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"This I Promise You" is a Rival

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Competition—a word that can be applied as both a positive and negative trait in individuals. No wonder kids get confused so easily when a word as important as this one possesses a double meaning. 

    The fact that you’re reading this implies that you’re more than likely familiar with the Backstreet Boys, as well as there rabid competition with N’Sync. So in this case, competition is a good thing when you consider it’s motivational factor in fueling the groups to record solid albums. At the same time, this competition is bad when those same groups jab one another with public name-calling and accusations. Which serve to divide their large fan bases. This is where BSB and N’Sync have gone in recent months, though neither will acknowledge that any real feud exists.


    "I think that a lot of stuff has been created in the press between us and N’Sync—that we’re rivals and we’re fighting and competing," Kevin recently said. "We don’t have anything against those guys personally at all. We think they’re good guys. It was just the conflict with our old management keeping the fact from us that they were involved with N’Sync, too. We thought it was a conflict to have two of the same thing. That frustrated us and it hurt us. As far as our feelings toward the other groups, personally we have nothing against them; they’re trying to pursue their dreams like we’re trying to pursue ours. We’re just concerned about what we’re doing, not everybody else."

    At the same time, it should be pointed out that Kevin and his bandmates have alluded to a nameless group of copy-cats whom they’ve said are in need of "finding their own identity." N’Sync, on the other hand, has taken the higher road and remained unusually silent. "Can’t we all just get along?" That’s what some BSB and N’Sync fans are hoping to achieve. Will the boys heed their adoring public pleas?

    So, how did such nice boys from sunny Orlando involve themselves in this war? We may be exaggerating a little when we refer to it as a war, but when it comes to the pop scene, any tussle is considered to be a big tussle. Part of the reason for the feud could be that one singing quintet was modeled after the other through no fault of their own. That credit goes to one-time BSB and N’Sync financial backer Lou Pearlman. Good looks, baggy pants and washboard torsos aside, what really inspired BSB to retaliate against what they consider to be their "imitators" many crimes was N’Sync decision to sign a deal with Jive Records--also BSB’s new Label!

    Asked to expand on the discord, BSB would only say that they were "unhappy with the turn of events." The group even went so far as to threaten to separate from the label should N’Sync become part of its "family." Not surprisingly, the guys’ egos were stroked with—most likely—a juicier contract packed with royalties, and N’Sync stayed on board. From that moment on, it turned ugly and personal.

    Kevin, Howie, AJ, Brian, and Nick brought up specifics as proof of their accusations. Remember when N’Sync flew up in the air and across the audience during their concert performance of "Sailing"? well, according to BSB, this successful touring device was conjured up by them! Pearlman allegedly encouraged his other platinum-selling buddies to hand their own bodies from various arenas’ rafters, before BSB could receive credit.

    N’Sync has chosen to take the fifth on this matter, meaning nobody is saying—or singing—a word in defense. Not that N’Sync has been completely silent on the matter of competition, "We’ll give you a head-start," they recently said, "and we will still beat you." Them's be fightin' words!


    During "war," there are bound to be casualties. In this instance, it’s the fans who have suffered the most by doing battle in the name of their number one group.

    Truthfully, both BSB and N’Sync have been wildly successful. BSB’s Millennium sold 500,000 copies on it’s first day of release, while N’Sync set a new record with No Strings Attached clearing out one million copies in the same amount of time. And there’s no end in sight to this amazing success.

    Both bands should listen to their fans who think they should put away their differences and revel in the potential hysteria they could create as a united front. Think of all those dollar signs made on T-shirts alone! Both should follow the preachings poured into their sweet-laced songs and show each other some love.

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"Backstreet Boys vs. 'N Sync Rivals?" J-14 Special Collector's Edition Backstreet Boys  P. 30-31

Updated: 12/28/00