Face it, kids: Boy bands are back. One Direction and The Wanted, two British troupes of crooning dudes, are achieving major stateside success. And they’re even dissing Christina Aguilera! They’ll fit in just fine here, I think.
It’s only right that we commemorate the return of the cherished institution of boy bands with a list of the nine hottest boy band moments since the arrival of the Backstreet Boys. That’s when it really started getting steamy. I’ve compiled sexy instances from photo shoots, magazine spreads, music videos, and even some purposely gay stuff too! I’m leaving One Direction off this list since they’re so damn young, but once they get a couple of years on them, I’ll be pleased to consider them for future lists (until the end of time).
Let’s begin the newcomers, shall we?
9. The Wanted want us to want them!
Yes, it’s just a canny PR move, but facts are facts: The Wanted is on the cover of the UK’s Gay Times. There they are, shirtless and surrounded by buzzwords like “Hot Sex,” “Aussie Hunks and Trunks,” and some band called “Psychoville.” All alluring to me! And hey, their average age is almost 22. Hooray for adults!
8. O-Town rips off the Backstreet Boys, succeeds in playing games with our hearts.
Before you can yelp in astonishment at the clear plastic tanktop pictured before you, remember what’s important: 1) Ashley Parker Angel’s angsty chest, 2) the fact that MTV concoction O’Town purposely stole the “rain” motif from BSB, and 3) “Liquid Dreams” is immortally stupid.
7. The Backstreet Boys’ pool party is (sigh) not as hot as ’N Sync’s.
Fear not, BSB will exact their revenge later in the countdown (on more than one occasion), so don’t take their sudden loss to ’N Sync’s pool party personally. Clearly Nick isn’t bringing his A-game here, and he’s a critical factor in the BSB hawt index. But hey! Kevin’s back in the group! That’s something!
6. Young ’N Sync: 100% shirtless with 100% perfect haircuts
The bare-chestedness is pretty admirable in this foldout poster, as is the centurion arm-folding, but I’m most impressed by the haircuts here. That’s a full box of Cracker Jack on Justin’s head. Joey and Lance have androgynous situations up top. Chris’s is simply classic. And the truly hot JC Chasez is sporting the superest of Supercuts. Phenomenal.
5. BSB dons blazers of glory — and not much else.
Manly! Brian Littrell is really owning the boardroom naughtiness here, and to that commitment I say, “Brava.” That haircut might even pass in 2012. Fine work, sir. Fine work.
4. ’N Sync mature, look hot in black and white thanks to gay superhero Herb Ritts in “Gone.”
The loverman version of Justin Timberlake that we’d get to know as a solo artist made his sexiest ’N Sync appearance alongside his bandmates in “Gone,” one of legendary photographer Herb Ritts’ final music videos. It’s no “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” or “Wicked Game,” but it’s salacious enough to make the top half of our countdown.
3. 98 Degrees was pretty good at shirtlessness, guys.
At their best, the men of 98 Degrees — whose songs weren’t as atrocious as you want to believe — really understood shirtlessness. Sure, only three of the four members readily participated in the steamy state of dishabille, but the Guy Fieri haircut guy can’t ALSO be the future Chippendale’s guy. Simple rule. I’ll allow it.
2. The Wanted want us to want them!
It’s too early to assess the cultural impact of The Wanted’s nearly naked photoshoot, but I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong to place them at #2. The topaz complexions and stern realness speak for themselves, no? Sorry, Timberlake, but your boy band days are no match for these nervy upstarts.
1. The Backstreet Boys perfect rainy-chested heartthrobbery in “Quit Playing Games With My Heart”
Here it is, the video that combined all the heartfelt, dorky sexiness of the early BSB catalog (INCLUDING “We’ve Got It Goin’ On”) and added water. Howie Dorough’s chest? Is a superstar. Brian Littrell’s face? Is drowning in feelings. A.J. McLean? Meant everything so much. And that’s why it still means so much now. My heart = gamed.