Backstreet Boys’ iHeartRadio Living Room Performance Was The Quarantine Break We All Needed

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Singers Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, Brian … [+] Littrell and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys perform onstage during the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Backstreet’s back… in the hearts of fans of all ages after Sunday’s iHeartRadio Living Room Concert for America performance of their 1999 hit “I Want It That Way” from the album Millennium.

The Backstreet Boys’ 21-year-old (!) song, which topped the Billboard charts at No. 11 on October 12, 1999, tugged on the nostalgic feel-good heartstrings exactly the way cooped-up Americans were unknowingly craving, filling up Instagram Stories and Twitter feeds of both boy band aficionados and former skeptics alike.

What made that performance so compelling was that — besides the fact that many may not have realized that all five members are now in their 40s and also Backstreet Husbands and Backstreet Dads — was that each individual member sang (and danced!) their part from their own homes: 42-year-old Brian Littrell from Atlanta, 40-year-old Nick Carter from Las Vegas, 46-year-old Howie Dorough from Orlando, 42-year-old AJ McLean from Los Angeles and 48-year-old Kevin Richardson, also from L.A.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 12: (L-R) Singers Brian Littrell, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter … [+] and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys attend a handprint ceremony celebrating their Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

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Singing for a Cause

Each of the Backstreet Boys was quarantined with his own family, but with the magic of technology and video conferencing, the singers managed to put on a united performance from five different living rooms (or in Carter’s case, a poolside backyard), in perfect harmony.

Before their performance, Elton John, who served at the host for the evening (but didn’t perform since he happened to be in the only home of his that didn’t have a piano) introduced the two organizations the concert was raising money for — Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation — before saying: “Our next performers are coming to us from five different homes across the country. Get ready to watch the one and only Backstreet Boys.”

Then Littrell joined from his living room in his studio in Georgia. “We live in unprecedented times today with the COVID-19 virus,” the father of 17-year-old singer Baylee Littrell said. “I want to thank iHeart for putting this together. I want to thank Fox for airing it. I want to thank all the frontline responders that are donating their time and putting themselves in harm’s way to take care of their fellow citizens. So, stay safe, stay home, protect yourself and let’s try this. I don’t want AJ to be late on this intro but I hope you want it that way.”

The guys then launched into the three-minute song, which featured guest appearances by Richardson’s kids, Mason, 12, on drums, and Maxwell, 6, on the guitar, as well as cameo by Carter’s son Odin, 3.

Watch the Backstreet Boys’ performance here:

NANJING, CHINA – MARCH 4: (CHINA OUT) Members of US vocal group Backstreet Boys (L-R), Alexander … [+] James McLean, Nickolas Gene Carter, Brian Littrell and Howard Dwaine Dorough, perform at a concert in the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium, as part of their 2008 world tour on March 4, 2008 in Nanjing of Jiangsu Province, China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

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Their DNA Tour was Halted By Coronavirus Concerns

The five bandmates had just been together in South America weeks ago, where they were in the midst of their DNA World Tour — their 11th concert tour to celebrate their eighth U.S. studio album, DNA, which was released January 23, 2019.

Canceling their São Paulo, Brazil, show on March 15, because of coronavirus concerns, they flew back to their individual hometowns.

Before the event on Sunday, McLean did a Twitter takeover for iHeartRadio and just happened to be talking about family when his daughter Lyric, 3, walked into the room and said, “Hi America!” (He also has a daughter Ava, 7.)

The next day, they returned to family time, with the youngest band member Carter — who also has a daughter Saorise, born last October — showing off his baking skills.

Meanwhile, Richardson took time out to thank the doctors on the frontlines.

Here, watch the full concert with the Backstreet Boys’ segment cued up at the -2:20:30 mark:

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