The Boy Band Con: NSYNC and Backstreet Boys Documentary

Recently, a documentary co-produced by Lance Bass (a boy of NSYNC) came out on YouTube detailing the ways Lou Pearlman swindled the boy bands he managed in the ‘90s. Pearlman died in 2016 in a correctional facility while serving a 25-year sentence. Basically, this documentary seems to be a chance for those affected by Pearlman’s actions to finally be able to tell their stories.

The biggest point this documentary hits home is the amount of money Pearlman effectively stole from these bands when they were selling out stadiums and arenas. As one member of NSYNC says when the band got their first checks after two years of touring, “I couldn’t believe the number I was looking at. The check was $10,000. And not to sound ungrateful … but when you compare it to how many hours we had put into this group for years, it didn’t even touch minimum wage. At all.” Looking at that number myself, I can’t quite believe it. I could make twice that--easily--and I make $10.50 an hour at a gas station.

According to AJ from the Backstreet Boys, some of the boys couldn’t pay their car payment, or couldn’t pay their rent, which is insane considering these bands were selling millions of records.

Although Justin Timberlake doesn’t appear in the documentary, his mom does, stating that she wanted to kill Lou for what he did to her boy and his band. Obviously, Pearlman was not a very trustworthy person, and although he is compared to the “best car salesman you’ve ever seen”, I do feel really bad that any of these bands fell into his trap. The most charming people can oftentimes be the sketchiest.

Out of all of the participants in this documentary, only one person defended Lou. Aaron Carter (his brother, Nick, is in the Backstreet Boys) started tearing up and had to get some air at one point because he didn’t understand why everyone was saying such mean things about Lou. I understand what he means, but Pearlman was in jail, so Carter’s defense of him has come a bit too late.


If you want to read another article on this, click here, and if you want to watch the documentary yourself on YouTube Red, click here.