K-Pop and K-Dramas: ITZY as a Rookie Group

Photoshoot shot of (from left) Choi Ji Su (Lia), Shin Ryu Jin (Ryujin), Hwang Ye Ji (Yeji), Lee Chae Ryeong (Chaeryeong), and Shin Yu Na (Yuna). Copyright goes to JYP Entertainment.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’ve already done a post like this about Everglow, who is probably my favorite girl group right now. But it’s always difficult to look at rookie groups and not hear the name ITZY. Rookie groups are constantly compared to each other, and I feel like ITZY and Everglow have been pitted the most against each other than any other groups I’ve seen right now. These competitions always happen between fans of rookie groups, but the one between Everglow and ITZY has been pretty fierce. ITZY has been called the leader of the fourth generation by many. They’ve received invitations to award shows and other events, things that Everglow haven’t gotten. Many say that it’s because they are better than Everglow while others say that it’s because JYP is a big company and YeHua isn’t really. Obviously, I prefer the music of Everglow but I don’t think that inherently makes them better than ITZY or that ITZY doesn’t deserve the recognition they’ve been getting. I don’t really like pitting groups against each other anyways. But I do think it’s interesting to see what the rookie groups are already great at now and what I look forward to seeing more of in the future. But mostly, I want to treat both Everglow and ITZY equally in this instance in a way that doesn’t actually pit them against each other. Some of this is just my personal opinions, so please take them with a grain of salt.

Vocals:

ITZY performs with a track and often lip syncs, but I find that most rookie groups do that as well as a few performances where they go without it. ITZY tends to go without the track a bit more than I’ve seen from other rookie groups, which is great! The main vocalist for ITZY is Lia who definitely receives some of the most vocally demanding parts. Let me just say, Lia is a great vocalist. If you listen to her singing on her own just to sing, it’s simply amazing. She really is one of the standout vocalists of the current rookie groups. My only concern here is that sometimes the songs don’t really highlight her full vocal range. Also, fans have pointed out that there are sometimes issues with Lia dancing and singing at the same time. I don’t think she should be shamed at all for that, people really don’t realize how both physically and vocally demanding their performances are. Lia’s voice is beautiful and I think this group really has that going for them.

Rap:

The lead rapper in this group is Ryujin and every time I’ve heard her rap I’ve thought that she’s already pretty good and has great potential. Right now their songs haven’t been focusing on rap as much, but I really look forward to Ryujin being centered more often for her rap in the future.

Dance:

There’s a lot to say about this. Firstly, ITZY’s choreography is absolutely insane. It is fast paced and complex. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people recommending their songs for working out. This team is also equipped with Chaeryeong, who is one of the best dancers I have ever seen. You watch her fancams and everything just looks so effortless. But it’s also important to point out that a lot of hate has been directed towards Lia for what people call “lazy dancing”. I don’t really understand where all of this hate is coming from. Yes, Lia is probably the weakest dancer, but in no way do I think she’s doing it on purpose. And even though she may be the weakest dancer, she is by no means a weak dancer. You try to do what she does. Those dances are insane and she keeps up with them really well. She’s also a rookie so we shouldn’t expect everything she does to be absolutely perfect. In fact, we shouldn’t expect that from any idol at all. So give her a break and let her grow, ok?

Music:

ITZY is not considered to be very consistent with their music and I can see why. I have listened to their entire discography and I didn’t hate anything that they came out with. People love their title songs, but they are criticized for their B-sides being a little lackluster. I personally thought their B-sides weren’t all bad, but I did think they were a little hit or miss. For example, I really love songs like ‘That’s a No No’ and ‘SURF’, but ‘Want It?” and ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ really missed the mark for me. It can be tough for me to listen to some of their stuff for long periods of time because I’m prone to headaches and many of their songs have higher pitched repeated beats in the background. That’s a personal issue though and I try not to let it effect how much I like the songs that I do like. But I do agree that they could be a bit more consistent.

Visuals:

Just as I said with Everglow, all of these women are gorgeous. People have been really toxic towards these girls. Many people have praised Yeji for her looks while others have said that she looks like an alien. Chaeryeong gets constant backlash from people who believe that she’s ugly (HOW???). And then you get to the youngest Yuna, a visual who people have accused JYP over oversexualizing even though she’s underaged. I personally don’t think that Yuna’s outfits are all that different from what most girl groups wear; but JYP has been accused of a lot in the past and I’m not sure it would really surprise me if that were true. Once again I want to say that there is not one member of this group that is not absolutely heart-stoppingly beautiful. Chaeryeong is actually my bias if I had to choose one in this group and I have no idea how people could think that she’s not pretty.

Theming:

ITZY hasn’t really followed the regular brand of theming for girl groups, which I find really interesting. They already seem to have a style that’s completely their own and really appeals to the youth of this generation. I also think it fits very well with their lyrics that they aren’t ascribing to anything in particular other than being themselves. They already seem to have created a brand for themselves which has only been made clearer with the new release of their Line Friends merchandise. It’s insane to see a group who already seems to have their identity hammered out so early on.

Performance:

They are known for performing pretty well live between their interesting stages, complex dances, and empowering songs. Performance is something that all of them seem to thrive at. Though they still need to become better at balancing the vocals and the dancing at some parts, the fact that they are already at such an amazing state of performance is insane. They even rival ATEEZ, which is really saying something considering the fact that ATEEZ is no longer a rookie group and is a group known for their high energy. ITZY can go toe to toe with anyone with their performances.

Leader:

The leader of this group is Yeji, which is a decision that has also faced controversy. Seriously these girls are going through so much. It’s probably just the public being confused with how they got popular so fast (though I’m not sure why they would be confused considering the talent of these girls). Yeji is one of the more quiet members of ITZY and doesn’t talk as much in interviews. This is especially apparent to international fans because, though all of the girls speak English very well, Lia is extremely fluent (even though this shouldn’t matter). But even in regular interviews, Lia is known to take point and make sure that every member gets to speak. I would like to point out that being a leader involves much more than just taking point in interviewing. A leader also does a lot behind the scenes. The majority of their tasks are things that we wouldn’t even see. Each member of ITZY seems to be really happy with Yeji as their leader, and that’s all we need to know to know that she’s a good leader.

ITZY is definitely a monster rookie group. I am conflicted though because most people are hoping for JYP to die out. I can see why people wish for this because it’s the company of the big three that is considered to be the most corrupt. It would be nice if one of the big companies died out and made room for more smaller companies. But I don’t think that we should determine whether or not we like ITZY based off of that. These women are human beings and we shouldn’t wish for their downfall. I think that they’re actually pretty good and I wish them the best, no matter what happens to JYP.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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