Ladies, what's your perfect guy look like? Great hair, beautiful eyes and a gorgeous smile? Oh, and he can dance? Serenade you with love songs? Sounds like a keeper! Multiply that perfection a few times and there you go, the quintessential boy band is born. At least that's how I imagine it happens.
Although a few things have changed since the 90s – gelled hair has been replaced with the Justin Beiber blowout – much of the boy band DNA remains the same. Good looks, catchy hooks, smooth moves. Hey, we can't help it; we "Want It That Way."
New Kids on the Block
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Jordan Knight
- Song: "Step By Step" (1990)
- Fun Fact: NKOTB was the first teen group to have four top ten hits on one album: "Hangin' Tough," "Please Don't Go Girl," "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" and "I'll Be Loving Your (Forever)."
Boyz II Men
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Shawn Stockman
- Song: "I'll Make Love to You" (1994)
- Fun fact: "I'll Make Love to You," was bumped from the No.1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 by another Boyz II Men song, "On Bended Knee," making them the third US artist to achieve the feat in 30 years.
By the late-90s early-2000s, the Backstreet Boys were still "Playing Games with Our Hearts." Then, Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpartrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass and JC Chasez started a "No Strings Attached" love affair in the late-90s that went long-term, lasting well into the 2000s.
Late-90s / Early-2000s
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Nick Carter
- Song: "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" (1997)
- Fun fact: There were technically six Backstreet Boys. Lou Pearlman, the former Backstreet Boys' manager/producer - who double, I mean triple dipped - claimed a cut of the band's profits as their manager, producer and sixth member. The Ponzi schemer also represented 'N Sync, who followed suit and sued the scammer.
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Justin Timberlake
- Song: "Bye, Bye, Bye" (2000)
- Fun fact: Before JT started denying his roots, he was a curly-headed cutie. Oh, and Timberlake might have been the poster child of the 90s phenomenon known as "frosted tips."
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Isaac Hanson
- Song: "MMMBop" (1997)
- Fun fact: The Tulsa-based band of brothers started brewing beer, appropriately branded "Mmmhops."
After a few relatively quiet years on the boy band front, the British-Irish boys of One Direction made waves from across the pond. The British invasion led to a boy band resurgence. Heartthrobs like the Jonas Brothers, Big Time Rush and The Wanted popped up on the scene.
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Harry Styles
- Song: "Best Song Ever" (2013)
- Fun fact: 1D got their start as independent acts on the British version of the X-Factor, but none of them made the cut in the solo category. Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson joined forces, and the rest is history.
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Joe Jonas
- Song: "S.O.S" (2007)
- Fun fact: The Jo Bros have a 13-year-old brother, Frankie, who's a young actor and is sometimes called the "Bonus Jonas."
The Australian quintet started out as a group of Aussies pulling pranks and posting videos on YouTube. Their outlandish stunts and questionable behavior caught the attention of the Biebs, who also found fame as a YouTube sensation. Now their mocumentaries, skits, and boyish good looks have earned them a loyal fan following. While The Janoskians fit the boy band bill, their tour name says differently. In April 2013, the group announced their Not a Boy Band Tour.
- No. 1 Heartthrob: Luke Brooks
- Song: "Best Friends" (2013)
- Fun fact: The band's name stands for "Just Another Name of Silly Kids in Another Nation."
Whether "Up All Night" listening to One Direction's newest hit, "Diana," or playing back the old school hits that paved the way for the boy bands of today, one thing's for sure, boy bands are hotter than ever! Man bands like NKOTB, Boyz II Men and the Backstreet Boys made a comeback, and our favorite boy bands of today have been touring their hearts out.
Who are you dying to see?
Ask anyone who was around during the early days of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, and they'll probably tell you that boy bands are dead. They'd be mistaken, however, as One Direction has breathed new life into the pop sub-genre, and have taken the music world by storm.
The five-member group is comprised of Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, and has enjoyed a relatively unique path to stardom. Each of the five members applied as solo contestants on the hit UK talent show X-Factor. Though each of them were talented in their own right, judge Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls came up with the idea for the five of them to form a group, and it seems to have paid off.
After coming together, One Direction managed to tear through the competition, and eventually finished third overall. Although they did not come home with the crown, they garnered enough exposure and soon signed a record deal with stardom coming soon afterward.
The quintet released their debut studio album, Up All Night, in September 2011. It turned out to be a big hit in the United Kingdom, where it debuted at number two on the charts and went on to be the fastest-selling album of that year.
The album wasn't just popular among fans, it was somewhat successful in the critical sphere as well. In particular, album's lead single "What Makes You Beautiful," went on to take home the Best British Single crown at the 2012 Brit Awards.
While much of their success has been in the United Kingdom, they are not unheard of in the states. In fact, One Direction landed a spot on the April 7 episode of Saturday Night Live, certainly not a small feat for a band of upstart performers.
Perhaps most impressive is the relatively short time it's taken One Direction to embark on extensive tours. They launched their own headlining tour shortly after the release of Up All Night, and although it started in the UK and Ireland, the group announced North American leg for summer 2012.