Ex-Boybanders' Solo Careers, Ranked From Best to Worst


(PacificCoastNews | Getty Images)A few days ago, rumor spread that One Direction's Harry Styles was at work on a solo album, presumably plotting his post-boyband career. But a rep for the band vehemently denies that Styles is going anywhere, and we're glad for him — most ex-boybanders don't fare too well on the charts after they fly the coop, with the exception of a few rare (and extremely handsome) gentlemen. Not everyone can be Justin Timberlake.

Below, check out our rankings of the best and worst post-boyband solo careers.

1. Justin Timberlake
This one is undeniable. Timberlake's most recent album, The 20/20 Experience, sold almost a million copies in its first week, and everyone's pretty much agreed that he's the most charismatic male pop star of our generation. Beyoncé should've just given that "Bow Down" song to him, because he probably could've made it a hit.

2. Robbie Williams
Ex-Take That bad boy Robbie Williams will probably never break big in the U.S., but he probably doesn't really mind — at least there's somewhere for him to escape the flashbulbs. Williams is the only former boyband singer to be more critically and commercially successful on his own, as he's sold over 70 million records worldwide. Neverunderstimate a power ballad and a bunch of tattoos.

3. Bobby Brown
Considering how he's fared over oh, the past two decades, it's kind of hard to believe that New Edition's Bobby Brown is actually the third most successful ex-boybander. His sophomore solo album Don't Be Cruel went seven times platinum, thanks in part to his bad boy anthem "My Prerogative."

4. Jordan Knight
New Kids on the Block hottie Jordan Knight scored a top 10 hit with his 1999 single "Give it To You," which is actually totally dirty when you listen to the lyrics (hint: It's about SEX).  His eponymous solo debut was eventually gold certified, and he's sold over 1.5 million records worldwide on his own.

5. Joey McIntyre
NKOTB's Joey McIntyre also scored a top 10 hit in 1999 with his cheesefest slow jam "Stay the Same," which he promoted by opening for Britney Spears on the Disneyland Tour series. His attempt to re-brand himself as "Joe Mac" didn't work out, however, and his 2001 follow-up Meet Joe Mac failed to chart.

6. Nick Lachey
Reality television success does not a top-charting album make, as 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey discovered in 2003 with the release of the terribly titled SoulO. The album moved fewer than 200,000 units in the U.S., although Lachey's divorce album What's Left of Me fared considerably better with its breakup anthems inspired by Jessica Simpson.

7. Nick Carter
The Backstreet Boys' popular blonde baby released his first solo album in 2002, eventually selling about 550,000 copies worldwide. Subsequent albums might have fared better had he never dated Paris Hilton.

8. Nick Jonas
There were a few gems on Who I Am, the surprisingly mature debut album by Nick Jonas & the Administration, but few people ever heard them, as the album only moved about 151,000 copies in the United States (for reference, the Jonas Brothers' 2009 album Lines, Vines and Trying Times moved almost twice that much in its first week).

9. JC Chasez
For a while there, it seemed like 'N Sync's JC Chasez had the potential to become a breakout star alongside Justin Timberlake. He had the vocal chops, the celebrity girlfriends (Eva Longoria and Tara Reid, back when she was famous for acting), and a guest spot on a hit single (Blaque's "Bring It All to Me"). And let's be real: He was cuter than Justin. He just didn't have his own hit single.

10. A.J. McLean
The Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean turned to a number of hitmakers — including his old 'N Sync rival, JC Chasez — to craft the songs on his debut solo album Have It All. The result is a finer record than any produced by his fellow BSBers, but it still didn't catch much traction on the U.S. albums chart.

11. Brian Littrell

It's a little unfair to compare Brian Littrell's debut solo album Welcome Home to his pop contemporaries', as his is the lone Christian album among them. It performed very well by Christian rock standards, with over 100,000 copies sold, but didn't get much mainstream attention.

12. Joe Jonas

Joe Jonas' debut solo album Fastlife was originally slated to drop around the same time as his ex-girlfriend Demi Lovato's Unbreakable, but its release was pushed back after the singles "See No More" and "Just in Love" failed to catch steam. The album only charted for 2 weeks, which may have led Jonas to cut ties with Hollywood Records.

13. Howie Dorough
An opening gig for Britney Spears on her European tour couldn't get people excited about Back to Me, the debut album from the Backstreet Boys' Howie Dorough. Maybe he should have released that Latin album he'd been talking about.

14. AJ McLean as Johnny No Name
Here's the thing: Alter-egos are never a good idea. If Garth Brooks can't do it without everyone laughing at him, then you can bet a former Backstreet Boy can't, either.


I'm the former Zimbio Music Editor. Into music, cats, karaoke, and shiny things. Follow me: Google
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