Chapter   Six

Karen Davidson

The music industry's newest, hottest group, the Backstreet Boys have finally come home after touring the world for the past two years. But is America ready ready for another boy band? Sure, it's been a while since the 'New Kids' have been out, but how is this group any different? Well, that's what I'm here for.

The Backstreet Boys released their US-debut album in August, second album internationally, and they're already being compared to that fun-loving boy band of the past: New Kids On The Block. And I must point out, there are some very interesting similarities. Let's start with the most obvious.

First off, there are five of them. Secondly, they have the same managers the 'New Kids' had, Donna and Johnny Wright. Third, they have that 'There's a guy for ever girl' thing going. There's the fresh-faced, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, baby of the group, Nick Carter, 17. The 'New Kids' had Joey McIntyre. There's the bad boy, lady's man, AJ McLean, 19. The 'New Kids' had Donnie Walhberg. There's the sweet, romantic guy, Howie Dorough, 24. The 'New Kids' had Jonathan Knight. Then, there's the family element, Brian Littrell, 22, and Kevin Richardson, 26, are cousins. The 'New Kids' had Jordan and Jonathan Knight, who were brothers. Finally, there are the fans: young girls, mostly 15-year-olds or younger, screaming their heads off for their favorite Backstreet Boy.

I must say, the Backstreet Boys had the recipe for a boy band down to the letter when they got together. But there has to be some differences, right? You bet there are.

I recently saw the Backstreet Boys perform at the charity event, The Big Help, that Nickolodoen puts on annually. I have to give the Boys credit for putting on a very good show. They kept me entertained and a friend of mine, jumping up and down with excitement. I couldn't wait to get backstage to see them after their performance. New Kids On The Block concerts were okay, but they needed to work on their harmony. Trust me, I should know since I went to one of their concerts back then. Come on, the 'New Kids' was the group to listen to back then. Can you guess how old I was? If you guessed 15, you are correct.

I've listened to the Backstreet Boys' CD, which is pretty good, and I can honestly say they can definitely bring that good, solid harmony live onstage, that they have in the recording studio. But considering the 5-year life of boy bands, do the Backstreet Boys have what it takes to beat the odds? I wouldn't bet on it. The US has shown over the years that we like to change every couple of years so as not to get stuck in a rut. Can you picture yourself listening to the Backstreet Boys in ten years? Think about that one.

The Boys sat down in Nick's and Brian's hotel room silently. They had just read the article Karen wrote about them. Kevin picked up the paper again and skimmed the article.

"Looks like your brown-nosing didn't help much, Kev," AJ said.

"Yeah, Kev," Nick said. "You could've at least tried to convince her we'll last."

"Hold on," said Kevin, defensively. "I did not go out with Karen to get a good review for us. I went out with her because I wanted to."

"She practically said we were 'New Kids On The Block' reincarnate," Brian said.

"We did get some compliments on our music," Howie pointed out. "To an extent, she said we were better than the 'New Kids'."

"But did she really have to point out all the similarities?" AJ looked at him.

"Donna warned us about the comparison," Kevin reminded them.

"Maybe I should just call Karen and give her a piece of my mind," Nick said.

"What mind, Nick?" Brian teased.

"Ha," said Nick, flatly.

Then Brian tackled Nick and they started wrestling on the bed. AJ grabbed a pillow and hit them both. Howie and Kevin looked at each other, shrugged, grabbed a pillow and a major pillow fight began. They were so into it that they didn't hear the knocking on the door.

Karen and Eryka were standing outside the door, waiting for someone to answer, but no one came. Karen tried the door and saw it was unlocked, so they just walked inside. They both stopped short and stared at the five guys whacking each other with pillows and throwing each other around on the beds.

"Don't you guys stop?!" Eryka yelled.

All five guys looked up and saw Karen and Eryka standing there, watching them act like little kids.

"Sorry," Howie said, quickly. "We didn't hear you girls."

"We knocked about eight times," Karen told them. "When nobody answered, we figured we'd invite ourselves in."

"What's up?" Nick asked them. "You here to trash us in person?"

"What are you talking about?" Karen looked at him, confused.

"We read the article," said AJ.

"Oh." Karen looked at her hands for a minute.

"Why didn't you use the interview in the article?" Brian asked her.

"That interview was to see how you handled yourselves, which was pretty good I might add."

"Why didn't you say anything about that in the article?" asked Nick.

"It's going to be a part of a different article," said Karen. "I like your group, but this wasn't 'my' article in the complete sense of the word. If it was, I would've given all good information I had. You have to understand, I had to write this from a non-personal point of view. The next article is going to be in 'Billboard Magazine'. My boss asked me to come over and set up a photo shoot with you guys for the next issue."

"Oh, well, now don't you three feel stupid," Kevin said. "Sorry, Karen, sometimes those guys don't think."

"That's okay," Karen smiled. "I would've done the same thing if it had been me. To make it up to you all, how about we go out to lunch, my treat. Then I could get to know you all on a more personal basis."

"Does anyone have a problem with Pizza Hut?" Eryka looked for objections. She received none.

"Alright, let's go." Kevin walked over to Karen. "We'll have to get our bodyguards."

"Come on, Kev," Nick whined. "Let's just use the sunglasses and hats."

"Fine, get them."

Nick and Brian got theirs, while AJ and Howie went to their room to get theirs. On the way to Donna's room, Kevin got his. They let Donna know where they were going, then left. Nick, Brian, AJ, Howie, and Eryka watched as Kevin put his arm around Karen's shoulders as they sat next to each other in the van they were taking.

"I haven't seen Kevin this interested in someone since that girl in France," Brian whispered to Nick.

"What was her name? I forgot," Nick whispered back.

"Michelle, I think."

"Yeah, it was. Remember he went around singing that song by the Beatles?"

"Oh yeah. How could I forget that? But there's one thing I don't get? Why do they call Karen the 'Ice Queen'. She doesn't act like that. They called Michelle the 'Black Widow', but that I could see. She was majestic, but scary."

"Do you think she'd mind if we asked her?"

"We'll ask Kevin later. He might know by now."

Their conversation came to a halt when they arrived at Pizza Hut. They all got out of the van and went inside.

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