Itzy all praises for Pinoy fans’ ‘unbelievable’ support at 2-day concert

Patricia Esteves - The Philippine Star
Itzy all praises for Pinoy fans� �unbelievable� support at 2-day concert
Members of the K-pop girl group Itzy take a groufie with thousands of adoring fans, also called Midzys, at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Saturday for their concert dubbed Checkmate. The two-day show was the first stop of their world tour.

The girls of fast-rising K-pop group Itzy brought their swag and music to thousands of their adoring fans, collectively known as the Midzys, at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Saturday for their concert dubbed Checkmate, which formed part of their first world tour.

Lia, Ryujin, Yuna, Chaeryeong and Yeji outdid themselves, as they performed hit song after hit song like Cheshire, Cherry on Top, Not Shy, Wannabe, Icy, Loco and Shoot, just to name a few.

Presented by Live Nation Philippines, the two-day concert held over the weekend was sold-out, and the girls chose Manila as their first stop in their world tour.

Formed in 2019, just before the pandemic struck, the five-piece group is managed by JYP entertainment, the same agency that handles K-pop groups such Twice, 2 AM, 2 PM and Stray Kids.

On Saturday, the arena was filled to the rafters with both fanboys and fangirls of the group.

Energized by the warm support of the Midzys, the girls of Itzy sang, danced and strutted their stuff for the duration of their two-hour concert. Itzy performed each song with intricate dance choreography, all in synchronized movement, while rapping and singing at the same time.

The fans, armed with light rings, broke into a screaming frenzy when the group appeared on stage at 7 p.m. and dished out the first song Mafia in the Morning, followed by Shoot and Sorry, Not Sorry.

During the concert, the fans gave the most deafening screams and fan chants. When Yeji asked them to scream some more, the Midzys pierced the air with their loudest cheers. Filipino fans give the best kind of love to their K-pop idols.

All the members were touched by the Midzys’ gestures. At one point during the concert, Yeji said she had to speak in Korean because she wanted to be able to express her truest feelings towards the fans. It was Lia who translated her musings.

“The warm welcome you give makes me feel inspired to do and be my best. I feel that I can go on with your love and support,” Yeji said.

The girls were equally solicitous towards the Midzys and made their fans feel loved and special. There was an effort to communicate with the audience through such Tagalog phrases as “Kamusta kayo?,” “Masaya ako makita kayo,” “Mahal ko kayo,” “Mabuhay” and “Salamat po,” to the delight of the crowd. Ryujin, during one moment in the show, even told the Midzys, “Mahal na mahal ko kayo.”

Itzy girls (in a backstage photo) on their Pinoy Midzys: ‘The amount of love is so unbelievable.’ Photo shows members (from left) Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryong and Yuna.
Photos from Itzy's official Facebook page

But going back to their show, among the most anticipated performances that night were the girls’ solo stages. Ryujin was the first to take the center stage with a cover of Doja Cat’s Boss Bitch.

Donning a fur jacket, Ryujin owned up the stage, rapping with an attitude and swagger, while looking at the crowd and singing, “I’m a bitch, I’m a boss, and my shine is like a gloss.”

Then it was the turn of Lia, who crooned the Taylor Swift song Red. Bathed in the soft glow of strobe lights, without any fireworks accompanying her performance, Lia showcased her vocal range and hit the high notes in the song.

Later, during the break, she explained that she chose to sing the ballad to display her vocal chops.

“And I feel so many emotions when I sing this song,” Lia said.

Their performances were punctuated by breaks, in which members talked and interacted with the audience in English, detailing the songs they performed and explaining why they chose them.

The next to go on her solo stage was Yuna, the youngest (maknae) and the Japanese member of the group. Looking cute and riding a bike towards the stage, she rather sang a dark song, a cover of Conan Gray’s Maniac.

Next ones to appear on stage were Chaeryeong and Yeji for their solo numbers. Chaeryong did a sexy dance number, a cover of Ariana Grande’s Bloodline. The member gyrated her hips and twerked, exuding sensuality, which raised the temperature a bit in the arena.

Yeji also displayed her hotness, when she danced and sang a cover of Dua Lipa’s Hotter than Hell. After the performance, she quipped: “I gave my all to this performance, it’s something I can share with you.”

The Itzy girls are obviously talented in dancing. In their pop numbers, they proved to be spark plugs, igniting the stage with their energetic dance moves in Wannabe, Loco, Put Your Sneakers On and Cheshire.

In case you’re wondering, Midzys do memorize their idols’ Korean songs, no matter how difficult. So the arena became a huge karaoke sing-along and one notable song was the group’s pop ditty Boys Like You.

Another thing commendable during Itzy’s concert was the set design. The stage had a huge LED screen in the middle and two screens on both sides, a big help for those in the general admission area.

The set designs were colorful, creative and avant-garde, complementing every performance of Itzy. It was a feast for the eyes. There was also an elevated platform and confetti rain. It was state-of-the-art Korean technology at its finest, plus a light and sound treat that added magic to the concert.

What was also unique about this concert was that it engaged the Midzys to participate and dance to the group’s choreography. The audience participation brought in a festive air to the MOA Arena.

Before the encore, there was a recorded message from the Itzy for a challenge wherein the camera trained on specific fans to dance to some of Itzy’s hits. Lucky Midzys caught on cam did the girl group’s signature choreography to wild cheers from the audience. While some did fan chants and more screaming. The audience was truly happy.

For the encore, they came out in Itzy T-shirt outfits and shorts, and sang Domino and It’s You, the songs they specifically dedicated to the Midzys. Domino is a Midzy favorite as it talks about having a person that will always have your back or keep yourself from falling from like a domino.

Before they closed the show, each of the members thanked the fans.

“We want to thank you. How much you’ve really been for us, we really thank you… This is the happiest moment of my life. Thank you for making me happy,” Yuna said.

“First of all, we were really thankful. During our video call, so many of our Filipino Midzys asked us to come here to the Philippines and now here we are,” Yeji, on the other hand, said.

“While we were doing our performances, we were able to feel the love and excitement. Salamat sa paghihintay. Thank you for the warm welcome. You are the ones who give us wings. The amount of love is so unbelievable, we will never forget you,” the girls said in unison.

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