ABC is heating things up with the Sounds of the Season Courtesy of A Very Boy Band Vacation. The special sees members of * NSYNC, Boyz II Men, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, New Edition and O-Town come together to bring their vocal styles to recognizable tunes that will lift your spirits.
“We’ve done a few projects over the years with different members of different bands, but never at this level,” says executive producer Joe Mulvihill. “Seeing them all respect each other and really understand what each went through is a unique combo that’s fun to see on camera.”
Chris Kirkpatrick can attest to the fun factor. We caught up with the * NSYNC member as he previewed this night of nostalgic and festive song.
How were you approached for this special?
Chris Kirkpatrick: I know that was the idea of Erik-Michael Estrada from O-Town. We have a lot of mutual friends, but it went through respective managements.
It looks like a gathering of this boy band fraternity. Was it more like a family reunion on set?
I think for the most part it was a reunion. With the guys from Boyz II Men, New Edition and even the New Kids, these are the bands that we’ve never worked with much. 98 Degrees, O-Town, all these bands that we’ve done so much with that we’ve all become good friends over the years. I also did a lot with Boyz II Men [more] in recent years than in previous years.
How would you describe the atmosphere?
It was so much fun. We were all in each other’s trailers, telling stories, talking about all the times our paths crossed and what we did. Having Boyz II Men, New Kids, and New Edition was cool to have there because we got to say how they influenced us with what we did. We talked about how when we started we used to [sing] a lot of their songs… We could have gone on for hours. It was cool to hear everyone’s perspective on the business.
What were the songs you couldn’t wait to sing?
We were lucky enough to be able to do one of the [*NSYNC’s] songs “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” which was a lot of fun. It was cool that all the guys took a verse on our song.
* The NSYNC Holiday Album House for christmas wlike a big hit. And the song “Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday” remains iconic.
when we [first] decided to make a Christmas album, we had all these industry standards on it. We had our opinion on these songs … the arrangements were amazing. Then, when the time came to make “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”, JC [Chasez] and Justin [Timberlake] participated in its drafting. At first it was like “what a beautiful song” and it was our own song. [We thought] people were going to go back to the standards, but then it came out and people embraced it, and it’s really become its own industry standard for Christmas carols right now. It is very flattering.
The boy bands of the 80s and 90s have such stamina. What do you think of the new generation of boy bands?
One Direction is probably one of my favorites. I love them. BTS is amazing at what they do. We see that with groups like that the choreography is tighter, the music is more elaborate. They need to take it to the next level, and all of these groups have done it. It’s fun to watch. We were classified as a boy group, but we always thought of ourselves as a vocal group. Admiring Boyz II Men and all the vocal groups that we admired, I think that’s what keeps that power in the music with the harmonies and arrangements that we made with each song.
We’re about 20 years since * NSYNC’s last album, but you’ve always maintained that connection.
We have done a great job keeping in touch with each other no matter what we all do. We support each other in each other’s efforts. We grew up together. We were brothers … that kind of family, you don’t just dissolve. We point out that each of us is in the same city, we contact each other. Even when we were filming I could see Lance [Bass’] New babies. I had dinner with JC. Justin was here in Nashville. Then I did the show with Joey [Fatone]. We try to make time for each other, especially birthdays and special occasions. Anytime the other guys say, “Hey let’s go on a trip and hang out together” [we do it.].
The other bands featured here have been on reunion tours or have toured regularly. Where are you on the * NSYNC meeting plans?
I’ll never say never, but we all keep doing our own things and carving out our own niche in life. The band hasn’t really been something we can all come to terms with and say, “I’m ready to do this.” We didn’t come to an agreement to do anything together. We have tried, but there are too many variables involved. It doesn’t appear to be in the cards yet.
At this stage anyway. Maybe when you are all 60 years old.
You can never say never. They will be 60 years old, I will be 90. But who knows.
What else do you have?
Personally, I have a son who has just turned 4 and takes a lot of my time. Luckily, now I’m at a point in my career where I can go on weekends and do whatever ATCK (All The Cool Kids) shows with AJ [McLean] Backstreet Boys or do [Vegas show] “After Party” with Joey or as a host, I am fortunate to be able to get on a plane and do my job and spend the week at home and take my kids to school. It’s perfect.
Will this special be an annual tradition?
This is what we hope for. We hope it will be well received, it was a lot of fun to do. He has out of date moments [but] there are also some cool times where you say, “Wow, these songs are great. These singers are awesome. I think it’s a great idea for a vacation because you get to collaborate with groups that you saw as rivals. Now they are reuniting for Christmas. Just to get us back on stage and with these other bands, that’s what Christmas needs. It was very fun.
A Very Boy Band Vacation, Monday December 6, 8 / 7c, ABC