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"I know exactly when boy bands will be over," said Lou Pearlman, the Svengali behind Backstreet Boys, 'NSYNC and O-Town. "When God stops making little girls."

While he gives props to the new breed, he warns that the five-year cycle of boy-band boom-and-bust is coming round again — so don't get too attached to that My Chemical Romance leather wristband.

"You have bands like Good Charlotte and Simple Plan filling a niche now," he said. "But they don't get parents' endorsement, because they're freaky to them." Pearlman swears that you'll see new boy acts coming up soon — such as, say, his groups Natural and C-Note — and he's not the only one.

No less a trend authority than P. Diddy has cooked up his own group, the five-member sibling band B5, which mines the classic R&B-boy-band style down to the matching outfits, choreographed dance steps and sweet harmonies.

"In pop music, there's been a void over the last couple of years, but as music evolves and changes, we at Bad Boy like to be there with the change," Diddy says in a promotional video on the B5 site. "We feel that they fill a void in the market." Diddy traces the roots of the 'NSYNC/ Backstreet phenomenon to '80s R&B boy band New Edition (which, not coincidentally, is currently signed to Bad Boy) and said that his new group brings the whole thing "full circle." "These kids are going to get into the minds and hearts of all our sons and daughters."

 B5
"All I Do"
(Bad Boy)


The group's first single, "All I Do," mixes the spoken interludes and new-jack beats of New Edition with the boyish harmonies of the Jackson 5, while the video cleverly displays each member's name several times, so you can be sure which poster you want when you hit the mall.

So is a new golden age of boy bands right around the corner? Even though Backstreet's on its way back, co-manager Johnny Wright is hedging his bets. He recently signed a precocious family band he's thinking of calling Sons of Jonas, which is led by 12-year-old songwriter/singer Nicholas Jonas.

"When Backstreet started with that Max Martin sound, it became the teen sound with Britney and 'NSYNC. Then Avril came out with a more rock sound, and now it's these garage bands that are the new face of teen music," Wright said. "But a pretty face isn't all it takes anymore. Fans understand now and can't be force-fed a formula."

Thus, his young, cute new band will play positive music that Wright says is similar in vibe to Maroon 5 but has Switchfoot's righteous lyrical content.



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Matching outfits
(Boyz II Men)
Anything and everything
(My Chemical Romance)

Sappy pop ballads
(O-Town)
Sappy emo ballads
(Dashboard Confessional)

Dance steps
(Backstreet Boys)
Ironic dance steps
(Sum 41)

Tight, R&B-inspired harmonies
(98 Degrees)
Tight, Ramones-inspired harmonies
(Taking Back Sunday)

Bad rapping
('NSYNC)
Bad rapping
(Good Charlotte)

Blowing it up onstage
(B2K)
Throwing up onstage
(The Used)

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