Posted by Chris Molanphy
It’s official: The members of second-tier late-’90s boy band 98 Degrees are now collectively more famous for their non-musical pursuits. Frankly, that was probably already true years ago, thanks to Nick Lachey alone—his 2003–05 MTV reality show with then-spouse Jessica Simpson was a momentary cultural obsession. But the group’s place in post-pop cultural arcana is now sealed, as founding Degrees-er Jeff Timmons, according to TMZ, will be the “musical guest” at the Las Vegas edition of Chippendales—the stalwart, not-quite-R-rated troupe of male strippers.
Neither as massive as ’N Sync nor as fleeting as LFO, 98 Degrees scored a solid array of pop/adult-contemporary hits at the turn of the millennium. For a brief period in 1999–2000, they were actually a more regular presence on the charts than Backstreet Boys, who released fewer singles than Timmons, Lachey & co. The Degrees gang visited the U.S. Top Five no less than four times (more than Backstreet), with such future supermarket-checkout-line fodder as “Because of You,” “The Hardest Thing” and the Latin-pop bandwagon-jumper “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”; they even scored a No. 1 hit as guests on Mariah Carey’s ballad “Thank God I Found You.”
Now that Timmons is preparing to serenade drunk bachelorettes with fleeting memories of his heyday, we can only wonder what less-successful boy-banders are doing to make the rent. Four-fifths of O-Town is trying to reunite, but without hearththrob-turned-actor Ashley Parker Angel. We can only imagine what street corners the boys in Take 5 are hanging out on.