It was one of the key scenes of their show: Kevin Richardson (51) and AJ McLean (45) hid behind a kind of dressing room at the concerts of their Germany tour in 2022 – and threw signed underwear from the stage into the audience. “We’ll take revenge.”

Because for decades it was the other way around: after the innocent teddy bears and stuffed animals from the early days, it was less innocent lingerie that flew around the ears of the Backstreet Boys at their concerts – accompanied by deafening screeches that sometimes drowned out their music.

It’s been like this for three decades now. The group, which made boy band history with pop hits like “Quit Playing Games (with My Heart)”, “Everybody” or “I Want It That Way”, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The founding date is April 20, 1993.

At that time, McLean, Richardson, his cousin Brian Littrell (now 48), Howie Dowough (49) and of course Nick Carter (43) had just been cast together in Florida by the controversial producer Lou Pearlman, who has since died in prison.

tears in the eyes

Alex Gernandt was very close when his world career started in Germany: “I was there when they were surprised in November 1995 in an Italian restaurant in Munich with their first gold record,” says the former editor-in-chief of “Bravo”. , the bible of every “BSB” fan of the 1990s. “The boys had tears in their eyes, everyone cried with happiness. And then suddenly they broke records worldwide.”

A calculated and orchestrated success: “Before that, the guys in Florida had trained hard for two years to perfection. That’s why they’re so good because they had to go through a boot camp before it really got going,” says Gernandt. They were polite, well brought up and uncomplicated. “They were the nice boys next door.”

Every girl was allowed to dream back then

But it wasn’t just the hard training and the associated musical and dancing quality that ensured that the Backstreet Boys surpassed competitors like Caught in the Act on their way to the pop Olympus in no time at all. This was helped by the careful composition of the group: Brian for the nice girls, AJ for the rebellious ones, Howie for the quiet ones, Kevin for the slightly older ones – and Nick for everyone. Everyone was allowed to dream back in the 1990s.

At that time, the mere sight of the boys at concerts was enough to put the girls in screaming ecstasy. Today the screeching at the concerts has grown hoarse, the ecstasy mojito-soaked. A mood like a bachelorette party at 12:45 am. The women who roar in the audience today and rock in the arms of their best friends to “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” mostly did that in 1995 or 1997 at the latest.

“What counts with the Backstreet Boys is the nostalgia factor. With them you get back part of your youth. Especially in difficult times it’s a tried and tested method – to dream back to your own carefree youth,” says Musik -Expert Gernandt. “And supposedly problematic political statements or scandals can’t harm the Backstreet Boys, it seems.”

Just let scandals roll off

Because one of the most outstanding qualities of the band is to let scandals roll off. Drug and alcohol crashes by AJ and Nick, whose stormy and violent relationship with Paris Hilton made gossip headlines, could not harm the Backstreet Boys, who later even had their own show in Las Vegas.

Toxic behavior by Carter and his now-deceased little brother Aaron on the reality show House of Carters went largely unnoticed by the fan base. And the fact that Littrell openly presented himself as a Donald Trump supporter with at least questionable political views doesn’t seem to interest the fans too much.

“Whether alleged scandals have an impact on success and whether fans turn their backs also depends on how politically a band was previously perceived,” says Gernandt. “With a pure pop band like the Backstreet Boys, a thoughtless political statement isn’t weighed too heavily because politics isn’t necessarily their core competency, nor is it the content of the music or what interests the fans about this band.”

Planned special show cancelled

In the meantime, however, allegations that are not political but serious have overshadowed the three-decade success story. Nick Carter has been accused of sexual assault. Two women say he raped them in the early 2000s. Carter, who is now married and aggressively shows and markets his family life with three small children on Instagram, firmly denies the allegations, speaks of defamation and has filed a countersuit.

The US broadcaster ABC canceled a planned special broadcast for the band’s Christmas album, Carter himself is said to have lost advertising deals, fans complained in online forums. There, the vast majority of followers believe in the innocence of their teenage idol – and the Backstreet Boys’ world tour continues in front of a screaming audience. Concerts in Iceland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa are on the program from the end of April. True to the motto: “As Long As You Love Me.”