A fantasy draft can be a blast for sports fans who obsess over stats and team unity, but that format can also be translated from football to mainstream pop music. What would happen if the lineup were not based on talent and leadership, but on musicianship, choreography and overall popularity? We found out in 2013 with the inaugural Fantasy Boy Band Draft, and this week, we repeated the process for the 2015 Fantasy Boy Band Draft, as part of Billboard.com’s Boy Band Week.
Earlier this week, seven members of the Billboard staff joined together to draft their own personal boy bands over five thrilling rounds. We captured every second of the action — which you can read in full below — and want to hear from the boy band fans themselves to see whose draft was the strongest. There were shocking picks, improbable sleepers in the last round and various K-pop questions. We’d expect nothing less from the Fantasy Boy Band Draft!
— Each team will select one member per round over the course of five rounds. This will be a “snake order” draft, so that the second round goes in reverse order as the first round (the player with the seventh pick will also get the eighth pick, and so on).???
— Boy band members are eligible as long as they once appeared in a boy bands, meaning that members of defunct girl groups (*N SYNC, Dream Street, etc.) can be drafted.
???– All boy band members are drafted under the “heyday” rule, which means that players are drafting boy band members at the height of their performing powers, not as they are in 2015.???
— Only members of boy bands that were active after 1980 can be drafted — so no Jackson 5 or Beatles members. Only “modern” boy bands will be considered for this draft.
???– Following the draft, each participant will make the case as to why their completed girl group is the best!
Jason Lipshutz, pop editor at Billboard.com
Erin Strecker, pop correspondent at Billboard.com
Steven Horowitz, associate editor at Billboard Magazine
Alex Gale, senior editor at Billboard Magazine
Trish Halpin, photo editor at Billboard.com
Joe Lynch, senior editor at Billboard.com
Erika Ramirez, senior editor at Billboard.com
JASON: The second annual Fantasy Boy Band Draft is about to start. We’ve all drawn numbers out of a hat to determine the draft order. Just like in the Fantasy Girl Group Draft, Erin has somehow landed the first pick. Alex is after her, then Joe, then Trish, then Steven, then me, and finally Erika, who has the last pick of the first round and the first pick of the second round. I wish you all luck. This will not be pretty. (NOTE: this draft was conducted less than an hour before news of Louis Tomlinson becoming a father broke, which would have undoubtedly affected the draft order.)
ERIN: In a move that I am sure I will regret shortly, I am going to pick Justin Timberlake.
ALEX: Why would you regret that? It just depends on if you’re out for winning the contest, or if you’re out for the One Direction fan votes.
ALEX: I don’t particularly care about seeming ‘cool,’ but I will nonetheless go with Harry Styles. He’s cool enough.
JOE: I’m up. This is tough.
STEVEN: I don’t think it’s tough. I know who No. 3 should be.
ERIN: I agree, there’s definitely a right answer here.
JOE: You know what? I’m going to pick Nick Jonas.
STEVEN (shadily): That’s not a BAD choice…
ERIN: Nick Jonas does bring a little something to the table.
JOE: And that something is sex appeal.
JASON: Trish, you’re up.
JASON: Yeah, I’m a little surprised he dropped so low.
STEVEN: That was my choice for No. 3.
JOE: The thing is, Zayn’s a quitter. Who wants a quitter when you’re building a fantasy boy band?
ERIKA: He’s a bad boy though!
JOE: Bad at not quitting, I guess…
STEVEN: Okay, my turn. I’m going to have to go with Liam Payne.
STEVEN: Really? Liam’s got a big following. I’d go Louis next, then Niall.
ALEX: You shouldn’t be talking draft strategy until after the players are drafted!
JASON: For my first pick, I have to pick my boy: A.J. McLean.
(Room explodes in laughter)
STEVEN: Whoa, are you serious? This is your first pick!
ERIN: You have all the options available to you!
JASON: No. There’s only one option for me, really.
ALEX: Are you just going to try and reassemble the Backstreet Boys as your team?
JASON: I might! I needed a bad boy. Erika, you’re up, with two picks in a row.
ERIKA: Hmmm. I’m going to go with Nick Lachey.
STEVEN: Not a bad choice! I thought about him. The Sing-Off!
ERIKA: For pick No. 2, give me Ricky Martin. For my Latin people.
JASON: A solid choice. Okay, there’s only two One Direction members left and I want to take one of them. I’m going with Niall.
STEVEN: Poor Louis.
ERIN: Niall’s the funny one!
JASON: And he plays guitar. Steven’s up.
STEVEN: I’m going to pick Max George.
JASON: Nice, the Wanted’s hunkiest dude.
JOE: And Lindsay Lohan’s ex!
JASON: You know, going back to my pick, you guys laugh that AJ McLean was my first pick, but my first pick in the Girl Group Draft was Raven Symone. I like to go unconventional.
JOE: And she ended up on The View! All thanks to you.
TRISH: Okay, I’m going to pick JC Chasez. He was my favorite from *N SYNC.
(Alex starts talking about why 5 Seconds of Summer is not eligible in the fantasy boy band draft, while Jonas Brothers and Hanson are eligible. Things get heated. Everyone quickly moves on.)
JOE: Okay, I’m closing out One Direction and picking Louis Tomlinson.
ALEX: Considering the fact that my team is already going to win thanks to Harry Styles, and because all of the obvious strategic picks are off the table, I’m picking G-Dragon from BIGBANG.
EVERYONE ELSE: Wooooow!
STEVEN: I should have picked him.
ERIN: I have two picks in a row. Is Brian from BSB still on the table?
JASON: Brian Littrell is, indeed, still there.
ERIN: Give me Brian. I had a crush on him in sixth grade.
ERIN: I’m also going to go with…
JASON: Brian cries so much in the Backstreet Boys documentary.
ERIN: He really does! Okay, give me Joe Jonas. Sorry, Kevin Jonas.
ALEX: How do I add to Harry Styles and G-Dragon? I feel like I’m leaving some legends on the table here, but I want to go to Omarion.
ERIKA: Aw man, that was my next pick.
ALEX: I have a very multicultural boy band. Plus, Omarion gets to do his Omarion dance!
JOE: I’m up. Give me Taylor Hanson.
TRISH: Which one was that? Was he the cute one?
JOE: Don’t know. He’s the middle one though.
JASON: Trish, you’re up. Zayn, then JC Chasez, and now, who?
TRISH: Ummm has Nick Carter been taken yet? Yeah, you know what, give me Nick Carter.
STEVEN: Cool, I’m up and I’m taking Lance Bass.
JASON: A surprising pick!
STEVEN: Every band needs a figure who goes on to not be known for music at all.
JASON: You know, I feel like I want to make my band the all-bad boy band. So I’m picking Bobby Brown. The ultimate bad boy!
ALEX: Great pick, great pick. He was untouchable at one point.
JOE: Erika, who joins Nick Lachey and Ricky Martin?
ERIKA: I love my team, and I want to add Wanya Morris from Boyz II Men.
ERIKA: … And Donnie Wahlberg.
JASON: Blue Bloods!
ALEX: She took a bad boy off the board from you, Jason.
JASON: You’re right. This becomes infinitely harder. Who’s the bad boy of BIGBANG?
ERIKA: I think Lil’ Fizz was the bad boy of B2K!
JASON: Is it Lil’ Fizz’s time?! What about J-Boog? They were all in You Got Served, so I love all of them. You know what? I feel like I need a leader, and my leader is going to be Ashley Parker Angel.
JOE: Dammit! He was my next pick!
ALEX: There are some legends still on the table.
STEVEN: There are, and that’s why I’m picking Joey McIntyre.
ERIKA: You’re just mad because you couldn’t get Donnie Wahlberg.
STEVEN: Eh. I already have my bad boy in Max George!
JASON: You’re up, Trish.
TRISH: How about Alex Solowitz? Mickey Parke in 2gether!
JASON: Incredible pick! The bad boy of 2gether.
JOE: I’m going to go with the only other person in BIGBANG that I’m familiar with, and that is T.O.P.
ALEX: Was that really worthy of a ‘Wow’ reaction? Anyway, I’m using this pick to go with someone who fell way too far in this draft: Jordan Knight.
STEVEN: I almost picked him over Joey McIntyre.
ALEX: I need to point out that I own “Hangin’ Tough” on cassingle.
ERIN: Okay, I’m going with Jesse McCartney. Dream Street!
JASON: Last round!
ERIN: Who from Hanson is left? Zac and Isaac? I’m going to pick Isaac Hanson. He plays some instruments, and none of my other guys play instruments.
STEVE: Your tour could be sponsored by MmmHops! The Hanson beer! Get it?
ALEX: My band also needs a leader, and I also need to represent one band I truly really like, and I want to represent for Another Bad Creation. Give me Michael Bivins.
JASON: So Michael Bivins is going to be your leader over Omarion and Harry Styles? Interesting.
JOE: Who’s left from Backstreet? Howie and Kevin?
ERIN: Joey Fatone’s still there Joe!
JOE: Don’t try to con me into picking Joey Fatone. I’m going with Nathan Sykes.
ALEX: Ah, nice.
TRISH: Has the hot one from the Wanted already been taken? It looks like it. Should I pick someone else from O-Town? The one with the dreads? Fuck it, just give me Joey Fatone.
ALEX: That sounds like a hashtag. #FuckItJustGiveMeJoeyFatone.
STEVEN: For my last pick, I am going to pick all five members of 5ive.
JASON: Tragically, that is against the rules, Steven.
STEVEN: Fine. I’m going to pick Zayn again. I’m kidding. Westlife? No. I’m picking Robbie Williams.
JASON: Oh no, that was literally going to be my pick! That’s who I wanted!
ERIN: Did you say the Wanted?
ALEX: Jason, I feel like your all-bad-boy concept has fallen apart.
JASON: To be fair, I think Ashley Parker Angel is a bit of a bad boy, since he refused to reunite with the rest of O-Town! He’s a bad boy in his own way.
TRISH: He’s a sweet, blonde, blue-eyed non-bad boy.
STEVEN: Is Ashley Parker Angel also Ryan Cabrera?
JASON: Should I just assume that Taeyang is the bad boy of BIGBANG? Actually, no, scratch that. I’m going full Kirkpatrick.
JOE: Definitely the ultimate bad boy.
JASON: Chris Kirkpatrick has three first names as his whole name, which is why I am choosing him. Erika, you have the final pick.
ERIKA: I am choosing 112’s Slim.
ALEX: Aw, come on, that’s not a boy band!
ERIKA: I would like to see my boy band perform. I needed Slim.
THE FINAL LINEUPS & BREAKDOWNS
ERIN’S TEAM: Justin Timberlake, Brian Littrell, Joe Jonas, Jesse McCartney, Isaac Hanson
Erin: “I tried to pick boy band members I loved when I was younger and boy band members that I admire now. I picked a Hanson brother at the end just for fun. My group needed some musicality! I really hope Justin Timberlake can carry this.”
ALEX’S TEAM: Harry Styles, G-Dragon, Omarion, Jordan Knight, Michael Bivins
Alex: “I think I got lucky and grabbed some heavy hitters. Omarion’s work with Timbaland was really good — ‘Ice Box’ is kind of a classic. I got a lot of leaders, and then Michael Bivins gives it some historical gravitas. He’s the best boy band member to ever become an executive, probably.”
JOE’S TEAM: Nick Jonas, Louis Tomlinson, Taylor Hanson, T.O.P, Nathan Sykes
Joe: “I’m very proud of my team. I’ve got two members, Nick Jonas and Taylor Hanson, that played instruments in their respective groups. Nick Jonas has gone on to wow us with his second act, and Louis Tomlinson has the most beautiful face on the planet. Very pretty eyes, very pretty eyelashes. T.O.P brings the K-pop and the hip-hop. I like BIGBANG! And Nathan Sykes is the breakout star of the Wanted. The sky’s the limit. These guys together? Who knows.”
TRISH’S TEAM: Zayn Malik, JC Chasez, Nick Carter, Alex Solowitz, Joey Fatone
Trish: “I wanted to just do all of *N SYNC, but then Justin Timberlake went first, so whatever. JC was the cute one, I met Nick Carter and he was nice, I love Joey Fatone — how can you not? — Mickey Parke is Mickey Parke, and then, of course, Zayn. I almost picked Kevin Farley from 2gether, but you can’t have Joey Fatone and Kevin Farley.”
STEVEN’S TEAM: Liam Payne, Max George, Lance Bass, Joey McIntyre, Robbie Williams
Steven: “I don’t know how I ended up with Robbie Williams, but the rest are pretty notable. I think all of these guys were successful in their own right. Joey McIntyre had a big solo career. Lance Bass is super successful. Max from the Wanted is my bad boy, along with Robbie Williams — he can sing, he’s really good-looking, and he probably still has Lindsay Lohan’s number. And then Liam is in One Direction! Please RT.”
JASON’S TEAM: AJ McLean, Niall Horan, Bobby Brown, Ashley Parker Angel, Chris Kirkpatrick
Jason: “My team is a melting pot of weirdness. I love AJ — he’s maybe my favorite boy band member. I feel like I want Bobby Brown to lead my team. I’m picturing him yelling, ‘Who are you? Ashley? Your name’s Ashley? Fall in line!’ or something. Niall is playing guitar, and Chris Kirkpatrick is getting his ass kicked, worse than those little Limp Bizkit bastards. Just kidding, Chris Kirkpatrick forever.”
ERIKA’S TEAM: Nick Lachey, Ricky Martin, Wanya Morris, Donnie Wahlberg, Marvin “Slim” Scandrick
Erika: “All of these members I’ve seen or want to see perform together. I have my bad boy, I’m representing for my Latin people, and shout out to Slim.”
So whose Fantasy Boy Band is the strongest? Vote now in the poll below!