After BTS‘s “Dynamite” scored a much-deserved nomination for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the 2021 Grammy Awards, all eyes are on K-Pop’s biggest international girl group: BLACKPINK. But what do they need to do to get their own nomination next year? Four experts in the field explained all.

For one, IZM music critic Jung Min Jae thinks that releasing a “more impactful hit song” could push BLACKPINK into the Recording Academy’s field of vision. According to Jung, BTS’s “Dynamite” was a particularly impactful track, soaring to no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and capturing some interest from the international general public.

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| Big Hit Entertainment

In comparison, Jung states that BLACKPINK’s biggest US hit of the year, “Ice Cream” with Selena Gomez, didn’t make the same waves. It would be unfair to dismiss the incredible success of “Ice Cream”, which broke the K-Pop girl group record when it reached no.13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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| YG Entertainment

However, Jung noted that the song dipped 36 places in its second week, showing it didn’t capture the public’s attention for long. If BLACKPINK could reach a higher peak on the Billboard charts with their next song, Jung thinks they’d certainly be in with a chance for a “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” Grammy nomination. After all, he said, “BLACKPINK is [already] standing out in the US“.

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| Watchara Phomicinda/SCNG

That said, Jung doesn’t think a bigger hit would be enough to propel BLACKPINK onto the nominations list. He also claims that the group needs to show more “artistic integrity” to impress the Grammys.

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The awards show is known for valuing creativity and active participation in music, and well-known Billboard K-Pop columnist Jeff Benjamin agrees that BLACKPINK’s artistry is holding them back. He noted that members Jennie and Jisoo both participated in songwriting for “Lovesick Girls”—a truly “impressive achievement” that begins to disprove many of the misconceptions about K-Pop idols.

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However, Benjamin went on to say that the members’ participation is rarely brought up in interviews. He believes that more focus on their artistry when communicating with US media would help the Recording Academy see BLACKPINK as credible pop artists.

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| @blackpinkofficial/Instagram

Of course, it’s not all down to the group themselves. Asian Agent promotional agency founder Danny Lee has worked with idol acts like BLACKPINK and (G)I-DLE as well as Grammy-winning US artists like Black Eyed Peas, and he thinks it’s all down to the Recording Academy. Lee pointed out that there’s never been an American female pop group nominee for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the Grammys, so a Korean girl group is at an even greater disadvantage.

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| YG Entertainment

University of California, San Diego professor and Korean pop culture expert Patty Ahn agreed. According to her, BLACKPINK doesn’t need to change—the Grammys’ system does. In her eyes, Asians, Asian Americans, and female artists of color in general have struggled to receive the nominations they deserve at the Grammys, and BLACKPINK is just another example of the long-standing issues.