Billboard: Watch *NSYNC Re-Create a Hilarious Group Photo: ‘Who Had Us Pose Like That?!’

As *NSYNC revisit their boy-band days ahead of the release of their first new song in more than 20 years, they have one question: “Who had us pose like that?!”

On Tuesday (Sept. 19), the quintet posted a new Instagram video with that caption, that shows the five bandmates casually entering a room together, soundtracked by Simple Plan’s 2002 song “I’m Just a Kid,” only to fall into a completely ridiculous group pose. We then flash to the original photo, taken in January 2001, which has every guy making an over-the-top facial expression without any context or explanation against a white backdrop.

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LA Mag: *NSYNC Is in a ‘Better Place’ as Boy Band Reunites for ‘Trolls Band Together’ Song

“Perfect, perfect, perfect,” sings animated boy band BroZone throughout Trolls Band Together, a new film in the Trolls series — and *NSYNC fans will likely leave theaters chanting the same words after the film drops on November 17.

The third movie in the franchise celebrates boy bands as well as the ’90s and marks the first new music from *NSYNC — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass — in more than two decades, with feel-good track “Better Place.”

With just days to go until the hotly-anticipated recording is released on Sep. 29, Los Angeles magazine scored a preview of the song during an advance screening of Trolls Band Together in Beverly Hills.

Co-written by Timberlake and recorded with Chasez, Fatone, Kirkpatrick and Bass in L.A., the track starts off slow and mellow with Timberlake’s leads accompanied by smooth acapella backing from his bandmates, before bursting into the snappy, cheerful chorus that has had *NSYNC fans watching the film’s trailer on repeat.

By the end of the upbeat song, it’s “bye bye bye” to the group’s signature lyric, as the “Better Place” line “faster, faster, faster” is an instant earworm.

Likewise, Timberlake’s “dance, dance, dance” — from his 2016 Trolls smash “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — promptly makes way for “perfect, perfect, perfect,” from the catchy BroZone hit “Perfect,” which he also co-penned for the movie.

While the film marks a massive moment for *NSYNC — whose animated versions appear on the big screen with character names like “Boom” and “Hype” – it’s also a celebration of ’90s music and culture, from roller-skating and puffer jackets to songs like Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push it” and Shaggy’s “Boombastic.”

Of course, it’s the endless boy band references and performances that make the film a must for any ’90s pop fan — New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Menudo and Boyz II Men get a nod. Branch (voiced by Timberlake) and his girlfriend Poppy (Anna Kendrick) set out to get BroZone back together in order to save Branch’s former bandmate Floyd (Troye Sivan) from pop villains led by a diva who declares, “I wanna be famous, but don’t want to work for it!” 

John Dory (voiced by Eric André), Spruce (Daveed Diggs) and Clay (Kid Cudi) round out BroZone, who experience everything a real-life boy band goes through, from backstage disagreements, stage mishaps, and developing rock-hard abs, to the pull of a solo career.

Although Timberlake couldn’t resist that pull, he’s back with his boys for “Better Place,” releasing via RCA Records. *NSYNC smash “I Want You Back,” also features in the film, with Timberlake reportedly re-recording the song with André and Diggs.

While rumors of an *NSYNC comeback had long been brewing, fan speculation went into overdrive as key art for the movie was revealed. Featuring the group’s logo, the ads began popping up around New York and Los Angeles in August. The quintet then came together at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they presented an award to Taylor Swift, who ecstatically questioned the musicians about what they had in store.

Two decades of patience finally paid off for Swift and other fans when the group followed up their VMAs cameo by announcing the release of “Better Place.”

In a video posted on Instagram, they were shown reuniting in L.A. to record the track. “If we do this song, it’s a love letter to our fans,” Timberlake says in the clip. “I would be honored to have the group on this song.”

Speaking days after the announcement, Fatone said reuniting with his bandmates felt natural.

“It was great being together with the guys again,” Fatone told to Los Angeles at fan convention ’90s Con in Tampa, Florida, on Friday (Sept. 15). “It’s funny because it’s almost like time doesn’t pass. It does in the sense that we’re older — although I’m not sure if I’m also wiser! But it’s crazy how we all just fell into place again.”

Despite unwavering fan demand for a reunion, Fatone was gob-smacked by the global response to the group’s VMAs appearance. His manager, Joe Mulvihill, watched as all five guys walked off stage looking stunned.

“They were completely shocked at the response,” Mulvihill says. “When you’re not together for so long, then you walk out and get that reaction, it’s crazy. They came off stage and were like, ‘Wow!’ Nobody expected those responses.”

Of course, being back under such an intense spotlight means being subject to the level of scrutiny the group faced during their heyday. This became evident on VMAs night after a backstage video showing Megan Thee Stallion seemingly arguing with Timberlake went viral. The two quickly put rumors to rest by posting a clip showing them having fun together after the show, but Fatone remains surprised at how quickly the misconstrued video spread.

“People run with whatever story they see,” added Fatone, who joined forces with AJ McLean to perform both *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys hits at Friday’s Joey Fatone & Friends gig. “They see a picture, make a conclusion and I’m like, ‘That’s not what it was.’ Or you’ll hug somebody and the minute you get too close, everyone’s like, ‘They made out.’ You take a photo and that’s just what happens — things are misconstrued a lot of the time!”

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THR: ‘N Sync on Scrapped ‘Star Wars’ Cameo and “It’s Gonna Be Me” Meme

N Sync, who recently reunited for a new song, is reflecting on their time as a group, including a scrapped movie cameo, band memes and their favorite songs.

The boy band, which consists of Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass and Joey Fatone, recently appeared on a Hot Ones episode to kick off its season 22. During one segment, host Sean Evans asked them about their most memorable band moments, including when they were cast as Jedi warriors in 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

While Kirkpatrick, Chasez and Fatone confirmed they were initially cast and learned “a bit of sword choreography” for the role, Timberlake said he and Bass were “butt hurt” because they weren’t included. But Timberlake proceeded to joke about being relieved when the cameo ended up getting cut from the film.

Fatone added that they “wish they had the video” of them in the scrapped scene because “as we were doing the scenes, you’re literally going ‘vroom, vroom’ like an idiot.”

Later during the episode, Timberlake clarified the pronunciation of “Me” in the band’s hit song “It’s Gonna Be Me,” which eventually turned into a meme on social media because it sounds like he says “May.” The singer said the change in pronunciation was due to a specific request from Swedish songwriter-producer Max Martin.

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USA Today: Justin Timberlake dishes on iconic ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ meme on NSYNC’s ‘Hot Ones’

A newly reunited *NSYNC is ready for what might be the toughest challenge of their careers: “the wings of death.”

The boyband − whose five members made a surprise appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards last week − were guests on Thursday’s “Hot Ones” episode.

Host Sean Evans guided Justin TimberlakeLance BassJoey FatoneChris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez through a lineup of hot sauces. As they gradually went up the Scoville scale, Evans challenged the group to answer probing questions.

When asked about some of the members making cameos in 2002’s “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” Timberlake revealed he and Bass were “so butt hurt” they weren’t asked to take part.

“We’re getting to the nitty-gritty questions,” Timberlake told Evans.

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People: *NSYNC Confirms They Were Cut Out of ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones’: ‘Let’s Get That Footage’

*NSYNC almost went to a galaxy far, far away. 

In an episode of Hot Ones that was released on Thursday, the recently reunited band opened up about how they were supposed to have a cameo in the 2002 Star Wars film Attack of the Clones but were cut from the final version. 

Host Sean Evans asked the group featuring Chris KirkpatrickJC ChasezJoey FatoneJustin Timberlake and Lance Bass to confirm if it was true that they played Jedi Knights in one scene in the movie starring Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor

“Ask these guys,” Bass, 44, said sarcastically on Hot Ones, while gesturing to Kirkpatrick, 51, Chasez, 47, and Fatone, 46. 

“We were the three!” Kirkpatrick confirmed, referring to himself, Chasez and Fatone. “It never made it to the screen.” 

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EW: Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass say they were ‘so butthurt’ over their NSYNC bandmates’ Star Wars cameosEW:

Justin Timberlake and Lance Bass were secretly very happy about their fellow NSYNC bandmates’ cut cameos from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

Timberlake says he and Bass were “so butthurt” when they learned that Joey FatoneJC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick had been tapped for small Jedi roles without them after they went to Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Ranch and Industrial Light & Magic in the early 2000s. (Neither Timberlake nor Bass were present at the tour.)

When asked on the latest episode of Hot Ones to confirm rumors that they had been cast for the guest roles, Timberlake quipped, “Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty questions.”

“A few of us, yeah,” Chasez confirmed, adding that the chosen trio had to train for some sword choreography.

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*NSYNC Addresses ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’ Meme and Pronunciation: ‘It Was a Specific Note’

*NSYNC see the memes every year and would like to clear the air. 

The recently reunited pop group appeared on Hot Ones and clarified why band member Justin Timberlake sings “me” in a way that sounds like “may” on their 2000 hit “It’s Gonna Be Me,” which fans frequently post memes of at the end of every April. 

Host Sean Evans asked the group featuring TimberlakeChris KirkpatrickJC ChasezJoey Fatone and Lance Bass if the “SexyBack” singer, 42, was directed by the acclaimed Swedish songwriters behind the song — Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson, and Rami Yacoub — “to say it more like, ‘may,’ like a meaner ‘me’” while recording the track. 

The “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” artist told the Hot Ones host, “I don’t remember if the specifics were ‘a meaner me,’ but I sang, ‘It’s gonna be me,’ and he was like, ‘No, no, no, no. It’s mayMay!” 

Chasez, 47, then jumped in to explain that it came down to differences in pronunciation. “You have to remember their Swedish accents,” he clarified. 

“They had done a demo of it and they were like, ‘It’s like this,’” Chasez said, while mimicking a Swedish accent. 

Timberlake continued to explain why that actually benefited the “Bye Bye Bye” band and other pop superstars at the time who worked with the iconic songwriting team. He said, “You know what’s funny, specifically to Max Martin, the parts of their English that were broken actually made them catchier songwriters because they put words in a way that almost didn’t make sense, but when you sang them, they were more memorable.”

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*NSYNC Drop a Record Amount of F-Bombs, Wave ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’ to Taste Buds on Epic ‘Hot Ones’ Episode

Back in the day, promo tours for *NSYNC might have found the boy band visiting MTV’s TRL for some light grilling, or stopping by radio stations and network morning shows for a performance and chat. But this is 2023, so of course the guys — Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Lance Bass and Joey Fatone — had to make the now-obligatory stop at the YouTube series Hot Ones, where the questions were easy, but the damage was real.

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Joey Fatone Calls *NSYNC’s VMAs Reunion ‘Surreal’ at 90s Con: ‘We Fell into Place’

*NSYNC‘s Joey Fatone reveals what it really felt like getting the band back together for the first time in over two decades.

“It was fun!” Fatone, 46, told the crowd at 90s Con Florida Sunday while speaking on a panel alongside Backstreet Boys Howie Dorough and AJ McLean and TLC’Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins. “MTV Awards was really cool. It was fun for me and the guys to get back together. It was surreal in the sense of we kind of just stepped back from each other. Literally, we fell into place.”

Last week, the boy band, consisting of Fatone, Justin TimberlakeJC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick, announced that their first single in over 20 years titled “Better Place” would appear in the soundtrack for Universal’s Trolls Band Together.

We’re excited for *NSYNC to come out with a song, which is crazy to say after 25 years,” Fatone told panel moderator and PEOPLE Senior Editor Breanne L. Heldman at 90s Con in Tampa. “And no, I don’t know if there is a tour!”

Fatone offered his advice on how to make an *NSYNC tour happen. “If the fans want it that much yell at the companies, yell at Sony, yell at them,” he said.

When asked by Heldman whether *NSYNC and BSB had a boy band rivalry, Fatone and Dorough, 50, had different answers, with Fatone saying “no” and Dorough saying “yes.” McLean, 45, said “it was all healthy competition” and that “there was more internal competition” among the bandmates than external.

“Back in the day all the different magazines would pit us against each other even though Howie went to college with Chris, I’ve known Joey for years, I’ve known Lance for years,” McLean, continued.

The Backstreet Boys simply “wanted to make good music and just have fun and perform for you guys,” McLean explained. “That was it but the press was like, ‘*NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?'”

Now, McLean feels like the rivalry has softened. “There was a line drawn back then, but what I love today is the line has blurred because mostly both of our fans, all of our fans, are fans of music,” he said. “So, if you like the song, you like the song, it doesn’t matter who sings it.”

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