As the season premiere of The Bachelorette captivated America Tuesday night, viewers had questions: Does Clare really fall in love at first sight? Will the show be as dramatic if it only films in one location? And, most urgently, what boy band does Kenny from Chicago (age 39) manage?
Is Chicago the Orlando of the north? Have we had a Lou Pearlman in our midst all this time? Is this why Donnie Wahlberg now lives in the far western suburbs?
Well, no, but Kenny (last name Braasch) is the Svengali who created and oversees the Boy Band Night, a cover band dedicated to the oeuvre of One Direction, Backstreet Boys, Nsync, and all the other frosted-tipped men with pouty lips on your make-out jams Spotify playlist.
The band has 2,700 followers on Instagram as of the afternoon following The Bachelorette premiere. They post a lot of memes involving actual boy bands. From this we can tell they are very pro-Backstreet, they are lukewarm on Nsync, and they have not moved beyond circa-2007 Britney Spears. (They also clearly did not see her 2009 comeback tour when it passed through the Rosemont Arena. #freebritney)
Just like any good boy band, they dress in coordinated outfits and sometimes wear tank tops. In one picture, one of them is playing the guitar while wearing a plush panda head. That’s just the kind of wacky thing boy bands do. In January, they shared a bill at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park with certified boy band member AJ McLean, who now DJs.
According to the band’s website, they will “TRAVEL!” and have “played shows all over the country plus Canada!” They will play clubs, casinos, weddings, and presumably bar mitzvahs even in Canada.
Manager Kenny got a rose from Bachelorette Clare and will be sticking around for now at the Palm Springs resort where this season was filmed. His absence from Chicago notwithstanding, the Boy Band Night, like everything else in the world, isn’t going much of anywhere right now. It has no scheduled shows for the foreseeable future, though you can check out their earnest cover of “I Want You Back” (Nsync version, not Jackson 5, of course) on their website. Come for the attempted harmonizing and sweeping hand gestures, stay for the cameo from Kenny and his vertical hair.