Music Showdown: New Kids on the Block Vs. Backstreet Boys

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Evaluated based on five categories, the New Kids on the Block face off against the Backstreet Boys to fight for the title of best boy band. The two contenders will be judged on their singing abilities, dancing skills, album sales, the quality of their music videos and longevity. Join as we host this showdown between NKOTB and BSB.
They’re both boy bands who were propelled to superstardom thanks to a young female fan base. Welcome to and in this installment of versus, we pit the New Kids on the Block against the Backstreet Boys to find out which is the better boy band.

Round 1: Singing

When it comes to singing, the New Kids on the Block have a variety of vocal styles to choose from. Donnie Wahlberg raps, Joey McIntyre has the high solos down pat and Jordan Knight’s well-known for his falsetto.

However, having more options doesn’t necessarily mean better songs – case in point, “Please Don’t Go Girl” or “Dirty Dawg”.

On the other hand, the Backstreet Boys have been able to harmonize their voices together on ballads that love-struck teenage girls have found simply unforgettable.

Watch “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” or “I Want it That Way”.

The Backstreet Boys win this round because they’ve got it goin’ on.

Round 2: Dancing

In their early music videos, the New Kids on the Block showed off choreographed dance moves that went oh-so-well with their bubblegum pop. These memorable steps would be built upon in later videos and are still associated with the band today.

See “Hangin’ Tough” and “Step by Step”.

The Backstreet Boys have also attempted choreographed moves in their videos, but the members don’t always seem all that comfortable in their dancing shoes. Notice how Brian Littrell simply just sits for a few moments on the floor while the rest of the crew gets their groove on in “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”.

Then there’s the cheesy chair dancing in “As Long As You Love Me”.

Round 2 goes to the New Kids because they certainly had the right stuff.

Round 3: Album Sales

The NKOTB’s second record, Hangin’ Tough sold 16 million copies around the world. And its follow-up, 1990’s Step by Step, sold almost twenty million copies worldwide.

However, the Backstreet Boys would top this a few years later. Their sophomore album, Backstreet’s Back, sold 28 million copies, and its follow-up, Millennium, sold 40 million. Along with the 24 million copies sold of 2000’s Black and Blue, this would give the Backstreet Boys three entries on the list of the world’s best-selling albums.

The Backstreet Boys were definitely larger than life when it came to selling records so they win Round 3.

Round 4: Music Video Quality

The Backstreet Boys kept things interesting by changing things up throughout the years in their videos. Check out the mirrors and circular platform in “Get Down”, the space-inspired “Larger than Life” and the 80’s parody in the more recent, “Just Want You to Know”.

NKOTB had less to play with in the ‘80’s and early 90’s, so their use of technology was limited. See the black and white video for “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)”. But during their comeback, they dared for diversity, for example, the medieval-themed, “Dirty Dancing”. And of course, the return of those famous dance moves in “Summertime”.

So, call it what you want, but we’re calling the New Kids the champions of round 4.

Round 5: Longevity

Both the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys have had their ups and downs, and have broken up for a period of time. Now, both are back in full force.

The Backstreet Boys’ 2005 comeback album Never Gone¸ debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200. But the New Kids on the Block beat this when their first album in fourteen years, The Block, debuted at number 2.

Let’s not forget that all of the New Kids’ former members have returned, unlike the Backstreet Boys, who’ve been missing Kevin Richardson since 2006.

NKOTB are hangin’ tough in Round 5.

The Winner

It was a close matchup but the New Kids on the Block came out on top with 1 point more. It’s only fitting considering that they were THE original boy band. And they're still making females scream after all!

But have no fear, boy band lovers! After joining forces in the super-group, NKOTBSB, it’s clear that that the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys can and will continue to co-exist melodiously in the world of pop music.
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