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Surely you didn’t think that *NSYNC‘s plans for a splashy reunion amounted to a low-key MTV VMAs walk-on and a Trolls soundtrack single? As many fans have speculated, the late 1990s boy band superstars had much bigger plans in store for their first new music since going on hiatus in 2002.
Even Taylor Swift wondered “are you guys doing something?” when the group — comprised of Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick and Joey Fatone — took the stage at this year’s MTV awards show in September to present her with the best pop trophy. What followed was the bouncy Trolls Band Together soundtrack hit “Better Place,” but then… nothing else.
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In an interview with EW, Bass confirmed that the band had much bigger plans in place that were scuttled by the ongoing Hollywood strike; since then, the writers have reached a deal with the studios, but the actors strike has continued with no resolution in sight.
“I wish I had some answers for you but as everyone knows, the strike continues and it really threw a wrench in all of this,” Bass told EW, explaining that the strike rules that prohibit union members from promoting new projects during the strike limited their ability to do the rounds in support of the song. “We finally released a song after 23 years and we can’t even mention the song and we can’t talk about the movie it’s in. It was going to be such a special moment for all of us, and unfortunately that got sidetracked.”
But Bass — a member of both the Writers and Screen Actors guilds — provided some hope that the group could give fans their long hoped-for proper get back. “We have to get it right this time, and unfortunately, *NSYNC had to go down in flames for that one,” he said of the seemingly strike-scuttled bigger plans. “But we had so much fun, I don’t see this as our last thing. Because of this strike, I feel like we owe it to the fans again to rectify this and do something else. But until the strike ends, we can’t really even figure out what is next, if there’s anything next. Hopefully we’ll have a plan in place once this lifts and we’re able to get back to work.”
Despite dashed hopes that the VMAs appearance would also include a performance of the Trolls song and kick-off some kind of reunion victory lap, Bass said appearing alongside his bandmates was still “beautiful” and “overwhelming.”
“Even just doing the VMAs, I did not expect that many people to really care, but it was great to see,” he said of the freak-out in the room and on socials about the hush-hush reunion. “Especially since we’re not even able to mention the song, the fact that it is on the radio and people are streaming it like no other is very special and shows how much love that our fans have and [the love] we have for our fans. We can’t thank them enough.”
Despite the more modest roll-out, “Better Place” brought the group back onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart last month for the first time since 2002. “Better” kicked off its chart run by coming in at No. 25 during its first week on the Hot 100, which marked its chart peak. Timberlake has released five hit studio albums and scored a string of chart-topping hits since the band’s hiatus, while the rest of *NSYNC have posted modest, if any, music successes in the two decades since their pause.
And while *NSYNC developed a well-deserved reputation for their splashy, high-concept music videos during their heyday, another casualty of the strike rules found them unable to produce a visual for “Better Place” beyond a lyric video.
Bass said he’d totally be up for a “massive” world tour, which would mark the quintet’s first road run since their final live lap, the March/April 2002 outing in support of the band’s 2001 Celebrity album. “It would be super fun,” Bass said. “But if we did a tour, I’d want it to be with my boys first. We love to put on a show, that was our favorite, favorite thing. We spent every dime that we made on our tours — which, hindsight, I probably would’ve changed a little bit — so I think it would be fun to remind everyone what we do in our shows.”
When, and if, they could pull that off, Bass said he’d also be up for teaming up with some other iconic boy bands from the era, the properly reunited Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees, for some kind of package tour. “I think there’s a lot of room for us to tour with lots of fun groups from back then.”
Watch the “Better Place” lyric video below.
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