TV Guide Interview

"Looking cute sugar!" Nsync's Chris Kirkpatrick whoops. "Does your momma let you walk around like that? Looking ghetto fabulous!"
Kirkpatrick's you-go-girl routine is directed at Lance Bass, who's livening up some pre-photo shoot downtime by strutting around in some bad-boy threads: first a pair of spangled, ripped, derriere-revealing denims, then a cowboy hat and brown chaps ensemble that's part "Midnight Cowboy" and part Calvin Klein ad.

"You should just wear the chaps," says Joey Fatone, leaning his head
back so a stylist cam remove the stubble that's sprouted up around his trademark goatee. "They may say we're clean-cut boys," Fatone says, smirking, "but we're not clean-shaven."

And not always pure of mind, either: One chair over from Fatone, Justin Timberlake may or may not be enjoying his red leather trousers, which are a lesson his style over comfort. "These pants are so tight" the curly-haired heartthrob cracks, "it's like I'm having sex with myself."

Yes the guys of Nsync are definitley fun to be around-even when they should be dog-tired. After all, the Orlando-based singing group-Timberlake, 19; Bass, 21;
Fatone, 23; Chasez, 24; and Kirkpatrick; 28-is at the tail end of a 52-city North American tour. Last night they performed before 40,000-plus audience at Foxboro Stadium outside Boston, and in just a few hours, they're going to do it all over again. More than one million people caught the show, putting an exclamation point on a run of success that began in March when No Strings Attached, Nsync's second CD, smashed records for both first-day (approximately one million) and first-week sales (2.4 million) sales. Six months ago, Nsync were merely stars; now they can lay claim to the title of the biggest pop group in the country.

Success, of course, breeds activity. This fall the band will continue it's North American tour, release an IMAX concert film and start work on a new record, with all five members taking a more active part in songwriting and producing.

Nsync is also working on a movie, but before critics start digging up their reviews of "Spiceworld" for possible recycling, consider this: The band will not be playing themselves, and the film won't necessarily feature any music. "We're actually going to make a real movie," Bass says. "We want to challenge ourselves to do something different."

Somewhere in there, the boys are due to get a week's vacation, too. But first comes the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. Nsync got six nominations, including Best Video of the Year and Viewers Choice for their "Bye, Bye, Bye" video. They will also perform on the show, which means the pressure is on to top last's years appearance with Britney Spears.

"It was definitley fun performing with Britney," says Timberlake, who is reportedley dating Spears. "I'd do it again."

As in Oops!... I'd Do It Again? Don't get your hopes up "I wouldn't expect Britney to turn up again," Bass says. "But maybe Eminem-you never know."

Ah yes, Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady"-which includes Nsync among the many, many things that annoy him-has also been nominated for six awards. Still, all the members of Nsync are huge Eminem fans. "Love him," Timberlake says. "He's a supertalented artist."

While Eminem would like to think that he and Nsync are operating in two different cultral worlds, the truth is that they're hitting much of the same audience. "That's the cool about music right now," Chasez says. "People are a lot of open-minded. People are listening to rap, rock-it's not just about the trends anoymore. Hopefully, that makes way for a longer carreer for us."

Tom Calderone, MTV's senior vice president of music programming and talent, thinks Nsync's longevity "is going to be attained by how revelant they stay with their fans. Right now, they can do no wrong."

Maybe not, but should No Strings Attached end up selling 10, 12 or even 14 million records statistically speaking, there's nowhere to go but down. "At this point in our carreer," says Timberlake, "we just want to evolve with our core audience. That's what the Stones did. That's what a lot of legends do."

The 19-year-old pauses, perhaps imagining himself at Mick Jagger's age. "By then," he says, "we probably won't be dancing as much."