Britney Spears vs Christina Aguilera. Taylor Swift vs Katy Perry. The media loves to serve us up a rivalry. We fans eat up the drama of seeing celebrities pitted against each other. Throughout history, there have been many famous feuds that have captured public attention. Biggie and Tupac, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis (go watch FX’s Feud – so good!), Hamilton and Burr, the Hatfields and the McCoys…the list goes on and on.

One of the most intense rivalries of my generation? Backstreet Boys vs NSYNC.

My journey as a fangirl through the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC fandoms mirror the Taylor Swift eras, each boyband representing different chapters of my adolescence. The Backstreet Boys, my first love, filled my teenage years with posters, school-skipping for TRL music video premieres, and dreams of being part of a live studio audience for one of their performances.

Then *NSYNC entered the scene, a very similar formula of 5 distinct personalities, sparking a media-fueled rivalry. Fans were divided into “Team Backstreet” and “Team *NSYNC,” and, admittedly, I found myself shifting allegiance to fit in or ride the wave of pop music excitement. (Or maybe it was because I didn’t get tickets to the Millennium Tour and I couldn’t get over that sadness/anger at the time)

Looking back, it’s clear I needed both bands for different eras of my life. The Backstreet Boys provided the soundtrack to my first experiences with love, while *NSYNC’s infectious beats, especially “Bye Bye Bye,” helped me navigate a challenging breakup and rediscover joy in my life again.

In the same way, the relationship with my first love didn’t last, and neither did the height of the boyband era. We all know the history. The Backstreet Boys continued while NSYNC went on an indefinite hiatus while Justin Timberlake pursued his solo career.

While I love seeing how the Backstreet Boys have continued to pump out great music, put on breathtaking shows, and deliver us those soulful melodies, I also yearn for that NSYNC reunion tour.

I’ve concluded that there’s a place for both bands in my heart.

On social media, it seems like fans feel you should only have an allegiance to Backstreet or NSYNC. You must take a side. There’s no gray area where you can like both. And it truly feels like we are still in those fan armies where we’re set out to destroy the opposing force at any given moment. (Ex: See all the updates on Justin Timberlake where BSB fans tear him apart for just existing. Or how about NSYNC fans coming after Backstreet fans anytime Backstreet gets a win telling us how NSYNC would be doing better if they were still around). It’s exhausting.

To my fellow fangirls who’ve cherished both bands, it’s absolutely okay to love them both. No need to choose sides in the Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC saga. You won’t catch me on Twitter/X or any other platform poking at the other band. Expect more posts celebrating both the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC because I want to show support for both incredible groups.

Even the members of these two legendary bands are all about the love and support these days. Joey Fatone and AJ McLean are on tour this year. Nick Carter, Lance Bass, AJ McLean, and Joey Fatone have even graced the stage together in the past. Despite the animosity that may have simmered in the ’90s and early 2000s, today it’s all about love and respect between these boys.

As fans, let’s embrace this era of camaraderie. Share the love, spread the respect within our fandoms, and revel in the profound impact that both the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC have left on our hearts.