It’s been a few months since rookie-idols ITZY made their first U.S. appearance at KCON 2019 LA and fans were more than ecstatic to welcome them back with open arms this past Friday for their premiere showcase, ‘ITZY? ITZY!’ Presented by SubKulture Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based production company specializing in the Korean entertainment industry, the showcase brought Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna back to Los Angeles where they graced the Novo stage as the first stop on their five-city tour.
The quintet performed five tracks from their debut EP album ‘It’z Icy,’ showing the group’s strong stage presence, pure confidence, and dynamic and charismatic performances that lovingly earned them the nickname “monster rookies.” Welcomed to the stage by ecstatic MIDZY screaming their names, ITZY kicked off the evening with “ICY.” The pre-chorus lyrics “Icy, but I’m on fire” perfectly personified the girls’ chic yet explosive performance. Not missing a beat, the girls continued with “It’z SUMMER,” hyped up by the roar of fanchants emanating from the crowd.
Giving the fans a chance to cool off and soak up that high-energy set, the girls took a moment to introduce themselves and express their fondness for Los Angeles. “We’re so happy to be here,” said Lia. “Since this is the first stop, LA is a little bit more special and we’re kinda nervous too.” This isn’t the girls’ first time in the City of Angels, however. The “ICY” music video was filmed at several LA landmarks and KCON 2019 LA back in August served as the quintet’s first ever performance in the U.S.
When the MC asked about what they wanted to do while in town, the members expressed their desire to go to Disneyland or Universal Studios. The topic of roller coasters came up, and Chaeryeong firmly said, “No!” and that she hated the “drop feeling” when roller coasters nose-dived down at high speeds. In contrast, she shared, “I really want to experience the holiday vibes while I’m here. I watch a lot of movies so I wanna see all the decorations and feel warm LA in the winter.”
“For me personally, this year I was thinking about how to find my happiness, what makes me happy. “– Lia
Along with performing their own tracks, the members used this opportunity to become closer with their fans, incorporating fun interactive segments that allowed each member’s unique personalities to shine. A few lucky fans who sent in questions via video submissions had their entries aired in front of ITZY and the entire audience. When asked for their 2020 goals, all the members voiced self-growth as their objectives. Lia took a self reflective approach, saying, “For me personally, this year I was thinking about how to find my happiness, what makes me happy. I think that’s important and I hope all of our MIDZY can also find their own happiness throughout 2020. I hope we can be a part of that.” Yuna also said that she, too, wanted to self-reflect and figure out exactly what she likes and what makes her happy. Both Yeji and Ryujin expressed their desire to grow as artists and to have more opportunities to meet MIDZY this year. When it was Chaeryeong’s turn, she expressed some of her past struggles, “I had a lot of thoughts and worries and had a lot of regrets. But this year I could lower those and be a more bright and outgoing person.”
Although technical errors prevented the last couple of questions from being projected on screen, the audience split from the tale-old question – does pineapple belong on pizza? Yeji was the first to share distaste, “I don’t think it should be on pizza. Fruit is fruit and pizza is pizza.” Ryujin admitted that she was in the middle of the whole dilemma, citing that she liked pineapple fried rice, but not on pizza. Chaeryeong point blankly said that she “ONLY likes pineapple,” which resulted in her leading a “pineapple” chant with the audience. Lia shared that she loved all pizzas, while Yuna wrapped it up with “I like pineapple and I like pizza, so pineapple pizza is love!”
On that note, the show transitioned into the first game of the night – “Challenge Mix Song.” ITZY were given seven distorted sounds that each incorporated three different songs. Chaeryeong dominated the game, sweeping the first two rounds with ease. By round three, she would race to the front of the stage, but would tease and luckily say that it was “too easy” and passed it off to other members. By the end of the game, Yeji, with a total score of 0, was declared the loser and had to make a “derp” face while donning a bright sunflower headpiece.
The second game of the night was the “Whisper Challenge,” a revamped game of telephone that was as hilarious as it was frustrating for certain members who could not decipher the phrases. After a few rounds, it became apparent that all the members except Ryujin were quick to make out the words. When given the word “La La Land,” Chaeryeong visibly grew frustrated at Ryujin as she tried to mouth (and scream) the word slowly. Unable to hear anything over the noise-cancelling headphones, Ryujin snapped, saying, “Dude, your mouth looks the same!” In response, Chaeryeong began throwing Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s names into the chaos causing the entire audience to laugh at their bickering.
In between the fun and games, ITZY quickly switched from their animated personalities to their professional personas for performances. The biggest 180 switch of the night was when the quintet performed “Cherry.” As the stage was shrouded in red stage lights and low synth beats began emitting from the speakers, the girls’ previous bubbly personas were nowhere to be seen as they oozed pure confidence, charisma, and a hint of sexiness as they performed the hip hop R&B track.
ITZY also treated the audience to a special stage of back-to-back covers of Twice’s “TT” and GOT7’s “Hard Carry.” It goes without saying that these two iconic tracks excited the crowd and encouraged them to break out singing and dancing along. The performance was followed up by a special VCR displaying all of ITZY’s achievements and awards up until today. From topping the iTunes and Billboard charts with nine wins on music shows to the coveted “Best New Female Artist” at the MNET Asian Music Awards, there is no doubt that these girls have earned the title of “monster rookies.”
As the night came to an end, the girls expressed their gratitude to all the MIDZY who came out to see them at their very first U.S. showcase. Before jumping into their last set, Lia declared, “Let’s fly together with MIDZY in 2020!” and chanted “날자” (“let’s fly” in Korean) in unison with their beloved fans. The night closed with a plethora of re-energized fans chanting along to “Want It” and “DALLA DALLA,” leaving us wondering what these highly anticipated rising rookies have in store for 2020. Who’s to say what else these rising idols can accomplish in the next few years.
Written by: Ericka P.
Photographed by: Mark U.