We Finally Know The Crux Of The *NSYNC x Backstreet Boys Feud

Photo: Tim Roney/Getty Images
Before there was Taylor Swift versus Katy Perry, pop music fans relished in the drama between *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. The times were simpler then, when two groups of men with frosted tips and coordinated outfits could battle out their frustrations, not in cryptic tweets or multimillion-dollar music videos, but through choreographed dances.
For a long time, many of us didn't even stop to consider why the famous '90s boy bands were pitted against one another. It just seemed obvious that they would be enemies because they were two of the biggest names in the game. But, in a new interview with Billboard to talk about the 20th anniversary of *NSYNC's debut album, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, and JC Chasez revealed that the drama was actually so much more predictable than that.
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"I wanted to punch AJ's lights out for a little while," Kirkpatrick told Billboard. "I was dating a girl, I broke up with her, and he started dating her. And I guess he was talking smack to her about me, so I confronted him on it and wanted to kick his ass."
Oooh, tough guy. Luckily, for all parties involved, the spat never resulted in violence. Can you imagine going on tour with a black eye? Not a good look.
"I don't know how it got resolved," Kirkpatrick added. "I saw him out one night and said I wanted to kill him, but I said, 'Let's get a beer.' I think boy band fights are in the same realm as hockey fights. You fight when you're on TV, but then when you're not, you get a beer together. Now, we're really good friends."
Uhhhh, my boy Joe Thornton on the San Jose Sharks may have a different view of what goes into a hockey fight (Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs literally pulled some of his beard out during a brawl in January), but we'll let slide this one time.
Of course, the guys admitted that there was also a bit of a rivalry... just not on their parts.
"To us, there wasn't a competition," Kirkpatrick said. "We just thought we needed to be the best. To them, there was, because they came out and we came out, and they're like, 'Man, we have to be better than them!'"
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In all fairness, Backstreet Boy member Brian Littrel did admit to Refinery29 that he and the rest of his band mates were peeved when *NSYNC hit the scene and benefitted from their accomplishments.
"It was kind of like we were the older brother who went off to Yale or Harvard, and it just wasn't good enough," he explained. "How could it not be good enough? You go off on a four-year paid scholarship, and then your little brother comes along, and it's like the world was handed to him because of all the shit you knocked down."
He added that things were especially "tough" for them because *NSYNC was even repped by the same people.
"Same management, same label, same promoters, same writers, same producers, same everything," he said. "[*NSYNC was] seriously a carbon copy. That's when we kind of realised that this is a business. People really don't care. You've got five guys that really honestly care about what you do, and then you realise everybody around you doesn't."
Ouch. I'm pretty sure this isn't what they wanted when they sang "I want it that way."
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