New Kids On the Block had the Right Stuff in the early 1990s, or at least two million fans who attended the Magic Summer Tour and bought 60 million records and videos seem to suggest that they did.
As the decade comes to a close, New Kids On the Block clones, like the Backstreet Boys, `NSYNC and 98 Degrees, are invading MTV. In fact, the cable music channel dedicates an hour-and-a-half of programming each day, called Total Request Live, to increasing the visibility of these teen idols.
But the teen-idol label has become more encompassing than ever before. Teen idols are no longer limited to pretty boys crooning I’ll Be Loving You Forever (an early `90s New Kids on the Block hit) and some of their fans are older than 12 – they also include musicians from other genres
Recently, TRL viewers, who call in and request their favorite videos, have witnessed an interesting phenomenon. Hip-hop rockers Limp Bizkit have competed for the top spot with the Backstreet Boys and `NSYNC. Others like Kid Rock and Korn also have appeared on the notoriously teenie-bopper countdown.
Women and girls wearing backwards red caps (the trademark of Bizkit’s lead singer Fred Durst) stand outside TRL’s Times Square studio holding Kisses for Kevin (of the Backstreet Boys) signs.
(Backstreet Boys) are cute, and I do like the music, said Kaitlin Donahue, a GW senior who went to the Backstreet concert earlier this semester. It definitely takes me back to my New Kids On the Block days.
Rolling Stone reported that even the musicians noticed the blurred line between teen idols and so-called rockers. In an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, Durst told a tale about sarcasm he spewed to a lap dancer who entertained him.
The girl said, `I saw you on MTV today,’ Durst said, according to the Aug. 5 article. So I said, `That’s right – I am one of the Backstreet Boys.
Durst faces criticism for having sold out, and some critics argued that he lost fans and style when he whored himself to MTV. But little girls do not seem to mind, and Limp Bizkit continues to fight the boy bands for the top spots on TRL.
Many young boys also have their fair share of teen sensations from which to choose, and TRL serves them fresh every day.
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera are as naked as possible while trying to maintain an innocent image. Bared belly buttons and tight sweaters aim to reel in college-aged boys as well.
(Spears) is damn hot, and her music is catchy, and when you get down to it, it’s actually funny, GW junior David Kanevsky said.
The world rarely witnesses the phenomenon of female teen idols. Only a few, like Annette Funnicello, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, surfaced until now.
Some former members of New Kids On the Block, the superstars who reignited the teen idol phenomenon in the early ’90s, are surfing the new wave of sugary pop bands. Former New Kids Joey Mcintyre and Jordan Knight spent the summer touring and promoting new albums.
This time around, Knight is showcasing his maturity by singing about sex in just about every song. Mcintyre, a self-proclaimed Frank-Sinatra wannabe, continues to charm the hearts of young girls and 20-something women alike – with the help of his baby-blue eyes. Some of the New Kids helped produce songs on the Macintyre album and worked with groups like LFO of Abercrombie and Fitch fame.
When predicting the futures of these latest versions of New Kids On the Block, one thing is certain: VH1 will make sure they live on long after MTV has forgotten their names.
As for this reporter, her obsession with teen idols clearly is out of the closet now, and she has but one reason.
I did it all for the nookie.