If Justin Timberlake isn’t on an *NSYNC fan reunion tour, then Lance Bass has a backup plan. On the August 30 episode of Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong and Will Friedle’s boy meets the world podcast, Bass revealed who he would choose to replace Timberlake if he didn’t reunite with his old bandmates, as seen when he didn’t join them on Ariana Grande’s set at Coachella in 2019 (and no, it’s not Grande herself, although she filled in Timberlake’s shoes perfectly).
During the episode, Fishel posed a “fictional world question” to her ex-boyfriend. (Yes, she dated Bass in 1999, and they’re even doing a rom-com based on their teenage romance). “If you were to go on the road now as *NSYNC but you were going to have someone to replace Justin… who do you think you would choose to be in that role?” she asked, comparing the script to John Mayer going on tour with members of the Grateful Dead as Dead & Company. “Oh, I know exactly who that would be,” Bass replied. “He’s really great with harmonies. He studied music and is amazing with harmonies: Darren Criss.
Bass went on to explain that the former Joy star “loves boy bands”, and at 35, he is “from that era” when the boy bands of the 90s reigned supreme. “He would just be perfect with us,” he concluded. Criss has yet to respond to Bass’s suggestion, but given his proven *NSYNC fandom, he’d probably be honored.
In a 2013 interview with Fuse, Criss recalled being shamed by his college friends for listening to *NSYNC’s seminal 2000 album. No strings attached. “That was before it was suddenly retro and cool and ironic to have liked *NSYNC,” he explained. “I was like the OG fan, I didn’t care. I remember saying, “This album is awesome,” and then for the first time encountering music retention, where my friend said, “That’s so stupid. I love Soundgarden. … Maybe back then it was supposed to be a guilty pleasure, but it never was. They always kick ass. And look, Justin’s a superstar now, so eat my nuts.
The Emmy winner’s *NSYNC fandom came full circle in March 2018, when he covered the band’s hit “It’s Gonna Be Me” for SiriusXM. A few weeks later, he brought in JC Chasez at his ’90s-themed St. Patrick’s Day party to sing some *NSYNC classics, including “Tearin Up My Heart” and “I Want You Back.” “When I found out he was going to sing with us, I was like, ‘Yeah, get your phones out, that’s the coolest thing ever,'” he told Entertainment Tonight about of their team. “JC is an amazing voice and I can’t believe he said yes. If Timberlake turns down a reunion tour, Criss’ next step may well be to sing with the whole band on stage.