Backstreet Boys Dance Moves
Back. Street's. Back. Alright! (For real.) This week, I fulfilled my inner seven-year-old's wildest dreams by chatting with three of the five boy band icons, Nick Carter, A.J. McLean, and Kevin Richardson. Along with Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough (who were definitely missed during our conversation), the trio is now working with Chex Mix on a new campaign to promote the classic snack. So in the spirit of nostalgia, I got them to chat with me about the 90s and dish on the music video dance moves they're still all about—and the ones they wish they could take back (but thank goodness they can't).
As for their favorites, they all agreed on a few classics. "Obviously, 'Backstreet’s Back' [was great], because it’s one of those signature dance moves that anyone who’s a Backstreet fan, or who remembers that time period, [knows], " McLean told SELF. "But 'Larger Than Life' was probably my personal favorite."
The video for fan favorite "I Want It That Way" doesn’t get the same love from the Boys. Turns out, the move that stood the test of time was kind of an accident—and one that the guys wish hadn’t happened in the first place.
Recall: the infamous all-in-white airport terminal dance. Need a refresher? Fast forward to 1:33 and behold the synchronized sequence that starts with a sort of a swimming-through-the-air movement, followed by some criss-cross hand motions and a quick snake-like body roll:
As we were talking, McLean mockingly/adorably did the body roll move while the three of them talked very passionately about their dislike of the choreography.
They weren't supposed to break out their coordinated moves in this particular gem of a video, but on the day of the shoot, Richardson told me, plans changed. "We showed up to the set and they were like, 'We want to do some kind of dancing.'" Good sports that they were, they pulled out some on-the-spot steps just in case, “and they ended up using it, ” he said, adding, "We just threw something together last minute, and I really can’t stand it."
(Translation: They did not want it that way.)
Rich Polk / Stringer, Getty Images
Carter chimed in: "It comes out of nowhere!" I’ll be honest, I never noticed how random it really was until he pointed it out, but now I can't unsee it.
While I may have been too love struck the first time around to realize the randomness, others haven’t been. Blink 182 spoofed the scene in their video for "All The Small Things" in 2000, and the move made a phenomenal comeback in one very sexy, very hilarious scene in none other than—wait for it—Magic Mike XXL.
"Apparently, though, it did affect certain people who were fans—my buddy Joe Manganiello actually did that routine in Magic Mike because he’s a huge Backstreet Boys fan, " said McLean. Manganiello's character does a pseudo-striptease in a gas station to "I Want It That Way, " and even though it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, the move they hate definitely makes an appearance.
It's really, really hard to look past Manganiello's rock-solid abs, but you'll catch it at 1:14. (Of course, you should probably watch the whole thing for, y'know, context and stuff.)
I think I speak for everyone when I say that is the world is better for having these dance moves in it. If you're currently falling into a Backstreet Boys music video rabbit hole, I am right there with you. The clothes, the music, the moves—90s nostalgia at its finest.