- Accidental Innuendo:
- After the fandom discovered Justin and JC penned the song "Up Against the Wall", there was no shortage of jokes involving the group's resident short guy, Chris, being the subject of the song.
She took my hand
We never said a word at all
We starting grinding
Shorty had me up against the wall
- There was no shortage of jokes about JC writing "Space Cowboy" specifically for Lance because Lance is a self-described space geek. (Especially funny? Their PopOdyssey version of the song features huge mechanical bulls...Lance is a Taurus and has a bull tattoo on his back.)
- After the fandom discovered Justin and JC penned the song "Up Against the Wall", there was no shortage of jokes involving the group's resident short guy, Chris, being the subject of the song.
- Base Breaker: Justin, especially after his solo career took off. On one side, Justin fans who love his solo stuff. On the other side, NSYNC fans who blame him for breaking up the group. It really doesn't help that he sometimes mocks and puts down his NSYNC days, which in turn reflects badly on the other guys.
- He was subject to this even before he went solo. He was either young and cute, if a little overeager, or he was an arrogant, try hard, attention whore. A good portion of the fandom believe he Took a Level in Jerkass once it was evident that his solo career wasn't ever going to slow down. His statements regarding the band, his solo career, (especially after the Super Bowl incident with Janet Jackson) and seeming reluctance to acknowledge the guys after the breakup have only further fragmented the fandom.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: During the No Strings Attached Tour, there was a brief interlude right before "Space Cowboy" that involved a giant clown head speaking in riddles. If you paid attention, the riddle kind of tied in thematically with the lyrics of "Space Cowboy", but most people were preoccupied with the whole giant clown head thing.
- Cargo Ship/Crack Pairing: Chris/Lava Lamp, better known as Cramp. Based entirely on an off hand comment Chris made about owning one and JC breaking it. Also, Justin/Sneakers, because of his sneaker collection. And JC/Leo Pendant, which he wore all the time until around 2007.
- Covered Up: There are a good number of people unaware that "Just Got Paid" is a cover.
- Critical Backlash/Hype Aversion: Suffered quite a bit of this, mainly due to the boy band label.
- Ear Worm: "Tearin' Up My Heart", "I Want You Back", "Bye Bye Bye", "It's Gonna Be Me", "Pop", and the list goes on. Lampshaded by of all things, NPR:
NPR: As for the song itself, "Bye Bye Bye" demonstrates that, while trends come and go, a propulsive and almost demonically infectious pop tune can still sear itself into a listener's memory with only the slightest provocation. Just referencing that chorus ó "It ain't no lie / Baby, bye bye bye" ó is enough to drill the song into all nearby skulls for hours, if not days. (Sorry about that, by the way.)
- Face of the Band: JC and Justin both shared this at the beginning, but by the end it was clearly Justin. Retroactively, Justin is even more so the face than before.
- Fandom Berserk Button: Misplacing the apostrophe/asterisk in their name; it's 'N Sync or *NSYNC, get it right. And don't ever try to imply that Justin Timberlake was the only talented member of the group.
- Fandom Rivalry:
ONTD comment: in what world does westlife and one direction beat nsync and bsb.
- The arguments between *NSYNC vs Backstreet Boys fandoms still go on to this day. While the guys themselves are friends, the fandom rivalry has been revived again because Joey once made a joke at Backstreet's expense that BSB's fans (and Nick Carter himself) did not appreciate.
- Buzzfeed held a user-ranked poll for the 25 greatest boy bands of all time, in which *NSYNC was voted the winner. Cue Backstreet's fandom immediately accusing the *NSYNC fandom of cheating.
- Currently, One Direction is getting a lot of flack from fans of *NSYNC, BSB, and other 90s boy bands.
- When both *NSYNC and Backstreet were wiped out in the first round of MTV's Battle of the Boy Bands, cue both fandoms glaring daggers at everyone, especially fans of One Direction and the eventual winner, Westlife.
Justin & JC: M-I-C, See you real soon. K-E-Y, Why? Because we got paid to! M-O-U-S-EEEE!
- The guys would sometimes jokingly fight over Disney vs Universal, due to Justin and JC being former Mouseketeers and Chris and Joey being formerly employed by Universal Studios.
Chris & Joey: Well, U-N-I, V-E-R, uh, S-A-L S-T-U-D-I-O-S, Uni-ver-sal Studios!
Lance: I have no say in this situation.
- Fanon Discontinuity: Most of the fandom, if not a good chunk of it, absolutely refuse to accept "Gone" as an *NSYNC song and view it as the beginning of the end for the group, due to the fact that Justin sings the entire song.
- Foe Yay Shipping: After Eminem name dropped Chris in "Without Me", the general fandom reaction was to start writing fanfic about them.
- An interesting bit of trivia, the two of them share a birthday (October 17). Also, according to Eminem, Chris was singled out was because he was the only boy band member who had the guts to say something back to him after he'd previously attacked boy bands and pop idols in general. Hilariously enough, Eminem's daughter actually was a big fan of the band like most teenage girls her age.
- Grown the Beard: It's generally agreed that their first album, while not terrible, isn't terrible memorable, nor does it in any way distinguish them from that other boy band Lou Pearlman was behind. No Strings Attached, meanwhile, allowed them to fully move into their preferred "adult" hip-hop sound and brought them far more success.
- Guilty Pleasure:
- For a lot of people, due to the Boy Band stigma.
- On The Line, Lance and Joey's attempt at a solo movie.
- Harsher in Hindsight: JC was a major proponent of the group's eventual move to Jive Records, the same company that would essentially sabotage his solo career years later.
- During a satellite interview session promoting their then-upcoming Atlantis Concert Special on CBS, Chris made a crack about how "we have about a year and two months on our contract before we can officially break up." Justified was released roughly one year later.
- "The Game Is Over" is a song about being cheated on and featured some really angry vocals from Justin. Justin and Britney broke up a year later, with the main rumor was that she allegedly cheated with their mutual choreographer, Wade Robson. Especially harsh since Wade had collaborated with Justin on some of the songs on Celebrity, which had a lot of angrier/break-up songs on it.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- The boys made a cameo on SNL as a boy band who sang in nothing but food innuendos. Justin and Timbaland would end up releasing a song eight years later and it's entirely made up of food innuendos. Seriously.
- Justin pushing his band mates down saying "it's gonna be me" is rather prophetic.
- One of the dancers in this performance at the Grammys of "Girlfriend" is Kevin Federline...Britney's ex-husband after she and Justin broke up.
- Ho Yay: Between everyone in the group, especially between JC and Justin◊, Joey and Lance◊, Joey and JC,◊ etc...they're pretty touchy-feely with each other as a whole group.
Wendy Williams: What would make [Chris] suspect [Lance was gay]? Did you have on extra snappy clothing?
- Their European-era (1995-1998) photoshoots had quite a bit of Ho Yay...making it a bit awkward when you remember that both Justin and Lance were under 18 at the time.
- One European magazine's bright idea for a group picture was to cram them all into a bathtub◊ and then on a bed◊.
- Sharing a beach shower is perfectly acceptable.
- Another European magazine had Justin and Joey holding hands. It's Played for Laughs as Joey clearly thinks it's hilarious while Justin makes a goofy face that looks like he'd rather be holding hands with someone else. (Another photo from the same magazine had Justin looking unusually happy behind that wheel...and missing his pants.)
- One commercial that they did for McDonald's had them play Spin the Bottle with Britney Spears. Lance spins the bottle, and the commercial ends with the bottle landing on Justin. (The game would have resulted in Ho Yay anyway with five guys and one girl playing.)
- Played for Laughs when they were making the video for "It's Gonna Be Me" when Justin and Chris think they're groping the model. She steps aside to reveals that they were groping each other.
- All the funnier in hindsight because Lance is gay. He's even lampshaded how some of their costumes and styling did come off as pretty homoerotic.
Lance: We all looked very gay in our outfits.
Chris: I think itís awesome that Lance thought I was gay while we were in the band together.
- Lance and the others apparently suspected Justin and Chris of being gay, Justin because he wanted to play gay in a movie and Chris because he was friendly with one of their choreographers. Chris was very amused when asked about it.
- Lance has fully admitted to having harbored crushes on his bandmates at various points in time, and as time went on, he got over it and considers them his brothers. (Not that it's ever stopped him from regularly opining about JC's voice or how amazing he still thinks the other guys are.)
- Played for Laughs when Lance was inevitably asked to play the "Fuck, Marry, Kill" game on his radio show using Joey, JC, and Justin as his options. He'd marry Joey, bang JC (and/or possibly Justin), and while he'd rather not, Justin was left as his kill option.
- Justin raps about Joey's butt.
- Chris is Justin's favorite.
- Chris claims that Joey kissed Lance on one New Year's Eve.
- When the boys had wax likenesses done at Madame Tussaud's, Joey pretended to lick JC's wax statue at the unveiling. He also once grabbed JC and started slow dancing with him.
- Chris jokingly claimed he was dating Lance during an interview with Larry King.
- When asked about bizarre rumors during an interview session in Japan, JC replied with one that had been making the rounds for a couple years at the point - "I'm pregnant." Chris then proceeded to claim to be the father while JC then claimed he was engaged to Justin.
- The routine for "The Game Is Over" includes them holding hands in either a set of two or three and then all five holding hands.
- During a tour stop on their Celebrity tour, the band allowed a guy (either a friend or a crew member) propose to his girlfriend on stage. After she accepted, Chris then got down his knee and proposed to JC. When that didn't work on JC, he then proposed to Justin.
- At another tour stop, some playful scuffling broke out between Joey and JC, resulting in Joey pinning JC to the floor of the stage on his back by sitting on him, straddling him.
- During one Challenge for the Children game, Justin suddenly decides to sit down in Lance's lap before throwing the basketball back onto the court.
- One photoshoot outtake◊ had Joey grabbing onto Lance's hips as Chris pokes at him.
- While it's the only *NSYNC song Justin can get away with singing solo, it's still a little strange to dedicate "Gone", a song about lost love, to one of your former bandmates.
- Lance and Joey are getting married.
- Justin apparently used to like singing "As Long As You Love Me◊" to JC.
- While at a photoshoot with Aaliyah, Justin and Aaliyah start comparing their midsections...something that Lance immediately takes interest in.
- Idiosyncratic Ship Naming:
- Lambs, for Justin/Lance because they both were blond (once bleached to the point of being white), the youngest◊ members, hailed from the Deep South (Justin from Tennessee and Lance from Mississippi), and because their hair occasionally did resemble wool◊.
- TeerLove, for Justin/JC, as in Mouseketeer
- TrickyFish, for Chris/Lance, from Chris' last name (Kirkpatrick) and Lance's last name (bass = fish).
- KittenTrick/TrickyKitten, for Chris/JC, derived from JC's Fan Nickname and keeping with the above animal-themed motifs of the other ship names.
- Three-Man Bus (also known as TimberTrickC), for Justin/Chris/JC, as they had known each other the longest and they shared a tour bus during their last three tours. (Mainly because Lance and Joey had between them 4-5 pets and were thus given their own tour bus.)
- Letterboys, for the crossover pairing of JC/AJ McLean due to the fact that both were only known by their initials.
- Internet Backdraft: Par for the course.
- Lance, in particular, tends to get this from especially One Direction fandom based on comments he's made about the state of boy bands like One Direction. He also got backdraft for comments about "straight passing" when he first came out.
- Joey caught some heat for jokes he's made at Backstreet's expense, see Fandom Rivalry above.
- Healthcare is an already controversial issue in America, so when the band's twitter account simply tweeted out a link to Healthcare.gov ("Obamacare") and encouraging people to learn about it, the account received a lot of flak for it.
- It's Short, So It Sucks: Many fans had this reaction to their 2013 VMA reunion, which lasted for about a minute and 35 seconds.
- Memetic Mutation: IT'S GONNA BE MAY pops up every April 30. Lance and Joey are quite aware of it and Justin's probably sick of it by now, even if he still laughs when possible.
- Justin makes some, uh, interesting faces when he sings.
- Justin in "Gone" and its video comes off as ridiculously melodramatic as the rest of guys just sing along. He allegedly wrote the song after Britney told him she was getting her hair done and had been gone all day.
- The music video for "God Must Have Spent A Little Time On You". A black and white montage of a mother and her son. The son goes off to war and goes missing for a few years before returning home. Her appearance hasn't changed except for frumpier hair and glasses. The band appears to be angels or something all dressed in white and sing at the army ball. It's so cheesy that it's hard to take it seriously.
- The music video for "This I Promise You". The bubbles just make it even cheesier and worse than it already is.
- The music video for "I Drive Myself Crazy", which finds the boys committed to an institution, is just silly for a video to a somber heartbreak ballad. Didn't stop it from being one of their most popular videos on TRL.
- Never Live It Down:
- Good luck finding a parody of the group that doesn't have Chris rocking the dreads/braids. He only wore them for about 2 years, and before they really hit it big with No Strings Attached, but it's what people most remember him for.
- Lance is still derided for failing to go into space after the band went on hiatus.
- Justin will still be reminded of his bleached out "ramen" hairstyle.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Justin's solo career and fame has eclipsed the band's, it does warrant a mention that they've sold over 25 million records, toured football stadiums, and that they were the first act ever to sell over 2 million albums in its first week with No Strings Attached. Only Adele managed to break that record and that was after fifteen years.
- Periphery Demographic: While they were specifically marketed towards teenage girls, they did manage to attract many older fans in their 20s and 30s, thanks to Chris and Joey being fairly different from the typical boy band member, and because the band always acknowledged their musical influences.
- Fanfiction also played a rather large part. Music aside, each member's distinct personality and the inter-group dynamics displayed in their interviews and other public appearances led to a proliferation of fanfic, which lured in a large sect of their older fanbase.
- Lance commented that their live shows tended to attract stoners who came to their shows just for the fireworks and light shows either with the intention of getting high or were already high.
- Retroactive Recognition: According to Victoria Beckham, she and the Spice Girls were on tour in Germany and they were at the airport waiting for their layover. A young man approached them and offered to sing with his band for them, to which they accepted. She didn't realize until much later that it was Justin and the boys singing for them.
- Shallow Parody: Likely due to his looks, and later his status as the "Gay One", parodies of the group typically portray Lance with a soft or feminine voice despite being the bass vocalist of the group (see: the Wimpy Boy Bands series). In a post-show interview after the 2000 VMAs, they actually chided Jimmy Fallon for getting Lance's voice wrong in a skit during the show.
- Somewhat related, post-group articles will typically focus on Justin, outright ignoring JC, who sang lead just as much if not more than Justin did and whom Justin himself noted was the best singer of not just *NSYNC but of any of the boy bands active at the time. Band dynamics are also ignored and it's not uncommon for people to believe that Justin was never particularly close to any of his bandmates or that he was very unhappy while in the group.
- Signature Song: To the general public it would definitely be "Bye Bye Bye", though older fans will argue for "Tearin' Up My Heart" or "I Want You Back" as they were the songs that propelled their rise to fame in the US. Still others might argue for "I Thought She Knew", as it was one of the very first songs the group learned together and is arguably the best vocal representation of the group as a whole.
- Surprisingly Improved Sequel: As mentioned above, their first album is generally seen as okay by forgettable and No Strings Attached is an improvement in every single way.
- Stuck in Their Shadow: Everyone that isn't Justin Timberlake, unfortunately. Jokes are often made at the expense of the other members, mainly about their lack of talent (not true), desperation for fame (also not true), apparently being broke (again, not true), and in the case of Joey and Chris, their weight gain (can't argue that one). Perhaps the most baffling is JC being given this treatment, given he was the co-lead singer and was arguably the most talented member of the group; even Justin admits he was most talented vocally.
- It could also apply to Justin, actually. At this point he's been a solo artist longer than he was with NSYNC, but people still ask him if/when NSYNC will reunite.
- Tastes Like Diabetes:
- "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You". It's the sappiest ballad they've ever done and the Narmtastic video for it doesn't help matters.
- "That's When I'll Stop Loving You" is a close second, especially since it was written by the legendary ballad writer Diane Warren.
- Values Dissonance: While viewed as pretty harmless when it was first released, the music video for "I Drive Myself Crazy" would definitely not fly today considering its incredibly offensive portrayal of mental illness.
- Vindicated by History/Popularity Polynomial: Had a fairly large Hate Dom back in their heyday and were often considered little more than mindless bubblegum pop, to the point where, by the mid-2000s, after they'd broken up, the only things you were hearing about them were jokes about how they were out of style. Nowadays, they are looked more fondly upon and recognized for their tight harmony arrangement, charismatic showmanship, and creative stage performances, as well as being acknowledged by the AV Club and Idolator to have been far ahead of the pop game for their time.
The Nostalgia Chick: I could dig an entire album of them singing a cappella. I'm a sucker for a good a cappella arrangement and these guys were really good singers.
- The Nostalgia Chick has admitted that while she was generally indifferent to them and never could figure out how to tell them apart from the Backstreet Boys, their a cappella rendition of "O Holy Night" was enough for her to acknowledge their talent.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: How a lot of fans viewed "Digital Get Down" and "Space Cowboy". It doesn't help that both songs were penned by the group's resident Cloudcuckoolander, JC.
- The Woobie: All the guys have been characterized as such by the fandom, but none more so than Chris. With his unpopularity amongst the general public, less than ideal childhood, bitter breakup with his longtime girlfriend, and failed clothing line, he was a very popular subject for angst fic. It didn't help matters when he admitted to falling into a depression during the hiatus. Thankfully, he's in much better place nowadays.
- Yoko Oh No: Poor Britney Spears received a ton of hate from fans just for dating Justin. JC's then girlfriend Bobbie Grund received similar hate and was sometimes nastily referred to as a "starfucker". On the flip side, fans generally liked Joey's girlfriend-turned-wife Kelly Baldwin and Chris' then girlfriend Danielle Raabe, and were disappointed when Chris and Dani broke up.