The days of *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys ruling the world may be over, but Lance Bass is giving those wanting to relive their teeny bopper dreams a look at what really went down, in this new doc.
If you lived through the 1990s and 2000s popstar era, you can’t help but think of the days when the boy bands ruled the world. But a lot went on behind the scenes of all that glitz and glamour that nobody knew much about – until now. In the documentary, The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story, *NSYNC member Lance Bass, 39, along with director Aaron Kunkel, do a fantastic job of letting fans reminisce over the days when their walls were covered with posters of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter. But, very quickly, we find out that the mastermind behind the phenomenon that was boy bands was not who outsiders thought he was. Lance, along with fellow pop icons JC Chasez of *NSYNC, 42, Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean, 41, and O-Town heartthrob Ashley Angel Parker, 37, are a few of the stars who appear in the film. During the doc – which premiered at SXSW on March 13 – the stars go in deep during their confessionals about their former boss, record producer Lou Pearlman, whose 2008 conviction for running a Ponzi scheme made headlines.
Though he’s known for creating some of the biggest names in pop music to date, we quickly find out Lou’s arrest had nothing to do with the industry at all, but rather his company’s involvement in fraud and stealing millions of dollars from investors. In 2008 Lou, then aged 53, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud involving his company Trans Continental Savings Program through which he stole upwards of $300M from investors.
The film opens up by showing fans exactly what they want – the making of all these bands that we all grew to love quickly. Later it dives into Lou’s personal trials and tribulations, going as far back as interviewing his childhood friends where we get a taste of maybe why this man turned into a convicted felon in the first place. Lou clearly was bullied as a child and used his newfound fame and greed to advance his career while robbing the bands and its members of millions upon millions of dollars which ultimately resulted in *NSYNC and BSB breaking their contracts and parting ways with him. The film does a great job of keeping things raw and honest with several of Lou’s prodigies, and even family members like Lance’s mother Diane Bass and Justin Timberlake’s mom Lynn Harless, admitting that they were advised not to sign Lou’s contracts, but they wanted to be famous.
We learn in the film that, even while he was in prison, Lou tried his best to stay working in the music industry by making phone calls trying to put bands together in order to reduce his time behind bars. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but died from a stroke in 2016 after serving a little over two years. He was 62.
Although, in the end Lou really was not the boss he wanted everyone to believe he was, it’s evident that most of the talent he discovered has mixed feelings about the man who helped some of pop music’s brightest stars break into the industry. At one point former teen heartthrob Aaron Carter, now 31, is seen getting emotional and needing a break from filming to collect himself.
If you are a former teeny bopper (or even a current one), you will not at all be disappointed in this film when it premieres on YouTube Red on April 3rd as it really makes you yearn for the days when you’d run home from school to turn on MTV’s TRL to watch fans flood the streets of Times Square hysterically crying.