Refinery29 is celebrating the long-awaited return of spring with Crush Day: A joyful look at the wonders of having a crush — on strangers, on celebrities, and even on stuff.
There could only be one — the boy band member you plastered all over your locker, the one you identified your personality by, the one you declared as your One. Picking a favourite boy band member is a defining coming-of-age moment for a teenager. If you were a little bit rebellious, you were a Bobby, or a Donnie, or an AJ. If you were the straight-laced cool girl, you were a Joey (McIntyre, not Fatone, LOL, never Fatone), or a Justin, or a Nick. Usually, the latter picks were also the pretty boy front men of their groups, the object of the most collective crushes, and the one most likely to try to go solo first.
The best part of nostalgia culture is the ability to look back at your teenage obsessions through a new lens. As an adult, I can say with confidence that the breakout stars of most of the popular boy bands of the ’90s and ’00s were undeserving of all the glory. The Internet is slowly starting to realize that Kevin has been hot this whole time, and that JC has always been the most talented *NSYNC member, but in every group — even in today’s recent resurgence of boy bands — there are members that deserve more credit than they got.
Whether they were the best dancers or the ones with the most vocal prowess, or just the one who never got the shine they should have, these are the definitive MVPs of their bands — the boys turned men who came through in the clutch. This slideshow is full of unpopular opinions. For some of you, this is going to be the vindication you’ve always wanted to throw in the face of that girl who spent her free periods scribbling “Timberlake” as her last name. (Full disclosure: This was me and I have REGRETS.) Others may be compelled to flood my mentions with defences of Omarion or Ashley Parker Angel or Harry Styles, but you know what? I don’t care because these men deserve justice. They’ve earned retribution for their vital contributions to pop culture. Let them have this.
More from Crush Day: