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Behind the scenes with 'N Sync's No. 1 video

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Justin Timberlake
MB Charles/Retna

by Craig Seymour

‘N Sync’s ”Live From Madison Square Garden” earns the top spot on Billboard’s ”Top Music Videos” chart this week. And the timing couldn’t be better for the competitive fivesome: Their arch rivals, the Backstreet Boys, are sure to have the No. 1 album later this month when their new set, ”Black and Blue,” is released (Tuesday, Nov. 21). But for now, at least, Justin & Co. have the chart spotlight to themselves. Their hit video was taped at Madison Square Garden in New York City in August and broadcast live on HBO.

EW.com was there for the show and here’s what we saw:

‘N Sync’s concert offered a winning mix of sweet teen boy singing (the tuneful tag team of Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez), randy dance moves (humpy crotch thrusts and ”back that ass up” bunny hops), and the booming electro thump of the group’s new tunes, which were well suited for supersizing to arena proportions. Here’s a look at the show’s high and low points, along with some things you won’t see at home.

What You Won’t See, I The crowd booing just minutes before airtime after an announcer told them not to wave banners during the show. (Sample Banner: ”JC is my ‘Space Cowboy”’)

What You Won’t See, II The message ”Flashlights Now!” that came across the jumbo screen before HBO panned to the illuminated crowd

Best Tune That jaunty R&B ditty ”It Makes Me Ill.” (Although we could’ve done without the too obvious hospital setup.)

Worst Tune That spiritually arrogant treacle ”(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You.” (You wish.)

Most Charismatic Member Who’s Not JC or Justin Joey Fatone, who ably commanded a brief solo on ”I Thought She Knew”

Least Charismatic Member Who’s Not Chris Kirkpatrick There is no less charismatic member than Chris Kirkpatrick. (See ”I Drive Myself Crazy.”)

Shiniest Props Justin’s sequined ‘do rags

Scariest Prop The massive John Wayne Gacy looking clown face that issued a warning to competing boy bands: ”Everybody can have their moment in the spotlight… [but] we’re here to stay.” (If it comes from the clown, it must be true.)

Mob Scene You Will See The gaggle of gals who won the chance to dance on stage. (They should’ve won some choreography lessons, too.)

Mob Scene You Won’t See The anxious parents massed outside the venue

Riskiest Move That Worked Justin’s surprisingly competent human beat box

Riskiest Move That Didn’t Work JC’s shiny red butt hugging pants. (Besides, Carmen Electra needs them back.)

Most Contrived Moment The ”TRL” spoof where the audience gets to choose which song the guys perform next. The choices? Three nursery rhymes and ”Tearin’ Up My Heart.”

Most Honest Moment Their unironic cover of Johnny Kemp’s ”Just Got Paid”

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