It doesn’t take a genius to know that in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, two boy bands dominated the charts: Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. And while their fandoms still have a slight beef with each other, the boys in each group have definitely buried the rumoured hatchet for a good cause.
Members from each boy band have joined forces to create a tell-all documentary about the man who launched them to fame and stole millions from them in the process: Lou Pearlman.
Pearlman received a conviction in 2008 for conspiracy and money laundering. A jury found him guilty of running one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. He passed away in prison in 2016.
The documentary, called The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story, explores the career and legacy of the infamous producer, manager, and convicted criminal, and includes extensive detail about how he stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the bands he managed. Not only does this shocking documentary interview the demoralized artists, but it also includes some heartbreaking revelations from them.
The film includes interviews from:
- Lance Bass – *NSYNC member, and co-producer of the film
- AJ McLean – Backstreet Boys member
- Kris Kirkpatrick – *NSYNC member
- Aaron Carter – Solo artist
- Ashley Parker Angel – O-Town
- JC Chasez – *NSYNC member
- Nikki DeLoach – Innosense
Interestingly enough, the film also features Justin Timberlake’s mom, Lynn Harless.
First, Pearlman created the Backstreet Boys. Once they rose to international fame, he created their biggest rivals, *NSYNC. His betrayal of BSB hurt them, but sooner rather than later the Backstreet Boys realized that the two groups were in identical situations. And while we assume that the rival bands hated each other, they were working together as a team to take down the man behind their success.
*NSYNC was managed by Pearlman, who was secretly signed on all contracts as their 6th member. He lost in court to Bass, Chasez, Fatone, Kirkpatrick, and Timberlake after suing them when they tried to amend their contract. Meanwhile, the Backstreet Boys paid Pearlman, who also managed them, to break their deal after the fiasco with *NSYNC ended.
In the official preview for the film, you can see the members of the documentary discovering the small amounts of money on their cheques, explaining how highly they looked up to their manager, and getting angry over Pearlman’s betrayal. Many of the boys in the two bands did not have father figures and even referred to their manager as Papa Lou… until word spread of his dishonesty.
Sadly, AJ McLean is the only Backstreet Boy to appear in this documentary, as he is the most outspoken.
Kevin Richardson has also been vocal about the betrayal but was unavailable to film at the time of production. Back in 2000, Richardson infamously told Rolling Stone, “I’d lost my father to cancer. So I looked at Lou like a father figure. But I was naïve, and he’s a liar. We’ll always remember him for helping us get started. But we’ll also remember him for screwing us blind and building another group behind our backs.”
Interestingly enough, Aaron Carter (the younger brother of BSB member, Nick Carter) is featured in the documentary as one of Pearlman’s supporters (Pearlman started the younger Carter brother’s career and was like the father he never had). It is unclear at this point if the brothers share the same opinion of Pearlman or not, but they are sure to touch on their thoughts in the interviews.
The film, which is co-produced by *NSYNC’s Lance Bass, premiered at SXSW last week and has received rave reviews after the members’ shocking allegations recirculated. It’s surprising to see the boy band members share their similar stories of pain, hurt, devastation, and healing so vulnerably. This documentary will provide fans an insight into a world they’ve never truly seen.
The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story will premiere on April 3rd on YouTube.
Featured image via Toglenn CC BY-SA