Pop & Circumstance: NKOTBSB, WTF?

No explanation needed.
No explanation needed.

New Kids on the Block. Backstreet Boys. New Kids on the Block. Backstreet Boys. New Kids on the Backstreet Boys. Sounds a little violent, if not sexual.

Does anyone else find this collaborative tour slated for next year to be strangely outdated? Sure, it’s a comeback tour, but with nine men onstage, the idea seems awfully overwhelming, even with stadium seating inside a major U.S. venue. That’s a lot of testosterone. (It’s also a lot of hair gel.)

So, the lineup. We’ve got the “Kids” — who are really in their 40s — Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood. The “Boys” are lacking one original member, Kevin Richardson, who left the group in 2006 to move on with his life. However, A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter are ready and willing to get this party started. Again.

NKOTBSB’s Sunday night performance at the American Music Awards had Twitter in a hash-tagging frenzy due to the fangirls of decades past. The mash-ups between the two bands were surprisingly well executed (sure, they can sing, and Nick Carter is looking fine), but the real question on everyone’s mind was, why did this need to happen at all?

Why would the members of each respective group want to sing another boy band’s songs? Why would the late ’80s fans of NKOTB be placed in the same demographic as the late ’90s fans of BSB? A 12 year-old “Blockhead” in 1990 would have been 21 when BSB came out with the best selling album of 1999, “Millennium.” Don’t most fangirls grow out of the teen heartthrob phase before then?

I guess not. Audience members were singing and clapping along to the performance that some say saved the AMAs altogether, which had the lowest viewer ratings in the show’s history. It seems that two boy bands are better than one, as the first tour dates in Toronto and Chicago sold out in minutes.

On Sunday, during the chorus of BSB’s “Larger Than Life”, the nine men sang “All you people can’t you see, can’t you see, N K O T B S B!” subbing the acronym for the actual lyrics, “How your love’s affecting our reality.” Eesh. You’re affecting something, boys.

A whopping 24 dates have been announced for NKOTBSB’s tour, starting in June. Buy early.

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Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a Pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.