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Rita Ora, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, Spice Girl Emma Bunton Join ABC’s ‘Boy Band’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/16/2017 Elizabeth Wagmeister
© Provided by Variety

ABC’s upcoming summer singing competition “Boy Band” is bringing back some ’90s favorites.

Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys and Emma Bunton of the Spice Girls will serve as judges on the series, Variety has learned exclusively. Rita Ora has been tapped to host.

The announcements will be made Tuesday at ABC’s upfront presentation, which is also when executives will tout to advertisers the other singing competition coming to the network: “American Idol.”

“Boy Band” will air this summer with 10 episodes, as first reported by Variety. The show will pit singers against one another in a battle to join the next music-group sensation. Performers will compete for spots in a band with a recording contract at Hollywood Records, with viewers voting live at home for their five favorite potential members.

The judges will be called “architects” and will serve as mentors. Carter and Bunton, who are authentic voices for “Boy Band,” having been part of some two of the most successful musical acts of all time. 

As for Ora, the British singer and actress most recently displayed her hosting chops on VH1’s revival of “America’s Next Top Model,” though she is stepping down for the next season, with creator Tyra Banks returning to the show. Ora is well-versed in the reality competition space, having served as a coach on BBC’s “The Voice” and ITV’s “The X-Factor.” Ora also brings musical authenticity to the show with a number one album and four number one singles in the U.K. She was also nominated for best original song at the Oscars in 2015.

With “Boy Band” and “American Idol,” ABC is making a big jump into the singing competition genre. The network has not found a key singing series, despite efforts with shows such as “Duets,” “Sing Your Face Off” and “Rising Star.” Meanwhile, NBC — which was also in the bidding war for “Idol” — has found long-running success with “The Voice.”

As for boy bands, a hit group has not emerged from a reality TV show since One Direction was formed on the U.K. version of “The X Factor.”

“Boy Band” hails from Matador Content, which is behind “Lip Sync Battle.” Executive producers are Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson, Jane Mun, and Joel Relampagos.

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