Lance Bass talks The Circle and Gen Zers who don't know NSYNC: 'That's bad parenting'
On Wednesday, the second season of Netflix's hit reality show The Circle dropped its first four episodes. Among the players vying for the $100,000 as they battle through DMs and shady group chats is one of NSYNC's very own — well, at least a player claiming to be Bass, but more on that later. Unfortunately, the former boy bander gets less than a warm welcome from a fellow contestant, 21-year-old Brit Chloe, who previously appeared on Netflix's Too Hot to Handle.
As you may have seen in the season 2 trailer, Chloe infamously was caught off guard by Bass' arrival on the show, spelling out the group's name while reading it without any recognition of what the letters mean. To be fair, the boy band parted ways in 2002, likely before Chloe had yet said "Bye Bye Bye" to her diapers, but we're not letting her off that easy. In fact, we called up Bass himself to talk about it.
So, is knowing NSYNC a sign of being old? Bass tells EW he doesn't worry that Chloe is a representation that the younger generation has forgotten his early greatness. In fact, "it's the opposite," he explains, because he's thriving with over 3 million likes on his TikTok videos, which range from dance collabs to his head-bopping reaction to a "Montero" and "Bye Bye Bye" remix.
"The Gen Z kids are really loving it," he says, brushing off Chloe's flub. "If no one knows the group NSYNC at that age, that's just bad parenting right there."
Light spoilers ahead, but Bass and his social media skills won't exactly be on full display on the show. As we quickly learn, the former Dancing With the Stars contestant is actually a catfish profile being played by Bass' longtime assistant Lisa, or as Bass likes to call her, Giggles. "We're both huge fans of The Circle, and so to be able to be a part of the show in any capacity, it's so much fun for me," Bass says, later adding that he'd love to see Young Sheldon's Melissa Peterman have a crack at the show.
Lisa got on the show after striking it up with someone in casting at a birthday party, and Bass was immediately in. "She knows me better than I know myself," he says. On the show, Lisa chooses to build her profile as "Lance," using a photo of Bass with his two dogs, Chip and Dale, as the main image, and a bio describing his entertainment career and the juicy tidbit that Bass is a trained cosmonaut.
Back in 2002, Bass first tried to rocket off to the International Space Station. The plans fell through, but it doesn't mean his dream is dead just yet.
"The good news is there's lots of opportunities coming in the future for anyone to go to space so I'm working with a few companies now," Bass reveals. "Maybe I'll be able to have a chance to fly in the next few years."
Even with a star-studded bio, Lisa doesn't exactly nail the landing when she begins to DM her fellow contestants. When asked what Bass would do with the money if he won, Lisa tells the group that she's planning on giving some of it charity and some of it toward another NSYNC tour. Why or how Bass would end up on a reality show to help Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, JC Chasez and Chris Kirkpatrick pool moolah set off immediate alarms for the other contestants. Maybe it's so the group can go perform for Chloe in Essex?
"It was a panic answer. And it was, it was the wrong way to go," Lisa admits while on the phone with Bass and EW. "In retrospect, I could have thought of a million better answers."
Bass says he would have had a quick fix: "I told her all you had to do is say I'm donating to puppy charities."