For the last 28+ years, I’ve watched the Backstreet Boys on countless talk shows from the comfort of my own cough and television, from Ellen to Regis and Kathy Lee, to Rosie O’Donnell and everything in between. I’ve watched them announce tours, sing so many of their hits, play games, and chat about everything from their families to their hairstyles. Never in my teenage brain did I ever think I’d ever end up in the audience for any of these shows.
Cue 2022…suddenly we have live and virtual audiences! Twice the chance to be able to watch the show as they are filming it! The Kelly Clarkson show gave us both an in-person (Aimes) and a virtual (Karah) audience experience! And it was way more than I’d ever dreamed it would be.
Here’s my take on the in-person experience.
When I heard the boys were going to be on Kelly Clarkson, a few assumptions went through my mind: they’ll do a song and a quick interview, they’ll announce a new single off DNA to get us pumped for the upcoming shows, they’ll have some other big announcement that I can’t even dream of, and…I’ll never get in to the audience. My assumptions were all over the place.
I put in for tickets right away, but I am pretty familiar with the way 1Iota (the ticketing company) works. They tend to confirm WAY more people than there are seats. Just because you put in early does not mean you get a seat. But I got lucky this time, and my confirmation email came a few days before the show. Hurdle 1: cleared.
Getting in on the day of was another challenge. Luckily, I made it there early enough that there were only about 20 (very familiar) people in front of me. I found out later that there were only about 40-50 seats total and more than half of the people in line behind me were turned away due to the show reaching capacity. Hurdle 2: cleared.
Once checked in we had to register for an on-site COVID test. The show had a makeshift COVID-19 testing lab set up on the bottom floor of the parking lot. It was a well oiled machine, quick and efficient.
Then we wait…
The anxiety kicked in again here. I was worried that of course I’d find myself COVID positive at the worst possible time. As I waited for my results, I watched close to 20 others get their negative results…one after the other, people cheered and jumped over to the line to wait for entrance. I kept refreshing my email awaiting my results.
Finally they came! Negative! Hurdle 3: cleared!
Less than a minute later, one of the 2 others I was with got their results, now just 1 to go…so we waited, and waited, and waited. It was time to go in, but she still hasn’t re dived her results. Thankfully, the show staff is as able to check for us and we were all cleared, and ready to go in to the studio! Hurdle 4: barely cleared.
We walked to the studio and stood outside in line for about a half hour, talking about what we were expecting. Gushing about how excited we were and the anticipation of seeing the boys together for the first time in over 2 years.
And then, the line started moving.
When we got inside, they sat each group randomly. We got super lucky and were seated right in the front on the side. We were so close the camera cables kept hitting our feet. The set was beautiful, and bigger than I anticipated. We sat and watched as they finished setting up. I was so excited, eagerly looking around to try to figure out where the boys would be, where they’d perform, how close they would be to my seat.
The show began and Kelly came out. FYI, Kelly Clarkson is amazing. Watching her on set, interacting with her crew, making jokes about herself, cursing at herself when she flubbed up a line…she’s as real as they come.
After a very brief introduction, the boys were announced and the wide farm-style door opened to reveal all 5 Backstreet Boys…together, in person…seeing them together after years was wonderful.
The boys sat down with Kelly and chatted about their upcoming shows, time with their families, and Kevin’s chronic tardiness, among other things. The big reveal of the show: more DNA tour dates, including European dates! They were definitely gearing up to hit the road…maybe this time for real!
After a quick commercial break, the boys chatted again with Kelly. At this point I realized that they weren’t just on the show for a quick segment, but they were the show. I couldn’t stop smiling and my girlfriend next to me couldn’t stop smacking my arm every time something fun happened or was said. It was so much fun being able to see them all, live, together, in the flesh, just chatting and hanging out.
After the next commercial break, the boys moved from the center of the stage to right in front of our seats. They were so close to us I could make out the keys in Nicks pocket. Howie looked over and winked. Brian waved. And they were having a blast. Chatting it up with one another and Kelly. Competing in a trivia game that they all should’ve won, Nick blurting out answers before the question was even posed. Seeing them so relaxed, engaged in the chatter, enjoying themselves…it was almost as if we were back in the olden days of cruises and fan events.
After the trivia game, the boys were sent off, only to return to surprise another guest who followed them. Seeing a young musical act gushing over the boys and sharing how much they looked up to them was heart-warming.
And then, the boys exited for good. Kelly and her crew finished up a few more shots and segments, before we were ushered out. But not before we got to hear Kelly’s rendition of Show Me The Meaning, which, by the way, was phenomenal. What a perfect song to showcase Kelly’s voice! And her voice truly hits home on those powerful lyrics.
As we exited the building and headed yo our cars, I felt fully satisfied even though the boys themselves hadn’t performed. I assumed it would be a quick interview and a short performance. Instead we got most of the show with the boys. And, as always, it left me want g more and anticipating the DNA tour that is coming ever so close.
Fingers crossed we have so many more of these opportunities. Also, boys, if any of you are reading this: 30th anniversary cruise, anyone?