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Philippine 'Swifties' flock to Taylor Sheesh show

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Thousands of diehard Taylor Swift fans erupted in screams Friday as a Philippine drag queen impersonating the American music megastar strutted on stage in a Manila shopping centre.

For many Filipino "Swifties", as Taylor Swift's fans are called, this is the closest they will get to the singer's "The Eras Tour" after the Philippines was left off the Asian leg next year.

As fans across the region scrambled Friday to get their hands on tickets for her six shows in Singapore, one of only two stops in Asia, Filipino Swifties flocked to a mall to see the next best thing: Taylor Sheesh.

Wearing a long blonde wig and gold sequined and tasselled dress, Sheesh shimmered across the floor as she imitated Swift's dance moves and lip-synced songs from her 2010 "Speak Now" album.

Mostly young fans sang along to the lyrics they first heard as children, bouncing up and down while filming with their smartphones.

"I love her writing and her songs," gushed Daphne Ayuste, 21, after posing with her boyfriend in front of a cardboard cut-out of Swift.

Fans began lining up in the tropical heat more than four hours before Friday's concert celebrating the release of Swift's re-recorded "Speak Now" album.

Many wore cat-ear headbands featuring Swift's face and the colour purple to match her dress on the album cover.

One fan carried a framed picture depicting Swift as the Virgin Mary.

Sheesh, whose real name is Mac Coronel, began impersonating Swift in 2017.

The 28-year-old has seen her popularity explode in the Philippines after footage of her performing her own version of The Eras Tour in May went viral.

"She's so very popular here," Coronel told AFP backstage, describing the Philippines as "Taylor nation".

"We all know that (for) every situation... there's always a Taylor Swift song," she said. — AFP

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