but the nomination will pave the way for other K-pop acts and songs," Lim added.
|A capture image of the Grammys showing BTS' "Dynamite" was nominated for best pop duo/group performance Courtesy of the Grammy Awards|
The group has been winning prestigious awards in the U.S. at events including the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards and MTV Video Music Awards. The Grammy Awards, which will be held on Jan. 31, has been considered BTS' goal in the U.S. market for years. Despite BTS' huge success in the international music scene with its Korean-language songs, the group had failed to be nominated in the Grammys. This year, BTS will compete with J Balvin, Dua Lipa and Bad Bunny & Tainy; Justin Bieber and Quavo; Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande; and Taylor Swift and Bon Iver.
Critics, however, hold mixed opinions on BTS' chances to actually win the award.
But Kim is optimistic saying, "The records that BTS made were far better than other competitors. And 'Dynamite' is one of the hottest songs in this year's Grammys. In that sense, it is not bad. But the results will vary depending on the values of the more than 20,000 Academy members," he said.
"There is a possibility BTS could win the award…. Other acts and songs did better. But in terms of the group's ability itself, BTS deserves the award," Lim said.
Jung said there is a low possibility for BTS to win the award because of other strong competitors.
"There is a slim chance of winning this time because other competitors did very well. BTS' 'Dynamite' was successful but 'Exile' did great from a musical perspective. 'Rain on Me' was a collaboration of two big artists ― Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. It also contributed to Lady Gaga's successful comeback."