Backstreet's Back, but what about the rest of the boys? When The Backstreet Boys announced a Las Vegas Residency for 2017, it definitely reduced a bunch of 20-somethings to squealing MTV pre-teens all over again. But let's face facts, not everyone was team Backstreet. I mean, I was, and I low-key have a tab of Vegas airline prices up right now. On the other side of the fence, though, some of you have to be curious about the possibility of an *NSYNC Las Vegas residency. And while everything's possible, I wouldn't hedge any bets on that happening anytime soon.
What you first need to consider is that the Backstreet Boys have been formally reformed for about four years now. In 2012, it was announced that Kevin Richardson rejoined the band after a long hiatus, and, following that, BSB embarked on a tour with fellow boybanders New Kids On The Block. Since then, they've come back as a formidable force, with their documentary Show 'Em What You're Made Of cataloging their growth as a group and more comical ventures — that heavenly cameo at the end of This Is The End and Nick Carter's zombie Western Dead 7 — showing their staying power as a nostalgia act. The Backstreet Boys have been invested in being a group unit for a long time.
*NSYNC, by contrast, haven't been a cohesive unit since the turn of the millennium. Sure, their reunion performance at 2013 MTV Video Music Awards certainly showed that there was sizable fan interest in the band getting back together, but two things are necessary to facilitate that: freedom of schedule, and a willingness to return to 1997.
Now, certainly a good chunk of the *NSYNCers have open, or at least fairly flexible, availability. Lance Bass pops up on TV every once in a while, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, those guys probably have pages of their social calendar free for days. Joey Fatone... he was in the Big Fat Greek Wedding sequel, right? For any of those four, retreating back in *NSYNC would be a wise financial and career move. So really it all comes down to Justin Timberlake.
And I hate to say it, kids, but JT is kind of the combo breaker. Not only has Timberlake had a wildly successful solo career and a fifth album currently in the works, but he also lining his pockets with money from major motion pictures. He's palling around with Jimmy Fallon and going home to Jessica Biel. His post-*NSYNC life has been both fruitful and busy, and those boy band days are merely an interesting footnote on his resume.
If we were talking about a tour, maybe Timberlake could find a lull in his schedule to book some dates. But there's a kind of exhausting semi-permanence in Vegas residencies — that is, you have to be on board for a year or two at a time, drawing in crowds night after night, committing to that specific performance. And I know this reality is going to break your heart, but there is no motivation for Timberlake to really commit to that without a strong personal desire to jam with the other boys. He doesn't need *NSYNC, hasn't needed *NSYNC for a long time, and, while that must be disappointing to your inner TRL teenybopper, it's just an unavoidable truth.
Does that mean it'll never happen? Who knows... long-retired acts have been cashing in on my generation's undying obsession with the '90s for years now, and it doesn't show any sign of slowing down. If Timberlake's career inexplicably takes a nosedive in the next two or three years, this can be back up for discussion. But I don't think we should anticipate that this antiquated boy rivalry will resurface in the streets of Sin City any time soon. Because, aside from the Timberlake factor and the financial fall out of making people pick a side all over again, that town is big enough for only so many boy bands.
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