The Backstreet Boys Admit That Their Hit Song 'I Want It That Way' Makes 'No Sense'

The musical group's 1999 hit song had a whole different version "that actually made sense," AJ McLean revealed

The Backstreet Boys are opening up about the not-so-deep meaning behind one of their biggest hit songs.

While appearing on Watch What Happens Live Tuesday, the boy band — consisting of members Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Howie Dorough — explained that their hit track, “I Want It That Way,” isn’t hiding much behind its lyrics.

During the episode, a fan called in and asked, “In your song ‘I Want It That Way,’ why do you sing ‘I never want to hear you say/I want it that way’? What way do you not want it to be?”

Host Andy Cohen agreed that the caller’s inquiry was a “good question” as he also wanted to know the answer.

“First of all the song makes no sense,” McLean admitted. “There was a completely different version of the song that actually made sense and thankfully we decided to go back to the one that didn’t make sense.”

“I don’t think it would’ve been as big as it was, had it made sense,” he said with a laugh.


The singers also addressed another hot topic surrounding the group — was Ryan Gosling a possible sixth member of the band?

“Is it true that Ryan Gosling was almost a Backstreet Boy or was that just a rumor on the internet?” another fan called in to ask.

“It got so blown out of proportion,” McLean said.

The 42-year-old band member explained that when the group first got its start, they were living in the same apartment complex as Gosling, who was starring on Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.

“We would play basketball like every other day and I had told him that the group had just started. I told him Backstreet Boys was gonna be huge, and he was like ‘Not gonna happen bro’… he was wrong,” McLean shared.

Adding, “It did happen, but he was never gonna audition. Somehow the press misconstrued it and then it became a thing.”

Backstreet Boys
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In addition to their WWHL appearance, the group also joined host Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show where they formed a barbershop quartet and sang the notoriously promiscuous 1999 hit “Thong Song” in quartet fashion — pitch-pipe and all.

The group was even clad in some iconic quartet outfits, complete with colorfully striped jackets worn over white pants, red bow ties and matching boater hats.

Ahead of their performance with Fallon, the boy band shared a selfie on Twitter, calling themselves “The Ragtime Gals.”

“Don’t miss The Ragtime Gals on @FallonTonight! Show starts in an hour!” they shared with a winky-face emoji.

The Backstreet Boys are currently gearing up for their DNA World Tour, running from Feb. 20 through Oct. 9.

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