Joey Fatone Calls *NSYNC's VMAs Reunion 'Surreal' at 90s Con: 'We Fell into Place'

The boy band's first single in over 20 years will drop on Sept. 29

Paras Griffin/Getty Joey Fatone
Paras Griffin/Getty Joey Fatone

*NYSNC's Joey Fatone reveals what it really felt like getting the band back together for the first time in over two decades.

“It was fun!" Fatone, 46, told the crowd at 90s Con Florida Sunday while speaking on a panel alongside Backstreet Boys' Howie Dorough and AJ McLean and TLC's Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins. "MTV Awards was really cool. It was fun for me and the guys to get back together. It was surreal in the sense of we kind of just stepped back from each other. Literally, we fell into place."

Last week, the boy band, consisting of Fatone, Justin TimberlakeJC Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick, announced that their first single in over 20 years titled "Better Place" would appear in the soundtrack for Universal's Trolls Band Together.

"We’re excited for *NSYNC to come out with a song, which is crazy to say after 25 years," Fatone told panel moderator and PEOPLE Senior Editor Breanne L. Heldman at 90s Con in Tampa. "And no, I don’t know if there is a tour!"

Related: Watch *NSYNC Reunite in Studio for First Time in 20+ Years for Upcoming Single: 'Love Letter to Our Fans'

Fatone offered his advice on how to make an *NSYNC tour happen. "If the fans want it that much yell at the companies, yell at Sony, yell at them," he said.

When asked by Heldman whether *NSYNC and BSB had a boy band rivalry, Fatone and Dorough, 50, had different answers, with Fatone saying "no" and Dorough saying "yes." McLean, 45, said "it was all healthy competition" and that "there was more internal competition" among the bandmates than external.

"Back in the day all the different magazines would pit us against each other even though Howie went to college with Chris, I’ve known Joey for years, I’ve known Lance for years," McLean, continued.

The Backstreet Boys simply "wanted to make good music and just have fun and perform for you guys," McLean explained. "That was it but the press was like, '*NSYNC or Backstreet Boys?'"

Now, McLean feels like the rivalry has softened. "There was a line drawn back then, but what I love today is the line has blurred because mostly both of our fans, all of our fans, are fans of music," he said. "So, if you like the song, you like the song, it doesn’t matter who sings it."

The Backstreet Boys perform at iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2022 in New York City.
The Backstreet Boys perform at iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2022 in New York City.

Fatone admitted he actually liked some of the Backstreet Boys' music. "I was always like, 'Man, I just loved your song so much,'" he told his BSB panelists, adding, "I was pissed off because 'All I Have to Give' was one of my favorites. It’s funny because people are like, 'Oh, you like the Backstreet Boys?' and I’m, 'Yeah, there music is good.'"

The father of two said any poking fun at the Backstreet Boys was merely a joke.

"One time I said — this was really funny — I think it was in the Huffington Post, somebody asked me, 'Backstreet Boy are going on tour,' and they asked me, 'Why are they going on tour?'" Fatone recalled. "And I said, 'Well, they needed the money.' These are jokes, people! I told Nick [Carter] that and boy, he laughed, and the BSB army attacked the hell out of me. I got abused. Then later on, Nick has a photo of me with my pockets out and he hands me five bucks."

*NSYNC's reunion can be seen in a behind-the-scenes clip posted by Timberlake, 42 — who stars in the Trolls film franchise — in which the band came together in the studio to record the song.

"So many stars aligned," Timberlake said in the clip while speaking to his bandmates. "That's why I hit y'all, I was like, 'Hey, something came up.' If we do this song, it's a love letter to our fans. I would be honored to have the group on this song."

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The clip showed the five-piece supergroup reliving some memories in the studio as they lay down harmonies, with Timberlake behind the booth as he orchestrates the whole thing.

The band appears to be having fun in the video, from quirky dances and warm embraces with each other to plenty of head-bobbing to the disco-sounding track with a funky bassline. "Sounds good, sounds like it's finished," Kirkpatrick, 51, added in the clip, before Bass, 44, guesstimates that it was the "first *NSYNC song finished in 23 years."

"Listen man, I love you guys. That s--- is epic, man," Timberlake says at the end of the clip before getting a hug from Fatone, who jokingly whispers to him that he's "just gotta go pee, but I love you."

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p>

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Related: *NSYNC Confirms New Song 'Better Place' with 'Trolls Band Together' Trailer After MTV VMAs Reunion

The new single will officially drop on Sept. 29 — with the third Trolls film hitting theaters on Nov. 17.

"When the stars align… got my brothers back together in the studio to work on something fun and the energy was special," Timberlake captioned his video. "'Better Place' is coming 9/29 🙏🏻 LOVE Y’ALL."

Two days prior, the band made a surprise appearance at the MTV VMAs and posted several viral reunion clips.

Fans first suspected a reunion in August when several Trolls Band Together posters were posted in New York, featuring the first letter of the *NSYNC logo.

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