*R&B supergroup New Edition is headlining this year’s American Music Awards, slated to go down TONIGHT ( Nov. 21) at 8pm EST on ABC.
Cardi B is hosting the event, marking the fifth consecutive year that a Black female star will front the AMAs. The rapper follows actress Tracee Ellis Ross (2017-18), R&B star Ciara (2019) and actress Taraji P. Henson (2020).
Per People, the list of previously announced performers at the award show includes Olivia Rodrigo, Bad Bunny with Tainy and Julieta Venegas, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Diplo, Måneskin, Mickey Guyton, Tyler, the Creator, Walker Hayes, Zoe Wees, and New Edition with New Kids on the Block.
New Edition will battle it out for their hometown cred against the famed boy band for the award show’s “Battle Of Boston.”
We caught up with New Edition members Ron DeVoe and Mike Bivens to dish about what fans can expect from the showdown.
“I just seen those guys a couple of weeks ago in Boston,” Bivens said of NKOTB in an exclusive interview with EURweb. “I think they’re in rehearsal doing longer hours. We’re midnight hours, we’re all kind of hiding and practicing and I think it feels good. And I think whoever thought of the idea was genius because I heard that BTS is on there too. Honestly, this might be the first award show that had this many groups on at one time in the last 10 years. I’m super excited.
— American Music Awards (@AMAs) November 21, 2021
Are there any artists you’re particularly excited about seeing perform?
DeVoe: I’m excited about seeing New Kids. That performance is going to be history-making. It’s an epic challenge of the boys from Boston, the battle of the boy bands, the ones that kind of jumped it off for this generation of… by the time you get to BTS, they have had to been touched by the essence of New Kids or New Edition. I’m excited about seeing those guys right next to us making this thing happen. And everybody else we’ll definitely be paying attention to that night as well.
I also want to say, seeing Cardi B host the show is just… I can’t wait to see that. Who knows what the hell she’s going to say or do, we know it’s going to be funny as hell, and provocative as hell. Definitely looking forward to that.
Talk about the creative process for putting together this dynamic performance.
DeVoe: The first part of it, everyone’s thinking is, okay, which songs do we choose? Because we have a certain amount of time between the two groups. The AMAs is not allowing us to do 30 minutes, so we have to condense. Once you figure out what songs you’re going to do, then you figure out what is the sound. After you figure that out musically, then it’s time to hit the mirrors and figure out what the choreography is going to look like, what the staging is going to be. Because at some point, are we all in the center, do they move away, do we walk away at some point? There’s a lot that goes into the magic that’s going to happen. And then you think, okay, it’s a friendly competition. Are they going to meet the match, are we going to meet their match? And you feel like you got to lift some heavier weights. You got to run a little bit further in the morning. So your cardio game is right, there’s a whole lot that goes into this process of making a magical moment happen.
Will you check out the fan reaction to “Battle of Boston” on social media?
Bivins: If we open ourselves up to want to see the good, bad and different because it’s going to come from different angles. Because some people are going to watch to be comedians. Because that’s who they are. They’re not going to say, oh, it’s dope. They going to be like, ah, shoot. They could have put me up there. I could’ve been… That’s a part of their world, their page. I think everyone tends to pick up their phone and chime in and check-in and tap in and it’s going to be what it’s going to be.
It’s a magical moment and it feels good going into it. And I think it’s highly anticipated because we’re both representing a city that has millions of friends across the country. It’s going to be really nice. It’s a dinner moment. A lot of dancing, lot of singing and a lot of women talking about their youth and where they were and who they liked. It’s perfect timing for some healing in the world. I think we had a tough ’21 and I think something like this should give everyone a night of peace and entertainment.
With a career that spans 3 decades, do you find inspiration or learn anything new from rising music stars?
DeVoe: I’m always in education mode. I learned stuff from my kids and they’re four. I’m never going to say that I’m not learning from new talent and constantly elevating and not feeling like your sh*t doesn’t stink at the end of the day. Because that’s just what it is.
The 2021 American Music Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. ET/ PT on ABC and streaming the next day on Hulu.