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In Defense of Boy Band Underdogs: 10 Members Who Deserve More Love

It's time to finally recognize and appreciate the contributions of these overshadowed boy band members

(L to R)
Chris Kirkpatrick
Danny Wood
Howie Dorough
Getty Images

Every boy band has that frontman who steals the spotlight album after album. While the Justin Timberlakes and Jordan Knights tally up countless fangirls, their fellow bandmates are unjustly pushed aside and rarely given any credit—or worse, they're utterly forgotten.

From Howie of the Backstreet Boys to Raz B of B2K (yes, there were members who weren't named Omarion), these are the guys whose contributions were always outshined, thanks to either their unconventional looks or simple lack of camera time. We've compiled 10 boy band underdogs who deserve less flak and more love, as they're the ones who help hold their respective groups together.

And without further ado, nostalgia and epiphanies await!

1 / 10

Chris Kirkpatrick

Name: Chris Kirkpatrick

Band: 'N Sync

Years Overlooked: 1995-2002

Why We Love Him: Always outshined by main vocalists Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and his angelic voice deserved way more credit (or at least some sort of credit). Instead of stealing the spotlight for his impressively high falsetto, he became known for his instantly recognized pineapple hair, an unconventional look that may have discouraged fangirls from showing him love. But it's borderline criminal to not tip your hat to Kirkpatrick's most notable verse—the opening lines to 'N Sync's 1999 hit, "I Drive Myself Crazy." Without Chris, that song just wouldn't be the same!

2 / 10

Danny Wood

Name: Danny Wood

Band: New Kids on the Block

Years Overlooked: 1984-1994, 2008-Present

Why We Love Him: When the New Kids made their debut, Jordan Knight stole countless hearts with his dreamy smile and lead falsetto vocals.  Younger NKOTB fans swooned over Joey McIntyre’s curly hair and baby blue eyes. Jonathan Knight’s rumored relationship with 1980’s pop star Tiffany lent him the mystique of unavailability, and Donnie Wahlberg was the bad boy thanks to his rapping skills and an array of intimidating bandanas.

Danny Wood had a smaller fan base, and a primate-related nickname that we won’t repeat here. To be fair, Danny’s bulging muscles and strong jawline— the features of an actual full-grown man—are generally less appealing to tweens than the boyish good looks of a Joey or Jordan. But true Blockheads know that Danny has plenty to offer: In addition to holding down those harmonies, he’s arguably the group’s best dancer and had a hand in choreographing the group’s moves. Danny’s biggest moment in the spotlight was his lead turn on “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again” off 1990’s Step By Step.

3 / 10

Raz B

Name: Raz B

Band: B2K

Years Overlooked: 1998-2004

Why We Love Him: Why was Raz B always the Shaq to his band of Kobes?! The guy could clearly sing and dance and wasn't exactly difficult to look at. Despite his lack of visibility in B2K's videos, Raz B managed to branch off into solo projects, where he was able to garner the camera's full attention. In "Let's Make This," he croons that he just wants to make things official and hold you down, all while showing off some fancy footwork. And in case you still can't remember his name, the 'RAZ B' shades are front and center throughout the entire video.

4 / 10

Devin Lima

Name: Devin Lima

Band: LFO

Years Overlooked: 1995-2002

Why We Love Him: The clear-cut vocal leader of the "Summer Girls" trio crooned hook after hook during LFO's prime years, but most fans seemed to only know Devin Lima as the guy with the nice coif. That "Girls on TV" gem should've catapulted him into the spotlight, but "Shooby-doo-wop and Scooby snacks" and Jennifer Love Hewitt seemed to be the single's main takeaways. Thanks to a performance on The Amanda Show, Lima not only had the chance to stand in the middle of the group, but also showed off his incredible pipes.

5 / 10

Howie Dorough

Name: Howie Dorough

Band: Backstreet Boys

Years Overlooked: 1993-Present

Why We Love Him: If the 2:12 mark of "I Want It That Way" doesn't prove how indispensable Howie D. is to BSB, then we don't know what does. The forever underappreciated member not only has a velvety voice, but also is pretty darn good-looking. While most pre-teen hearts yearned for the baby-faced Nick and Brian, Howie's ponytail and understated Johnny Depp vibe only translated with a select few. His "My Heart Stays with You" solo performance involved tossing flowers into the audience before completely ditching his shirt—swooon!

6 / 10

Michael Bivens

Name: Michael Bivins

Band: New Edition

Years Overlooked: 1978-Present

Why We Love Him: Every member of New Edition has experienced success, but in the group’s heyday the brightest spotlight was on Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown and then Brown’s replacement Johnny Gill. But Michael Bivins was the glue that held it all together. To use a Wu-Tang Clan metaphor: Michael Bivins is the RZA of New Edition.

As the founding member, Bivins guided the group through the rocky transition from the “Candy Girl” era to their more grown up sound with Johnny Gill replacing Bobby Brown. He went on to form Bell Biv Devoe with New Edition's Ricky Bell and Ronnie Devoe, and now we’ve all heard “Poison” so many times it’s encoded in our DNA. Did we mention that he discovered Boyz II Men? Michael Bivins is a boss.

7 / 10

Erik-Michael Estrada

Name: Erik-Michael Estrada

Band: O-Town

Years Overlooked: 2000-2003, 2011-Present

Why We Love Him: In addition to being absolutely adorable, the Making the Band talent handled some of O-Town's best lines. Remember how your heart fluttered when you heard, "You know I'd fight for you, but how can I fight someone who isn't even there?" Well, that was Erik. The group's 2001 summer hit "We Fit Together" finally gave the New York native some shine, as he sang both the first and second verses. Now that heartthrob/spotlight-hogger Ashley Parker Angel is no longer in the picture, Erik will be making his way into the hearts of fangirls soon enough.

8 / 10


Name: Seungri


Years Overlooked: 2006-Present

Why We Love Him: The youngest member of South Korean superstars BIGBANG definitely has his share of supporters, but Seungri is constantly fighting to prove himself. Known for his outstanding dance skills, the 23-year-old is sadly not given enough credit for his singing abilities. His first solo track, "The Next Day," showed off his crisp voice but didn't leave a mark with fans the way it should have. But he later bounced back with solo EPs, musical roles and hosting gigs, all of which finally pushed him into the limelight and proved his versatility.

9 / 10

Jackie Jackson

Name: Jackie Jackson

Band: The Jackson 5

Years Overlooked: 1964-1990

Why We Love Him: Lead vocalists Jermaine and Michael Jackson claimed the lion’s share of female fans, but it wouldn’t be the Jackson 5 without oldest brother Jackie’s signature tenor. Jackie’s most memorable moment in the spotlight was sharing the lead with Michael on the late-1970s hit “Enjoy Yourself.” When Michael ascended to King of Pop solo status, Jackie stuck with his brothers and took a more prominent role in singing and writing.

Jackie was multitalented too—he wanted to be a professional baseball player before Papa Joe recruited him for the family business. An athlete AND a family man? Dreamboat material.

10 / 10

Ringo Starr

Name: Ringo Starr

Band: The Beatles

Years Overlooked: 1960-1970

Why We Love Him: With their matching haircuts and hordes of hysterical teen girl fans, this boy band set the world on fire with catchy pop songs about holding hands.* Paul McCartney and John Lennon were the dreamy ones, and “quiet Beatle” George Harrison drew those in search of a strong silent type with an interest in counterculture. 

But what of Ringo? Maybe he wasn't the most conventionally attractive, he didn't write as many songs, and as a drummer he was literally a background fixture on stage. He didn't need to be flashy: He provided the backbeat for the most famous band in the world. He also wrote White Album's "Don't Pass Me By" and his vocals on "With A Little Help From My Friends" are legendary. What's not to love?

*Yes, we’re kind of messing with you, but some people DO consider The Beatles the original boy band despite their lack of synchronized dance moves. 


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