As part of the night’s focus on artist hometowns, storied ’80s and ’90s boy bands New Kids on the Block and New Edition traded off medleys of their respective hits at the American Music Awards on Sunday (Nov. 21), in an event billed by the show as the “Battle of Boston.”
After a hype video about the two groups’ legacies and Beantown repping, the New Kids took the Microsoft Theater stage with an updated version of their first Billboard Hot 100 top 5 hit “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” — before New Edition replaced them to return fire with their own mid-’80s breakthrough smash, “Candy Girl.” The two groups continued to trade hits, with the New Kids cycling through “Step By Step,” “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “Hangin’ Tough” while New Edition responded with “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Is This the End,” “Can You Stand the Rain” and “If It Isn’t Love,” all much to the audience’s delight.
The two groups between them have been responsible for 13 top 10 hits on the Hot 100, and paved the way for generations of all-male pop vocal groups (“boy bands”) to follow — particularly New Edition, who predated NKOTB, with the latter group’s own Donnie Wahlberg shouting out their progenitors (with a mic drop) in a pre-filmed video shown before the split performance.
The American Music Awards are produced by MRC Live & Alternative, which is owned by MRC. MRC and Penske Media are co-parent companies of Billboard.