A to Zim: Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean Answers 26 Burning Questions

Our former 8th grade boyfriend opens up about the tell-all documentary 'The Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of.'

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean
Getty | Design: Rafael Hidalgo

If you thought '90s boy bands were a thing of the past, think again. As part of The Backstreet Boys' 20th anniversary (yes, you read that right), the group is making headlines with a new, tell-all documentary revealing things you'd never find in Tiger Beat. In The Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of (available on iTunes and video on demand), members Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, and Kevin Richardson give fans an emotional look at their journey, and open up about the effects of fame, fortune, and betrayal. 

A.J. McLean (a.k.a. your high school boyfriend), answered our 26 questions, and let us know how it feels to be a full grown man in a boy band. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Advice you have for aspiring musicians?
Work hard, stay focused, and enjoy the ride.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Boy band you're most excited about right now (aside from BSB, of course): 
We’re stoked on a Swedish boy band called The Fooo Conspiracy! Kevin found them on YouTube and had one of their songs stuck in his head for days. We invited them to our show in Stockholm, Sweden, met them backstage and they gave us some snap back hats. We actually used the hats they gave us onstage in one of our routines! 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Celebrity you're dying to meet:
Anna Kendrick

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Dance move you have mastered:
The Backstreet’s Back dance. Only took 20-something years!

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean
Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Embarrassing story you're ready to share: 
A.J. has a classic Leonardo DiCaprio story. About 15 years ago we were in a club, and I pass Leo. We exchange hellos, and he decides to take A.J.'s goggles, pull them, and smack A.J. in the face. A.J.'s immediate thought, "I would've let you sink!!" 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Frustrations that came up while filming the documentary:
The writing and recording process took a little longer than we expected. We wanted to finish the record in three weeks, but after working in the studio, we weren’t moving as quickly as we had in the past. And we were in London, so there was a lot of pressure to finish everything to keep on the timeline.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

GIF you never tire of:

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Enough said.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Hardest scene you had to film for the documentary: 
Going to each of our hometowns was incredibly emotional for each of us. As you'll see in the film, there were a lot of tears. It brought up a lot of emotions that we've suppressed for a while. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Intimate moment from the documentary that will surprise people?  
We share a lot throughout the film, a lot of which most people will be surprised by. For example, Brian's vocal issues come to a head in a heated argument.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Jelly bean flavor you can't stand:
Butterscotch. I mean, who thought of that?!

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Key lessons from the documentary you want fans to take away? 
Chasing your dreams has to start with yourself — believe in yourself. Surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, and mentors. These champions will challenge you and push you to achieve your goals. These people are so important. Make sure to tell them "thank you," because they might not know how much of an impact they had on you.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Last movie you saw in theaters: 
The Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You’re Made Of!

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean
Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Moment in your documentary you're most nervous about people watching:
The conference room scene is very tense. You’ll see Nick and Brian getting into a big argument over song choices and his health. Being in a band can be tough because you have to respect everyone’s opinions even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Sometimes things can get really heated — we’re all passionate and have our voices heard, so that can be tough. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Nineties fashion trend you regret wearing: 
How much time do you have?

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Outdoor activity you can't get enough of: 
We're all sports fanatics. Basketball definitely tops the list.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Pet peeve: 
Chewing with your mouth open. Drives me insane.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Quote you're fond of:
Can we quote ourselves? "There's never going to be anyone like Backstreet Boys fans."

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Resolution for 2015:
See more of our fans around the world that we haven't seen in over a decade. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Song you wouldn't mind never singing again.  
A classic that we all can agree on — "If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy)".

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

#TBT.  
This is Nick and Kevin during the summer of 2012, during our London trip. It was kind of a trip where we felt like we were kids again. It was just the five of us, and we could feel that bond we always had being reborn. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean
A.J. McLean
Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

Underwear choice: boxers or briefs?
Boxer-briefs. 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

 Vine video you can't stop watching:  

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

What do you do when you're a full-grown man in a boy band?
You'll have to see the documentary to find out ;)

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

X-word you have the most fun saying:
F**k.

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

YouTube video you've been passing along to all of your friends: 
Love this rendition of "I Want It That Way." 

Zimbio A to Zim: A.J. McLean

If you didn't know Zimbio was an entertainment site, what would you think "a Zimbio" was?
Sounds like a drink from the '90s.  

A to Zim: Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean Answers 26 Burning Questions

I'm the editorial director of Zimbio. Instagram: @anela_bella Twitter: @laniconway
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