Awards

How BTS Emphasized the Power of '7' for Debut Grammy Performance

BTS
John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

BTS backstage during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019 in Los Angeles.

The spirit of the group's upcoming "Map of the Soul: 7" album was alive as the guys made history alongside Lil Nas X.

There was a lot of special music history being made during Lil Nas X's star-studded performance at the 2020 Grammy Awards, with one of the "Old Town Road" artist's special guests, BTS, utilizing their time in the spotlight to make a larger statement about teamwork and ties in well with the theme of their upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7.  

Originally, BTS leader RM was the sole feature on a final remix of "Old Town Road" that helped push the country/hip-hop hybrid to its record-breaking 17th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. When the whole BTS collective were announced as performers for an "All-Stars" take of the smash single alongside the likes of Diplo, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mason Ramsey and others, many fans were left worried how all seven could possibly shine given the song's remix featuring just one member in an already packed lineup. 

BTS could have let RM take over with the other six claiming it an honor just to be on the Grammy stage itself (an honor no South Korean pop artist has had before), but instead, the band seemingly took things into their own hands to make sure all seven members got a chance to show off their artistic sides with a whole new version of the song. In addition to the BTS leader delivering some of his verses from the "Seoul Town Road" remix, this new version saw rappers J-Hope and Suga hyping up RM as well as adding their own ad libs on the section. They were followed by Jin and V then singing and doing choreography with Lil Nas X before vocalists, Jimin and Jungkook, took over the chorus for their own harmony-filled rendition.

Altogether, BTS got about 45 seconds during their part before returning onstage alongside all the other performers for another 30 seconds or so. Still, in that small frame, BTS managed to let all of its members have time in the spotlight to show off his own style. The group essentially prepared an entirely new rendition of the song for the show, which is something typically only the artists with their own solo performances have the space to create.

BTS' Korean record label Big Hit Entertainment tells Billboard there are no plans to release the seven-member take of "Old Town Road," but shared the following sentiment from the band. "We said, 'We will be back' but we didn’t know it would really happen," BTS says in a statement. "The Grammy stage last year was so amazing, it made us want to perform too. We're so happy it happen[ed] this year...the Grammys is a great start to a new year. It was amazing last year too. We're honored to be back with this awesome collaboration performance."

This attitude pairs well with the title of BTS' upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7, which is currently sparse on details but seems keen on emphasizing the seven different artists and personalities that make up the consistently record-breaking band. Reworking and reimagining a song so that all of your members can have a part in your (admittedly, too short) Grammy debut performance demonstrates a dedication to wanting to move forward and always be seen as seven. There wasn't one person overshadowing the others or anyone fading into the background, but instead moments for all to shine. That's the power of BTS as seven.