They’ve been labeled competitors for over two decades, but members of the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC recently took the stage together in the ultimate unit show, making their debut as “Back-Sync” at The Grove in Los Angeles. , California .
Before performing each other’s greatest hits, Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter and AJ McLean and *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone and Lance Bass shared how the seeds of their friendship and new professional endeavors – including commitment recently announced in Las Vegas The After Party, featuring Carter, McLean, Fatone and Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris – were planted behind the scenes of their groups’ perceived feuds.
McLean, 43, noted he’s been buddies with Fatone, 44, since he was growing up in Florida, where the two bands were formed. “I used to hang out with Joey in Orlando when we were both on the road,” McLean said PopDust. “And, I went to Lance’s wedding. Lance and [husband] Michael has been very close to my family for a long time.”
“My wife gravitates to the gay man in the boy band – like Jonathan [Knight of New Kids on the Block] and Lance!” McLean continued. “Lance and Joey are amazing people and it’s so fun to play with them. It’s good to finally be on stage again with my boy Nick.”
Fatone added that working on Carter’s 2016 Syfy film Death 7 provided many hours of bonding with a group of boys. Fatone and bandmate Chris Kirkpatrick starred in the film alongside Carter, McLean and bandmate Howie Dorough, as well as 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons and O-Town’s Jacob Underwood and Erik-Michael Estrada. The singers have spent much of their free time in Butte, Montana discussing their shared popstar experiences.
“There were several times where we had conversations and suddenly we were like, ‘Wait a minute – we’re linear in terms of the journey we’ve been through,'” Fatone said. “Then Nick is the one who really brought us together for the movie. At one point Howie and I were hanging out and Howie said, ‘How did you guys really get together?’ He never really knew the story. , so we were always sitting around having these conversations.”
The story of how late boy band mogul Lou Pearlman formed *NSYNC after creating and finding success with the Backstreet Boys has often sparked speculation about bad blood between the two bands. However, the members agree that much of the competitiveness was projected onto them by fans and those they worked with.
Fatone noted that any competition was healthy, remarking that he and McLean even enjoyed debating the best songs during their Death 7 break time.
“I was like, ‘Listen to that acapella song that we sang,’ and then he was like, ‘No, listen to that acapella song that BSB did. That was really good!'” Fatone continued. “We were arguing and going back and forth about different songs, which was fun. It’s friendly competition and it just keeps us striving to do things better – and ultimately do better together.”
Bass notes that while he’s been friends with McLean’s entire family for years, it wasn’t until the last year that he developed a closer bond with Carter.
“Our relationship just started a year ago because of the pandemic,” Bass, 42, explained. “We started talking and we are big crypto nerds so we bonded over cryptocurrency.
Of course, blondes have something else in common: their hair.
“We bond over the frosted tips,” laughed Bass. “We’re pretty much the ones who invented this in the 90s, so this is a club we can never escape!”
Now, two decades later, the two are at their own club Back-Sync, having teased fans about a potential collaboration for months before performing together for the first time in June. The game night and concert were held to celebrate pride and the LGBTQ community. The evening benefited LA Pride and the Trevor Project, which helps struggling LGBTQ youth — a community where someone attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the United States, according to CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley.
Paley appeared via video after the musicians presented the Trevor Project with a cryptocurrency check for $1 million in TKINU tokens, on behalf of their involvement in the Mission Tsuki cryptocurrency project.
Bass and Carter, 41, got involved with the project after bonding over crypto. The two hope to create a pioneering universe in the world of cryptocurrency that will be centered around a dog meme named Tsuki, who will merge virtual and physical words while giving back.
“There are so many things we have in store, like clothes,” Carter said, while wearing a Mission Tsuki jacket. “This is very fun.”
Banders were joined by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage and rapper Todrick Hall for presenting the check. Face and Hall also brought Back-Sync to the stage after fans completed 10 rounds of bingo led by “Bingo Boy” Jeffery Bowman and drag comedian Roz Drezfalez.
McLean kicked off the music with her solo single “Love Song Love,” as her daughters, Ava, eight, and Lyric, four, danced and sang adorably in the front row.
“When I was about six years old, that was the first time I was introduced to the LGBT community and I’ve been a fan, I’ve been an ally, and I’ve been a part of it all my life” , said McLean before performing the track. “I will continue to be at the forefront, showing my support and love for this beautiful community.”
McLean, Carter, Fatone and Bass then performed the Backstreet Boys anthem “I Want It That Way” and *NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye”.
The performance came just two weeks after McLean and Chris Kirkpatrick of *NSYNC released their collaborative single “Air” as part of McLean’s side project ATCK in Las Vegas.
Back-Sync then hit West Hollywood for an after-party at Bass’ bar Rocco’s WeHo, where he and Carter met up with their wives and loved ones in cabanas before being presented with a cake by Mission Tsuki.
Carter and his wife Lauren Kitt planned to return home to Las Vegas the next day, in time for Father’s Day, with Carter gushing over the simple joys of parenthood.
“There were so many good memories and good times,” Carter said of their first weeks as a family of five, after he and Lauren welcomed daughter Pearl in April. The couple also have a five-year-old son, Odin, and a one-year-old daughter named Saoirse. “Even the simplest things like dropping on the floor, picking up the kids, putting them on your feet and playing Superman, or rolling around and spending time tickling them or chasing them – all those things we loved in growing up are the best times because that’s when you’re not looking at your phone and you’re literally grounded.”
Carter is now preparing for The After Party, which takes place at the Venetian Resort Las Vegas for four nights in August. The shows will see the musicians perform each other’s hits, tell stories and bring in surprise guests. Little known to fans, the move to Las Vegas was already in the works before Back-Sync was formed.
“It’s something you’ve never seen before,” says Fatone. “People have toured Y2K bands, but they go out as a band. It’s different – you’ve never seen AJ and Nick together in a different entity.
“You’re going to hear hits from Boyz II Men, hits from Backstreet and of course hits from *NSYNC and we’ll also have special guests and surprises to come.”