Monday, September 14, 2015

BSB Forever...But What About Those Other Guys?

In light of nsync and BSB joining forces for Dead7, I thought the timing of this blog was quite perfect. I have a very special guest blogger for you today. She is actually an Nsync fan… *ducks from flying objects*. Hear me (and her) out!! I’ve loved chatting with her and learning more about the Nsync fandom. For starters, just the fact that the nsync fandom still exists was a surprise for me. I’ve been learning so much from her, and the biggest thing I’ve actually taken away from our conversations is just how lucky the BSB army is to have all the opportunities we do. As easy as it is for us to complain the cruise is too much money, not the right region of the world, not the right cruise line, etc, etc, ….hearing from a fan in the nsync community has really put things into perspective for me and made me super appreciative of everything our boys do for us after all these years. Cruises, Concerts, VIPs, After Parties, books, TV shows, documentaries. The list goes on and on. 

I also thought this post was timely after 1D announced their hiatus. A lot of parallels were drawn to Nsync's 'hiatus'. So I’m thrilled to have my friend, TSL, shed some light on the nsync fandom. Her favorite Nsyncer is Chris and favorite Backstreet Boy is Brian. So without further ado…. 

First and foremost, I would like to thank Laura for being such a gracious blogger as to let this Nsync girl into her (and your) world and I am so honored that she asked me to be a guest on her beloved blog.  It’s been quite a fascinating experience to learn about each other’s fandom, and I think I can speak for both us when I say it has been a lot fun being each other's boy band tour guide! :)
Secondly, I'd like to thank you guys, the readers, for this opportunity to share some updates about my boys and my perspective on the Nsync fandom.  You may not have thought much about us since the heydays of TRL and would probably be surprised to know that yes, there are Nsyncer’s still going strong!

In truth, a lot of Nsync fans don’t even know what’s going on with the guys since each member has been doing his own thing for a long time now.  Plus, we don't have a formalized place to get official updates so it’s easy for the casual fan to miss out on what’s going on.  In all honesty, my own interest has waxed and waned over the years, but nostalgia and curiosity always pull me back in and I fall in love with them all over again!

So I thought I’d start off with an update on the individual guys, going in order of how their names appear in the band’s name:

The most visible of the members due to his successful musical career, movie roles, SNL appearances, and business ventures with Target and MasterCard, as well as his own clothing line and tequila brand (you might have seen his commercials; yes, that talking lime head is Justin).  He’s also well-known for his bromance with Jimmy Fallon (they even voiced those iPad/iPad mini commercials together). Oh, and did you know the McDonald’s catchphrase came from one of his songs? Youtube it and you’ll hear that familiar “bada ba ba baah - I’m loving it”

On the personal side of things, Justin has been married to actress Jessica Biel for almost 3 years and they recently had a baby boy, Silas, named after his maternal grandfather.

Happily married since November 2013 and lives in Florida where he runs a music studio, produces music for local artists, and is in a rock band called Nigel's 11. He has a charitable foundation and is involved in many local events benefitting underprivileged children.  Most recently, he had a small part in Sharknado 3 and I was surprised to learn he will be appearing in Dead 7 along with Joey.

While we sometimes wonder how each of the members feel about Justin, Chris seems to be the one that every member loves. I think it’s because he’s the most “normal” and unchanged by fame and they all have such an affinity for him. Case in point – his wife planned a surprise for his 40th birthday in which the other 4 guys showed up at his house and they just hung out until 6:00 in the morning. It was the first time they spent any alone time together in about 5 years, and I don’t think it would have happened for anyone else in the band.

Has become somewhat of a TV personality, having appeared in a few kid shows, a couple of cooking competitions on the Food Network, and Dancing with the Stars.  He also hosted some tv shows including NBC’s Celebrity Circus, The Singing Bee, and My Family Recipe Rocks (on the Live Well network).  Joey was on Broadway (in Rent, and Little Shop of Horrors) and earlier this year he was in Rock of Ages in Las Vegas.  Perhaps most famously, he was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and in fact, recently finished filming the sequel in Canada.  Oh, and of course you guys know that Nick asked him to be a part of his SyFy movie, Dead 7.

On the personal side, Joey has been married to his high school girlfriend for about 11 years, and they have two daughters, ages 14 and 5.

Hosts a radio show on Serius XM called "Dirty Pop" in which he plays a countdown of songs, talks about pop culture, and has celeb guests stop by. He’s currently broadcasting from New York while also working on the Meredith Vieira daytime talk show as one of her pop-culture panelist. Lance is probably most well-known for coming out as a gay man on the cover of People magazine in 2006. Since then, he has become a major advocate for the LGBT community, appearing in magazines, speaking at public and private events, and using his production company to create documentaries about LGBT issues.  Late last year, Lance got married which was documented in an E! special, Lance Loves Michael.

In 2007, Lance released a book, Out of Sync, which chronicles his struggle as a gay person growing up in conservative Mississippi and being in a world-famous band with a huge female fan base.  His book gave us a first-hand account of the band’s history but in doing so, caused a lot of heated discussion within our fandom as it exposed the circumstances that surrounded the band’s indefinite “hiatus.”

Oh, and if you’re wondering about his name, it isn’t actually “Lanceton.”  The band originally had a member named Jason (so the “N” came from his name) but he quit and was replaced by Lance, so the guys gave him this awkward nickname to fit in with the acronym.  Silly, I know, but hey it works.

The only member who is still single. He released an album, Schizophrenic, in 2004 and appeared on many tv talk-shows to promote it and was even scheduled to do the half-time show for the NFL Pro-Bowl, but it got cancelled after the fall-out from Justin’s performance with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl just one week prior.  In 2007, he was preparing to release a second album but his record deal fell through and it never got released.  JC considers himself a writer and producer more than a singer/performer and in fact invested in a music studio several years ago.  In 2013, he put together an all-girl group modeled after the popular “super groups” in Asia but it never amounted to much and disbanded.  JC appears happy to work behind the scenes with other artists and will occasionally perform with them, most recently with Smokey Robinson and the Blues Traveler.  He has done some light acting over the years and was getting ready for a huge cross-country tour of Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar but it was abruptly cancelled last year.  He may be most known post-Nsync for being a judge on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew for 7 seasons.

Ok, so moving on…

Here’s a trivia question for you guys: When did Nsync officially break up?  …Don’t know? Well neither do we! Sadly, I’m not even kidding.  This may not be common knowledge, but Nsync never officially announced their break-up.  In 2002, they told us they would take a half-year hiatus to pursue individual projects then come back together to work on their fourth album.  Those 6 months eventually turned into 2 years and all the while they repeatedly said that they did NOT break up. But as time went on, with Justin’s career blowing up and no reunion in site, we were left to conclude on our own that Nsync was not getting back together and had indeed broken up.  As such we can, to a certain extent, empathize with the One Direction fans.  Our band’s break up is a touchy subject in our fandom, so we hope the 1D’ers don’t have to go through what we did.

While we don’t know the exact date that the Nsync broke up, we do know the last time they performed (prior to the VMA reunion) was at their sixth annual Challenge For The Children charity event in July 2004. It was a rather poignant moment because they had not sung together since their Bee Gees tribute at the Grammys in February 2003, which in itself was a pretty big deal since Justin had already made a name for himself with the release of his first solo album.  Following the CFTC event, the buzz about the band’s break-up was even louder and in fact MTV reported that the boys would be meeting to discuss the fate of the band after that weekend’s festivities.  Well, the days came and went and no press-release about their break-up.  The following year, in 2005, the band fulfilled their commitment to host the CFTC for one last time.  Fans who attended described it as bittersweet – they were happy to see the band together but the spirit and mood was noticeably different; supposedly the guys appeared to be somewhat distant and disjointed.

We only learned definitively what happened thanks to Lance’s book. In it, he revealed that the band did indeed meet after the 2004 CFTC to discuss the state of things and it was then that Justin said he would not be coming back to the band.  There were some fans who challenged the validity of Lance’s account as they found inaccuracies in his statements and timelines throughout the book. Regardless, he gave the fans who were already leery of Justin more fuel for their disdain and countless arguments about his actions and intentions ensued.  The mere uncertainty of what truly happened created tons of blame and speculation about who-did-what-to-whom-and-why and caused major in-fighting among the fans.

For those of us who remain active in the fandom, the lines are still drawn: On one side are those who have extreme hatred for Justin and see him as selfish and egotistical.  On the other side are fans that support Justin’s decision to take a golden opportunity which he adeptly parlayed into an incredible career.  In the middle are fans like me who have a love-hate relationship with Justin: we are upset by his actions that led to the untimely end to Nsync and may not like him, but do applaud his accomplishments and acknowledge his meteoric rise to fame.

To me, the most hurtful thing was not that Justin left – after all, you can’t deny someone with immense talent who is destined for stardom – but rather, the way it was handled by everyone involved and especially that no one told us what was going on.  How could they not give us the courtesy and respect that we deserved after all we’ve given to them?!  …Argh, even as I type this, I can feel my temperature rising!  Sigh…but what’s done is done and we’ve all accepted that our life is now basically this:

So as you can see, we’re a very fragmented fandom, one of many emotions and differing opinions about our very own boys. But what we can all agree on is the absolute joy they gave us as a band, and we are completely happy and certain in our choice that Nsync was the right boy band for us.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it.  There’s so much more I would love to share, but maybe we can save that for another time.  For now, I will close by saying that Laura and I have had tons of fun talking about our boys and it’s been an incredibly enlightening experience! She is quite the ambassador for your fandom and I feel so fortunate to have met her.  I appreciate her taking an interest in my fandom and engaging in in-depth discussions with me.

At the end of the day, I am left with these final thoughts...

  1. Your band loves you and that is SO awesome! I have always had the utmost respect for the way BSB treats your fandom; they have been open and honest with you guys all along the way and I envy your ability to get the answers and closure you deserve. On top of that, Laura has shared all the tremendous opportunities you have to meet and interact with the band and I’m genuinely happy for you guys.
  2. No one band is “better” than the other. There are so many facets that make a band great and when it’s all said and done it's just a matter of personal liking. For example, why do some people like the color blue and others like the color red?  One is not innately better than the other and there is no right or wrong answer. Similarly, each of us likes one band more than the other for whatever reason; it’s just our preference…so no need to get upset about it! ;o)
  3. After all these years our boys still give us the feels!  Yep, we still go crazy for them and obsess over everything, but we’re also a lot more mature now. We can actually acknowledge positive things about the other band (gasp!) and even be critical about our own band (gasp again!)  So yes, the passion is still there…we’re just not as blinded by it as we were before.  So YAY to us for being older and wiser and sticking by our boys’ side through thick and thin, and especially for still having fun and keeping the love!! 
“You asked for it…Let’s show these young boys how to do it.”
- Justin with Nsync, 2013 VMA