After a 3-week run, girl group ITZY, composed of members Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna, delivered a dazzling finish to the Checkmate World Tour’s U.S. portion in New York City on November 13. The group last performed in New York City in 2020 during ITZY Premiere Showcase Tour ITZY? ITZY! at Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre for nearly 3,000 fans, known as MIDZYs. With the 3rd anniversary of their debut on the horizon, ITZY showcased their growth both as individual artists and as a unit for a sold-out crowd nearly double that size at the Hulu Theater, nestled inside the iconic Madison Square Garden.
Beginning with an epic opening stage consisting of “In the Morning, (MAMA 2021 ver.),” “Sorry Not Sorry,” and “SHOOT!”, ITZY made it clear that they meant business as they tore up the stage. If their queenly energy wasn’t already apparent, their performance was accentuated by literal coronations by their dancers. Contrary to their on-stage personas, however, ITZY was nothing but humble as they addressed MIDZYs.
“It’s always been our dream to perform in the U.S.,” said Chaeryeong in the opening ment. “We’re so honored. We put more thought into this concert than ever before to achieve our dreams.”
Agreeing, Yuna chimed in, “After our last showcase, we really missed our U.S. MIDZYs and your incredible energy! So, we need more of that energy today.”
The crowd didn’t disappoint. The volume was deafening as Yuna led the crowd in more cheers and leader Yeji even took out her in-ear in order to hear MIDZYs better. It was so loud that Ryujin jumped in to rein the crowd back in, encouraging them to “save your voice because this is just the beginning. Through this solo concert, we’ll show you what kind of team we are and just how much fun we can have.”
ITZY continued to captivate the crowd with their confidence and sass throughout the night with empowering tracks like “What I Want,” “Cherry,” “Icy,” and of course, the modern icon, “Not Shy.”
The girls also knew how to play up their charm. Checking in on how attendees were feeling in between the B-side performances, Yeji cheekily feigned confusion when trying to find a jumbotron camera. When she “found” one, she ‘smized’ directly at it, flirtatiously blew a kiss, and sent MIDZYs into a frenzy.
While the performances of ITZY’s original songs delighted fans, the girls’ solo performances were some of the biggest highlights of the night. Each stage allowed the members to display their own individual personalities and talents, and because of each cover song’s international popularity, they were easily recognizable. “You know, the best part of getting to have a solo stage on the U.S. tour was getting to sing with you guys. I really enjoyed singing with you guys, so thank you so much,” Lia commented a bit later in the show.
Yuna’s adorable cover of Conan Gray’s hit “Maniac” was a mini skit, featuring props like a vintage bicycle and a bouquet, that told the story of a girl getting over a toxic ex. In contrast, Lia’s center-stage cover of Taylor Swift classic, “Red,” stripped the stage down from the bright LCD background and other bells and whistles to put her saccharine, emotional vocals on full display.
Yeji flaunted her star power with a performance of “Hotter Than Hell” by Dua Lipa featuring her powerful, lush voice and energetic dance moves. Chaeryeong embodied the vibe in her own way with her sexy cover of Ariana Grande’s “bloodline.” During one part of the song, she nearly fell when the prop chair she was climbing shifted slightly on stage. However, Chaeryeong handled it with ease, bringing the chair back to its correct position and completing the difficult choreography as if it was nothing.
Ryujin’s cover of Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch” – cleverly re-titled “Boss Ryujin” – brought the fire to the stage as she showed her rap skills and playful personality, blending ferocity and a little bit of mischief to draw in MIDZYs. When Ryujin discussed her choice of song in a ment, she had a cheeky slip-of-the-tongue. “I really didn’t hesitate to pick a song when I decided to do the rap stage because the bitch–,” she began before stopping herself when she realized her mistake. The crowd whooped at the faux pas before Lia stepped in for “damage control.”
“The beat! The beat of the song!” Lia corrected, smirking slyly. “Pronunciation issues! Do not misunderstand.”
“The boss beat was just perfect, so I turned the lyrics into ‘rich boss,’” Ryujin continued. In response, MIDZY’s cheered and ‘barked,’ which seemed to be a theme for Ryujin throughout the tour. The barks engulfed the whole theater during Ryujin’s ments that at one point during the show, she good-naturedly asked for “no ‘hoos’,” so she could speak without interruption. That said, she accepted it with laughs.
Moving into the last portion of the show, ITZY threw in cheerful and lively fan favorites like “DALLA DALLA,” “Wannabe,” “Sneakers,” and “Loco,” showcasing their range as a group from serious to playful. One moment of the show that stood out was the group’s performance of their recent English single, “Boys Like You.” The girls clearly had a lot of fun with the performance, and afterward, Lia pointed out an attendee dressed as the leading man of the music video. “So you’re the one that betrayed us!” she joked.
For the night’s encore, ITZY returned to the stage dressed in their tour merch and a more casual vibe. The interactive, breezy performances of “Domino,” “It’z Summer,” (“It’s November, but to us it’s summer,” Ryujin joked) and the fan-dedicated song, “Trust Me (MIDZY)” felt very personal. Being privy to girls’ chemistry as a unit felt like being with personal friends.
Finally, it was time to start saying goodbye. The quintet spoke to attendees for nearly 15 minutes as they reflected with an air of wistfulness as the realization that the end of the U.S. tour began to settle in. Yuna knew that she would have a lot to say, so she switched to Korean to best convey her feelings. “For me, this stage is so precious and it’s something that I will never experience in my life without all you guys. I know you guys from so far always cheer and love on us,” she said. “And that’s why I missed you all so much and three hours seems so short compared to that, but we enjoyed it all together so I’m really happy.” Yuna continued her remarks in English, slightly choking up. “I will never forget this moment. It’s the best, happiest moment in my life. So when I get tired or down, I will remember this moment and your guys’ energy so I can move forward together with you. Thank you for being MIDZYs, thank you for being with me, and thank you for this time.”
Chaeryeong’s remarks were cheekier. “Today was the last day of our U.S. tour, so I prepared something for you all,” she said. She dug around in her pocket and the crowd aww’s turned into laughs when she pulled out a finger heart. The cute joke led into her more serious reflections. “Actually, before the start of this tour, it was a bit of a challenge to me. But I got so much energy from you guys so I can do this. Thank you. I feel so happy when I see you smiling. We’ll be back soon with our new album so look forward to it and we’ll meet again!”
Ryujin was, predictably, met with barking, but remained serious in her speech. “Before I came to the U.S. tour, I was a little bit curious about my life – what am I running for, what am I doing this for? But I made a decision to just feel life, feel the anger, feel the happiness, feel whatever I feel,” she explained, echoing Chaeryeong’s sentiment. “I think this tour was so great, it was my first experience after making that decision. It was so great to experience all of your cities and N.Y. was perfect for the finale. I will remember every city’s energy and every feeling that you guys gave to me in this life and I will miss you always. So guys, thank you for coming and thank you for being a part of my great memory.”
Lia was next, and she acknowledged the ups and downs of traveling. “It’s been about three weeks spending time here in the U.S. I would say it could be quite long to spend somewhere else far away from home. It could be a bit of a challenge since it was our first time with an actual solo concert tour,” she reflected. “I knew that there were lots of MIDZYs in the U.S. always supporting us but actually getting to see you guys and just…standing here face to face and feeling it really felt different. I’m never going to forget this experience and all these memories. For every city we’ve been to, it was very new, a very fresh experience we never had before. So we are very grateful for you.”
Finally, it was Yeji’s turn. She delivered her gratitude in a mix of English and Korean. “First of all, I’m the happiest person in the world because of you guys. You’re my [happiness], and you’re my pride, and you’re my precious – you are my everything. Thank you for waiting for us and bringing so much love,” she said. Yeji laughed and choked up a bit, realizing that this was the last show. “Actually every time we performed, I was so proud of our members! Behind ITZY’s shining stages, we believe it was only possible because of you MIDZYs. I’ll miss you so much and I’ll never forget this tour. Thank you for this great memory.” Yeji ended her ment by blowing another kiss to MIDZYs.
Sending MIDZYs off with an emotional performance of “Be In Love,” the girls brought the Checkmate U.S. tour to a flawless close. Fans were already missing them as they filed out of the venue, but with the new mini album, Cheshire, dropping on November 30, MIDZYs still have lots to look forward to. Fans can pre-order and pre-save the album across major retailers and streaming platforms here. In the meantime, North American MIDZYs will be sure to continue supporting ITZY’s meteoric rise and wait patiently for their next visit!