Fox’s ‘iHeart Living Room Concert for America’: TV Review
There’s something refreshing about something being about what it’s actually about.
This was the thought that came to mind as the Backstreet Boys — a band still riding on the afterburn of one massive hit — performed a five-way “socially distanced” version of “I Want It That Way” on Fox’s televised benefit to raise awareness of the coronavirus and funds for American food banks and for the children of first responders. This was a performance that had less than nothing to do with, as the contemporary parlance would have it, “this moment”: Not merely was the song studiously, Max Martin-ishly meaningless even when it came out, it was also done now with a series of statements that indicated the performers’ level of seriousness about the task at hand. Nick Carter, beaming in from his home deck, didn’t get off the chaise to do his vocals; AJ McLean performed the final verse with the camera focused on both him and a giant glass statuette behind him, panning up to another shelf of awards after he’d finished singing.