The other lead singer of *N SYNC never captured the world’s attention quite like Justin Timberlake, but coming out of the best-selling boy band, JC garnered a good amount of interest. His solo album Schizophrenic fizzled, but “Blowin’ Me Up (With Her Love)” is still canned heat, for real.
New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight could not muster a bigger hit than “Give It to You” from his debut solo album, but to be fair, “Give It To You” remains a pretty undeniable jam. Knight eventually teamed with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys for a double boy-band mash-up named Nick & Knight (below).
Although the New Kids on the Block member never outshone the boy band’s success as a solo star, his 1999 debut Stay the Same was a modest hit thanks in part to a title track that tugged on the heartstrings. McIntyre later issued a covers album and performed on Broadway in between NKOTB hiatuses.
When it comes to post-boy band careers, Nick Lachey's track record is pretty impressive, with four studio albums under his belt and a 2006 sophomore solo effort boasting the huge hit "What's Left of Me." While we usually see the 98 Degrees hunk focusing on hosting and TV gigs these days, he has continuously put out new music since 2003's SoulO.
Despite just beginning his post-One Direction career, Zayn Malik's already done quite for himself compared to many other ex-boy bandeers. His debut solo single "PillowTalk" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, while all the buzz tracks from his upcoming Mind of Mine album have bowed on the chart too, indicating a lot of strong interest in the forthcoming record. Plus, the R&B world gave Zayn a major co-sign when he appeared alongside Chris Brown and Usher on the former's "Back to Sleep" remix.
The Jonas Brothers’ run ended rather painfully, with a planned reunion tour scrapped before it truly began. From there, however, the youngest JoBro set off on finding solo stardom and scored big with R&B-inflected hits like “Jealous” and “Chains.” A talented musician and hypnotic live presence, Nick Jonas has successfully made the post-brothers leap. His sophomore album Last Year Was Complicated continues on that promise, but it confirms Nick is a pop star who needs to be pushed to get to rise above more of his rivals. Depending on how this era pans out could seal his fate in pop history.
Whether or not mainstream America knows him, Romeo Santos is best described as Latin music's Justin Timberlake—which is a big deal. He initially made waves by helping redefine bachata music to the young generation with his quartet Aventura, before breaking even bigger on his own, dropping chart-topping albums and selling out humongous American venues like his two-night sold-out stint at Yankee Stadium in 2014. Plus, you know anyone who could get Drake to rap in Spanish? Yeah, Santos did that on their single "Odio."
Omarion has more or less shaken off his boy band past with B2K and stands a full fledged R&B-pop superstar. His success is sometimes underrated with the dude boasting more than a decade in the game on his own (not to mention an additional four years with B2K). That includes two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, with 2014 single "Post to Be" with Chris Brown and Jhené Aiko marking one of his biggest solo hits to date. Don't forget he's also done well in both movies (You Got Served, Fat Albert, Feel the Noise) and television (The Bernie Mac Show, America's Best Dance Crew, Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood).
By the time he hit America, music fans likely wouldn't have even known Ricky Martin had been part of a boy band since his tween years. But after joining Puerto Rico's super-famous Menudo at 12, the singer helped usher in Latin pop to America in his 20's and since established himself as a superstar in his own right. With a recent focus on the Latin market, Ricky continues to sell out arenas, score Latin No. 1s, and even produced a new singing competition along side Simon Cowell called La Banda which looks to create the new Latin boy band sensation.
If there was ever a blueprint for moving past boy-band success and establishing a fruitful solo career, Justin Timberlake’s post-*NSYNC path is certainly the one to follow. JT selected excellent collaborators (Timbaland and the Neptunes chief among them), created sensational music (um, have you heard FutureSex/Lovesounds lately?), and crafted a shining public image (see: all of his Saturday Night Live hosting stints) on his way to becoming a superstar. We’ll even forgive him for saying bye, bye, bye to the curly locks.