Entertainment Music AJ McLean Says Nick Carter Could've Been in *NSYNC If He Chose 'Mickey Mouse Club' Over Backstreet Boys Nick Carter recalled the time he was faced with choosing between joining Justin Timberlake’s Disney troupe or the boyband that made him a star By Michael Gioia Published on March 13, 2022 07:59 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Ethan Miller/FilmMagic; Eric McCandless/Getty Nick Carter was faced with some serious decisions when he was just a preteen. The Backstreet Boys singer, now 42, reunited with boyband member AJ McLean at this weekend's 90s Con in Hartford, Connecticut, and shared how he got his start with the famous five 30 years ago. After McLean, 44, told fans that he met Carter at auditions for Disney and Nickelodeon in 1992 — when McLean, "the OG" Backstreet Boy, was helping build the band — Carter recalled the moment he was given the chance to join the Mickey Mouse Club. Mickey Mouse Club Stars Deedee Magno and Jennifer McGill Recall Going to Prom with Members of *NSYNC "I got offered a contract, and I turned it down," he said Sunday. "I was supposed to be on the same team as Britney [Spears] and Ryan [Gosling]. And I got an option to go in for a Backstreet Boys audition. [AJ] was there." Carter added that he was faced with choosing between "the $50,000 contract from the Mickey Mouse Club and Backstreet Boys, which had nothing really going for it," ultimately acknowledging: "I chose the Backstreet Boys." Tim Roney/Getty Though Carter would go on to work with McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell, he would have met Justin Timberlake — another famous Mickey Mouse Club cast member from the early 1990s — if he had leaned the other way. "Biggest decision of your life," McLean told Carter at 90s Con. "Think about it. You could potentially have been in *NSYNC. Who knows!" Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC rose to fame simultaneously, with BSB producing hits like "Quit Playing Games" and "I Want It That Way" while *NSYNC churned out pop standards like "I Want You Back" and "Tearin' Up My Heart." RELATED VIDEO: Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean Surprises Fans by Shaving His Signature Beard and Mustache Music fans were quick to choose a side in the 1990s, but McLean, Carter, and *NSYNC singer Joey Fatone made it clear at the '90s-themed convention that there was never any bad blood between the boybanders. "They kept us kind of away [from each other], I think. Our managers were the same managers, Lou Pearlman in the very early stages," Fatone explained. "[Backstreet Boys] were doing their thing, and we were doing ours, and they never really brought us together because I don't think they wanted us to talk to each other." See the Stars of Full House, Boy Meets World, Family Matters & More Together Again at '90s Con For the most part, the dueling bands were in friendly competition — all except McLean and *NSYNC's Chris Kirkpatrick. "Chris and I did not like each other at first," said McLean. "There was a reason. We dated the same girl two years apart. Now Chris and I are like really close friends. He's a father now, so we have that in common. Things have changed." It all was for the best in the end, said Carter: "You could say that without *NSYNC that we wouldn't be the Backstreet Boys. There wouldn't be that competition."