Why BTS’ Attendance at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards was Significant?

Wandering Shadow
5 min readFeb 11, 2019


It was more than just an attendance….

BTS at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards (Photo by @bts_bighit from Twitter)

It was a big moment for BTS to grace the The 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday (10th February). Grammy Awards is considered the most prestigious music awards show around the world. The boys were selected to present a music category at the award show.

Besides them being presenters, their album Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ were nominated for “Best Recording Package” with Doohee Lee, Art Director from HuskyFox.

While there had been past reports of some Korean artists attending the Grammy (e.g Rain, Tablo, Ailee, Eric Nam etc.) and some winning a Grammy award (Sumi Jo and Byeong Joon Hwang had won in the classical categories), BTS’ attendance had a significant outlook which made the whole event historical for Korean music.

A-list Celebrity? Done!

BTS is the first Korean artist to be given the “A-list celebrity” treatment at the Grammy show. Let’s face it; the way BTS was well received gives you a clear idea of BTS’ relevancy in the USA market.

BTS had a proper Red Carpet exclusive coverage (1, 2, 3) and interviews (1, 2, 3) along with the performers. BTS’ part of the Red Carpet segment was reported by multiple media outlets and was aired on live television.

The BTS members were sitting in the 2nd and 3rd rows of the venue which is generally reserved for A-list celebrities, performers and nominees expecting to receive awards on the show. Even though they were merely presenters, the amount of their coverage throughout the show and on the red carpet was on the level of performers and winners.

I think no other Korean artist has ever gotten that high level of attention from the Grammy like BTS did.

Grammy’s Backstage Portrait Studio

BTS was honored to take a portrait at the Grammy Backstage Studio. What’s interesting about this is that generally, only Grammy winners are allowed to have their portraits taken by the famous photographer Danny Clinch. The fact BTS was allowed to have a photo shoot like this is an impressive feat.

The video of the photo shoot has been uploaded on both Recording Academy / GRAMMYs YouTube official channel and Variety YouTube official channel.

Most Global Coverage

BTS was the most reported Korean Artist in the Grammy Awards in history. If you google “BTS Grammy 2019”, you will find the huge media coverage conducted by international media (here is my Google Search from 9th-11th Feb to give you a clear idea). No Korean artist has ever been given such international attention.

Besides the global coverage, BTS was the most searched artists for “Is … performing at the Grammys?” in the Google Trends. According to Adweek and ET Canada, BTS presenting the Best R&B Album award was the 61st Annual Grammy Awards’ most tweeted moment. The group was also #1 in the list of tweeted-about celebrities this year’s Grammy Awards.

They were also trended worldwide thanks to the powerful ARMY (their hashtag was #TearItUpBTS).

First Korean Album Nomination

Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ is technically the first Korean album to be nominated for a Grammy. While it is true that two Korean Artists had been nominated or won for classical album categories, if we look at the albums, they are not Korean albums at all.

Sumi Jo was nominated for the “Best Classical Album” and won “Best Opera Recording” for R. Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten in 1992 which is composed in German language. Sumi Jo was nominated for the “Best Opera Recording” for Rossini: Tancredi in 1995 which is composed in Italian language.

Byeong Joon Hwang was nominated for the “Best Engineered Album, Classical” and won “Best Choral Performance” for Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil in 2015 which is composed in the Russian language.

The above mentioned albums are not Korean language or Korean idiom based albums. This makes Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear the first Korean album to be nominated. Although it isn’t nominated in the music category, it still shows that BTS is indeed under the radar of the Recording Academy and they acknowledged the artistic quality and in-depth elements of the album cover.

The album didn’t win the category but the “Grammy tag” will forever be attached to the album.

First Korean Song played at the Grammy

“FAKE LOVE” by BTS was played at the Grammy awards at live television when BTS took the stage to present the award for “Best R&B Album”. It was a big moment for everyone to hear a Korean song being played at the Grammy Awards for the first time in history and not to mention a BTS song. It is interesting to note that “FAKE LOVE” is the title track from Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear (which was nominated for a Grammy).

Official Presenters for a Major Award

BTS was the first Korean artist to present a major award category. Normally, the major awards are selected to be broadcasted on TV. In this year’s Grammy Awards, 9 categories were chosen to be awarded on Live Television. BTS were selected to present “Best R&B Album” which was won by H.E.R for H.E.R.

RM gave a brief speech before presenting the category:

“Growing up in South Korea, we always dreamed about standing on the Grammy stage. Thank you for all our fans for making this dream come true. And we’ll be back.”

BTS acting as presenters for a major category was a big honor for the Korean group.

BTS Representing South Korea

BTS represented South Korea by wearing Korean brands. Vogue confirmed that RM, Jin, Suga, Jungkook, Jimin and V wore custom attires from JayBaek Couture while J-Hope’s attire came from Kim Seo Ryong. Both are South Korean designers. BTS even arrived at the event in the Hyundai Palisade SUV which is a global Korean brand.

Using their global popularity and success, BTS brought pride to South Korea by representing their own local brands.


Keeping the above points in mind, there is no doubt that BTS made history at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. They were treated as reputable musicians at the ceremony and this event should be remembered with pride.

So what’s the next step for BTS? Well, we all can hope and look forward to see BTS getting nominated for the music categories or even a performance at the Grammy in future.

And we are expecting a new album coming sooner than later…..



Wandering Shadow

I love to serve tea, data and facts about BTS. My Twitter / IG is @shadow_twts