‘NSync made their fans’ dreams come true when all five members of the boy band — Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick — reunited at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday, September 12.
The men reunited to present the first award of the night, Best Pop Video. “Over 20 years ago, we were just kids when we won Best Pop Video for ‘Bye Bye Bye,'” Chasez said. “It was our first VMA and it meant the world to us.”
Bass added, “A lot has changed over the last two decades, but one thing remains constant: a creative, boundary-pushing video leaves a lasting mark for decades.”
Fatone thanked MTV and the fans before transitioning into the nominees. Timberlake opened the envelope to announce the winner.
“And the VMA goes to the unstoppable Taylor Swift,” Timberlake announced. The “Anti-Hero” singer hugged each member of the band — with Bass even giving her some friendship bracelets — which left Swift admitting that she had a hard time focusing on the award with the iconic boy band on stage.
“I’m not doing well pivoting,” Swift said. “Like, I had your dolls. Like, are you doing something? What’s going to happen now? They’re going to do something and I need to know what it is. You guys are pop personified and to receive this from your golden pop hands is — really, it’s too much. Thank you for the friendship bracelets.”
The group sparked rumors that they would appear at the VMAs after Timberlake, 42, Fatone, 46, and Bass, 44, were all spotted separately in New York City on Monday, September 11. Chasez, 47, was also seen on a private plane, while Kirkpatrick, 51, posted a 9/11 tribute of a New York City Fire Department truck in Manhattan.
The reunion comes a decade after the five original members of the band performed together for the last time — in August 2013, they teamed up to sing a medley of hits as Timberlake accepted the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs. More recently, Chasez, Bass, Fatone and Kirkpatrick joined Ariana Grande for her set at Coachella in April 2019, performing “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” and “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” Timberlake was not present for the Coachella reunion because of a scheduling conflict.
‘NSync is rumored to be releasing new music soon for the first time since 2002. Fans have speculated that Chasez, Bass, Fatone and Kirkpatrick will have surprise roles in Timberlake’s upcoming animated film Trolls Band Together, which is set to come out in November, and they believe the group recorded a song for the soundtrack.
The trailer for the third film in the Trolls franchise has hinted at a boy-band theme, as Timberlake’s character, Branch, was once in a group called BroZone with his brothers. “Branch, we’re out of sync,” Floyd (Troye Sivan) tells his brother in the teaser. “We’ve gone from boys to men, and now there’s only one direction for us to go: to the back streets.”
As for a potential ‘NSync reunion tour, Bass told Billboard in February that he would “never say never” to the possibility. “I think it just has to be the right time; we all have to be inspired in the moment,” he said. “But I do think the world needs something again from ‘NSync.”
He added: “I always feel bad that there was no ending, because we didn’t have a final show, we didn’t have a final tour, because we didn’t know it was the final days. I think we owe it to the fans to give them something at some point. I just hope it’s before I’m 80 years old.”
‘NSync formed in 1995 and released four albums and a string of hits, including “It’s Gonna Be Me,” “Bye Bye Bye” and “Pop.” After the band took a hiatus in 2002, Timberlake went on to have a successful solo career, and the group disbanded for good. Chasez has since worked as a songwriter and producer, Fatone became a television host, Bass pursued podcasting, acting and activism, and Kirkpatrick became a producer, voice actor and TV personality.