Lesson #1 in staging a successful comeback: Don't bother choosing the music; let the music choose you.
As the Backstreet Boys were busy sifting through dozens of tracks to determine the first single off their forthcoming release, Never Gone, little did they know that the choice had already been made for them.
"We were narrowing it down to about two or three songs collectively as a group, and we were talking amongst ourselves about it with our management, and the next thing you know, we're getting news that 'Incomplete' is on the radio and on the Internet," AJ McLean said.
Before the mid-tempo power ballad was leaked, the Boys were also considering the fan tribute "I Still" and "Weird World," written by Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik, as their comeback single (see "Backstreet Boys Promise New Single 'Is Going To Shock You' ").
But, " 'Incomplete' got such a great response from all the program directors and such a great response from the fans that we told them to just go for it," eldest member Kevin Richardson said.
Turns out the Boys made the right move. Since the song officially hit radio on March 18, it has soared to #2 on the iTunes Top 100 and stands at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"[The song] has done really well, and we've been very fortunate," McLean added. "We are very, very blessed."
The Boys are still in the throes of deciding what their follow-up single will be, although youngest member Nick Carter says they're looking at something mid-to-up-tempo to heat up the radio dials this summer.
"We've got about three songs in contention, and we're gonna vote on it. [There's a] democratic process between us and the record company to figure out which one's the best," Richardson said.
The Backstreet Boys have been busy touring the country to promote Never Gone, which drops June 14. Earlier this year, the quintet embarked on an intimate club tour, mainly in the eastern states, to showcase the new material (see "Backstreet Boys Anxious To Tour, Kick Off Club Run In March").
"[For the first time in awhile], we all got back on one bus," Howie Dorough said. "Nick annoyed the heck out of me, but it was good."
"It was great to be onstage again," Richardson said. "We [wanted to do] a small venue tour so we could reconnect with our fans and have an intimate, unplugged-type vibe at the shows, and we had a blast."
If you missed the Boys' first outing, don't fret — tour dates for a larger arena trek this summer are expected to be announced next week, according to their publicist.