Nick Carter on ABC’s ‘Boy Band': ‘We Want to Put Together a Boy Band That Will Last’
The youngest Backstreet Boy will be one of three architects trying to "create the next great music sensation, live," alongside former Spice Girl Emma Bunton and Grammy Award-winning producer and artist Timbaland.
Ahead of Boy Band's premiere this week, we caught up with Carter to chat about the exciting new competition, the secret to having a lasting pop group and the Backstreet Boys' forthcoming return to Las Vegas!
How did you get involved with Boy Band?
ABC approached me with the idea of this show. The producers who came to me said they were thinking of a new concept with the three architects and a mentor. When they approached me, they said, "Listen, we tried to think about people who could possibly be an architect on this show. We feel that you really could contribute in a lot of ways because you are in a boy band and we can’t really think of anybody else who is literally living in a boy band and have the knowledge and experience that you do."
After hearing that, I just couldn’t turn it down. I just wanted to be involved because it just seemed like it could be so much fun. And after 24 years of doing this, I feel as if I have a lot to say and I have a lot to offer, but I haven’t really had the opportunity to share this knowledge yet. So I felt like this could be a great opportunity with this show. ABC is just really behind it and they want to get it right. You know there have been other networks that have tried to do something with boy bands, but it hasn’t really worked. This time around with the cast, with the chemistry that the judges have, that we all have going on right now, it’s real… It’s a real thing. We care about what happens to these guys, these young kids and we care about their future. Long story short, I hopefully can offer a lot about being in a boy band.
Was your guest judge stint on Dancing With the Stars an audition of sorts?
I wouldn’t say that. They wanted me to come back and be involved. I know Julianne [Hough] couldn’t be on the show that week, and I created a very good relationship with ABC during and after my participation in DWTS. And then, it just so happened that they were able to see, I guess, what I was capable of doing… I don’t think my being a guest judge hurt, but in my heart, I always try to prove myself. That’s what it was about. So you could look at it that way but I don’t know if that was necessarily the case from their point of view!
What will your role as an architect be like?
We are mentoring these guys and it’s got to be constructive criticism. It is our job to advise them based on our opinions from what we see in their performances. I’m sure that there’s going to be some stuff in between the shows that we’re gonna get involved with and give them some advice about, but really we are using our judgment based on what we are seeing live in front of the American audience to help make that decision, to get it right with America… To finally put together a boy band that will last and that will be the right one. But it’s also about finding guys that meet the criteria, guys that have all the things that you need to be in a boy band. We have to check off all of the boxes.
What are those boxes?
The most important is the way that they sing, but also do they have that likeability? Do they have that something special, that thing that draws you to them? There are so many different things that go into this process, but it obviously starts with their talent and then also their stage presence. Are they good under pressure when it comes to being on television? This is a very big stage! It’s a whole new world. It’s not the way it was when I was younger, so we are working together as architects to make the right decision, to put together a boy band that this generation will have for maybe another 24 years like our fans have us.
So you’re creating a little competition for yourself?
I don’t know if it will be competition in any way! You know, I’m 37 years old and I’m the youngest in my group. These guys are anywhere from 16 to 24 years old, so I’m not competing with these guys at all. It’s bigger. I think it’s more about supporting them. It’s about letting them know that they have a mentor, that they can lean on me, and Timbaland, and Emma for help. They can lean on us to make it through because it’s not easy. One thing that’s difficult about being in a boy band is that you need to have chemistry. You’ve seen it happen, you know, nine9 times out of ten. There’s only 10% of the time that these bands actually stick together. So it’s really hard. It’s like lightning in a bottle. And it’s our job to make sure that we get the right combination of people together, so that they can connect, find that magic, have that communication and be a team.
How much musical variety should we expect from the show?
All I can say is that these are the 30 most talented people out of thousands that were chosen. They all have something special about themselves. What’s going to be exciting is to see when they are paired up or when they are against one another, how they are going to rise to the occasion. I think that we are going to showcase them with hot new music and songs that are out now. We’re going to showcase their harmonies. We’re going to entertain America. Look, it’s a show, so we want to entertain people while at the exact same time be critical to the point where people know that this is a real thing, that this is not just something fleeting.
The show is in front of a live audience, too. Should we expect any musical guests? Are you or Timbaland or Emma going to get on stage?
There’s actually a couple little social media videos that are out there where you can see Timbaland actually get up to be with the contestants, and I’m up there with them showing some Backstreet Boys moves, so yeah, we’ll interact with them for sure.
You're also bringing those famous moves back to Sin City. You announced an extension of your Vegas residency. Does that mean your residency has been everything you hoped it would be?
It has been everything and more than we could ever have expected. The residency has given us new life. It’s helped us remind people of who we are. LiveNation has been involved with us for quite some time, during our tours outside of Vegas for the last couple of albums that we put out… And they saw that there was an opportunity to bring us to Vegas and with their help, with the Axis Theater and everything that Vegas can offer in one single place, we were able to create a really elaborate show. That’s something that we really couldn’t necessarily do on the road in the past four or five years, but that we could do here. It’s almost similar to some stuff we have done when we first started our Millennium shows, our Black and Blue shows, so it reminded people that we are a show first, as well as singers. We dance and we sing, and it’s a dying breed out there. People don’t do it as much and I think that’s why LiveNation wanted us to do it, because we do it well.
To announce the new shows, you sent some lucky fans special invitations to the new Vegas dates for their birthdays and featured them in a video. Whose idea was this?
We’ve got a very good social media team! [Laughs] No, that always comes from us and our team together. We always brainstorm together and find creative ways to keep entertaining our fans.
Boy Band premieres on ABC Thursday, June 22.
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