Backstreet Boys Documentary Reveals Their *NSYNC Rivalry Was More Serious Than We Thought

I am 28-years-old, and I still get up in arms when someone tries to explain why *NSYNC was a better boy band than the Backstreet Boys. Heck, just last year, Joey Fatone threw barbs at the Backstreet Boys by dissing their album and tour. According to the Backstreet Boys documentary, Show 'Em What You're Made Of, which premieres Friday on VH1, the rivalry between Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC runs a lot deeper than most fans would think. It's not news to hear that the manager who brought BSB together, Lou Pearlman, moved quickly to make another boy band after their astronomic success. However, what Pearlman was doing behind the scenes to make the rivalry not just something fans fought over but something that threatened the livelihoods of the band members, is something else entirely.

In an exclusive clip on Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Richardson shares, "In 1995, I had just come off the road and Lou said, 'Come here I want to show you something.' And he showed me a VHS tape of this group. They didn't have a name at the time, and I didn't know it was a showcase that Lou had financed and Lou had been working with. It was almost like a betrayal."

He continues, "When we started out we were like, 'We're a team and there's no one like us.' And then you find out actually there is somebody like you." It turns out the Backstreet Boys were not only blindsided by the arrival of *NSYNC, but that Pearlman directly threatened them with this new group.


According to AJ McLean, Pearlman told them, "We are molding them in your image." As the boy band phenomenon grew, their safety in the ever-booming trend shrank. McLean shared, "If we got tired and didn't want to tour and do a certain TV show, or whatever, boom... *NSYNC was right there."

We all knew that BSB and *NSYNC were fighting for number one; I just don't think any of us really knew that it was potentially orchestrated by the manager who formed both groups. In light of that claim, it's no wonder that the Backstreet Boys left his company and took him to court. Whether you're on Team Backstreet or Team *NSYNC, I think both sides can agree that the roots of the rivalry are much deeper than who scored the most votes on Total Request Live.