The Grammy Awards are happening this weekend in Las Vegas, one of the few times the Grammys are taking place after the Oscars, so this year it’s the rock stars who get to close out award season. Maria mentioned yesterday in Celebrity Social Media that the Golden Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association must be smug as f-ck right now with what happened at the Oscars. For the Grammys, though, I wonder if The Slap has resulted in pre-emptive modifications and improvements to their live show strategy and processes.
Before last Sunday, if you had asked anyone about which award show would be most likely to involve a dramatic on-stage slap, the Grammys or the Oscars, I think most of us would have answered the Grammys. From Eminem to Justin Bieber to Kanye West to Machine Gun Kelly, rock stars are generally seen as more volatile and unpredictable than actors, and the vibe at music award shows is typically much less formal and uptight than we see at the Oscars. The Oscars are a ceremony. The Grammys, while certainly more buttoned-up than the MTV VMAs by comparison, are much more of a party. Much of the show, after all, is live performance so it’s supposed to feel like a concert with a few awards handed out here and there.
After the Oscars though, CBS, the Grammys broadcaster, is probably on higher alert than usual for any possible shenanigans, especially considering that the Grammys are in Vegas and I’m sure I don’t have to explain how the wild quotient can go up in that town as the artists will be partying and after-partying for 48 hours straight.
So that’s one point of interest with the Grammys this year – I’m into the inside baseball sh-t with the production, with how the control room will manage balancing the spontaneity that’s essential to a live event with, you know, whatever precautions, if they’re even needed.
But my main point of interest, of course, with the Grammys is BTS. BTS is nominated in the Pop Duo/Group Performance category. They are not predicted to win given the Recording Academy’s history of preference, so the priority here for them, and it always has been, at least where the Grammys are concerned, is their performance. This will be their first live in-person performance at the Grammys as lead artists. They’ve shared the stage before as featured artists on Lil Nas X’s set in 2020 but this time it’s all their own.
Unfortunately, we’re still in a f-cking pandemic. And it was confirmed that Jungkook tested positive for COVID on Monday. Right now, at the time of this writing, their label and the Grammys have not yet said whether or not JK will be able to join RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope (who has himself just recovered from COVID), Jimin, and V. If I’m reading it right the CDC guidelines say five days, and if that’s the case, technically he’d be clear, but the Grammys and CBS might have their own requirements, just like the Oscars did last week. In JK’s case, if we’re using the Oscars guidelines, this was the protocol – via Deadline:
– Those who tested positive for COVID-19 and are within a zero to five-day window from the date of their first positive test are not permitted to attend under any circumstances.
– Those who tested positive for COVID-19 and are within a six to ten-day window from the date of their first positive test are required to provide proof of negative results from two verified PCR, Lucira or Cue Health COVID-19 tests. These tests may not be taken on the same day and must be administered by a verified, medically trained professional.
If JK is unable to join his bandmates, it’s not like they haven’t done this before. When Suga had surgery in late 2020, they performed as a six-piece, creatively working around his absence with technology (hologram) or just simply leaving his space in the choreo empty and carrying on, as the show must go on – and no artists are better at adapting than BTS. Still, it would be a bummer, no doubt, as this would have been such a moment in their careers, but at the same time…
The Grammys are actually not the primary purpose for BTS being in Vegas. As I’ve said before, showing up at the Grammys is a favour from BTS to the Recording Academy. They’re in Vegas for their own concerts – four of them, over two weekends, at Allegiant Stadium. Vegas, right now, is not so much a Grammys town but a BTS town, a “concert play park” with exhibits set up all around the city:
So BTS’s presence isn’t just restricted to the stadium. If you’re in Vegas over next two weeks, you won’t be able to escape them, they’ll be everywhere. It’s literally called BTS “Permission to Dance – The City”. And with thousands of ARMYs heading to Vegas for the experience, the city will be profiting, HUGE.
This is one of the reasons why BTS and their label, HYBE, along with Chairman Bang Si-hyuk, are on the cover of TIME’s Most Influential Companies issue that just dropped this week, just in time for the BTS Vegas takeover.
“Our vision is to become the world’s leading entertainment lifestyle platform, with music as our foundation.”
And BTS in Vegas is one of the ways they’re achieving that and innovating the artist to fan relationship. It’s not just a concert anymore for BTS. It’s not just three hours of singing and dancing and everybody goes home. It’s more like a festival, or even a mini-Olympics, an immersive experience that can last several days – and in the process boost the local economy. Only much more profitable because with the Olympics, cities and governments have to undertake enormous expense years in advance to build new facilities and other infrastructure to accommodate the Games and, as we have seen in recent decades, they have a hard time paying that off. With BTS, you don’t need that kind of permanent investment, and the comparative spend to gain ratio is weighted heavily in favour of profit. Consider what happened last year in Los Angeles when they played four sold-out shows at SoFi: millions and millions of dollars immediately injected into the local economy with little to non-existent financial downside because as this point, it’s not like BTS and their ARMY isn’t a sure thing to bank on. Vegas will know this very, very soon. They’re coming. It’s just a matter of whether or not Vegas is ready.
More on BTS and the Grammys on Monday.