The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC were rivals for years, yet today have managed to but aside their past differences. Lance Bass tells us how he and BSB member AJ McLean helped end the longtime feud.
It was a battle of the boy bands in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s between the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. As a result, the members were bitter rivals and what made it even worse was both groups were founded by the same man, Orlando, FL based impresario Lou Pearlman. Now men from both bands have been brought together years later thanks to the documentary Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story which debuts March 13 at the SXSW film festival in Austin, TX. *NSYNC member Lance Bass produced the film and reveals that the friendship he developed with BSB member AJ McLean helped bring his bandmates together with their former rivals.
Lance, 39, tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY that the BSB guys didn’t want to participate in the doc and decided to let AJ, 41, speak for them in the film.”The Backstreet Boys said no. They just said, ‘look, AJ will tell the best story.’ I wanted a couple of them, but no, they didn’t really want to go down that route. Again, they didn’t know what type of documentary this would be, so they said AJ would definitely talk for all of them.”
This was a bitter subject for members of both bands. The BSB filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in 2005, alleging misrepresentation and fraud against Pearlman for siphoning off millions from the band as manager and producer. *NYSNC quickly followed suit, alleging similar issues. It was a subject that was hard for both bands to revisit for the documentary
Lance tells us “We (the bands) really didn’t have too much conversation after the lawsuit. Because it was still so fresh after we finally got rid of Lou, and they were still battling also. That we didn’t compare war stories just yet, but then, I think it was in the last 10 years, I’ve just really become good friends with AJ, and that’s where we have most of our conversations, like, ‘did he tell you this?’ ‘Yeah, but he told me this way.’ It was fun to try to get to the bottom of what the true story was. Even now, I don’t even know what a lot of the true stories are.”
Lance tells us that he and AJ helped bridge the gap of the bands’ rivalry and now men from both groups get along. “We’re definitely friends now, and it does seem silly. There is a part of me, that says wow, without the competition, both of us wouldn’t be as big. So it was a friendly competition and it was fun. I hate that it was started by someone like Lou Pearlman, as a kind of evil thing. In the end, it kind of worked to have that rivalry, because it made it more fun for the fans and for us. It made us get better and better.” In 2008, Pearlman pleaded guilty to running a ponzi scheme that swindled investors out of over $300 million. He died in a Florida prison at age 62 in 2016.