Firstly when he left, he never said that it was a "forever" thing and the boys straight away said the door's always open and AJ in particular has been quite vocal about wanting Kevin to come back.
In my eyes Kevin left because of Jive and management. Kevin had been quite critical of Jive's decisions from about 2002 onwards.
- Making them tour when Brian had his open heart surgery.
- Howie having to fly back for a show straight after his sister had died.
- I suspect he would have also been upset about AJ having to tour after he got out of rehab the first time.
- The constant competition between Nsync and Backstreet Boys. Having Jive sign a copy cat group to cash in on the boyband hype put a lot of pressure on the boys as they constantly had to fight to keep themselves unique and different as Jive/managment gave Nsync the same access to writers, stylists etc. Any opportunities that Backstreet said no to, Nsync were given.
- The record company releasing Chapter One: Greatest Hits against the group's wishes
- Nick releasing his solo record when the boys were planning for a group one. yes this does tie in with Jive as again they pushed the Backstreet vs Nsync thing by pitting Nick's first solo record "Now or Never" up against Justin Timberlake's first solo record "Justified"
- I think the breaking point was the recording of "Never Gone". Jive again seemed to push for the Rock/Pop sound while Kevin wanted to go with the R&B stuff they were recording. I remember Nick and Kevin both saying they had to fight really hard just to get Siberia on the album. Also AJ mentioned during the "This Is Us" promo that it was the direction that Kevin wanted to be going in when he was in the group.
So now with Jive out of the picture and the fact the guys are finally at a point in their career where they do have complete control I think Kevin would really enjoy the group again. I know a lot of fans see that as Kevin just jumping on, now that the guys have done all the work getting free of Jive BUT at the time of Kevin's departure the rest of the group did not seem to be prepared to stand up and fight for control of their careers.
Now to the rumours... there are always comments about Kevin coming back but this year in particular I have noticed a few more statements along the lines of "Kevin is 100% coming back". there was one earlier in the year on a South American Facebook fan page and most recently, just after Oprah, one at JJB Messageboard "I told you guys Kevin would be with them through the BSB/NKOTB tour 2011. Wait to you guys hear what else is going on" I know this is the internet and anyone can make up stuff but back in 2008 when Kevin joined the guys on stage for Shape Of My Heart
there just weren't the same rumours floating around even though it was the perfect opportunity to make things up like that.
So fast forward to now and the talk of Kevin being on the NK / BSB joint tour (which hasn't even been confirmed). We all know Kevin has bad mouthed New Kids On The Block over the years for being a bunch of pretty faces with only 2 that can really sing so of course Kevin wouldn't want to tour with them, right? Well thinking about it, Kevin said that comment in response to the flack BSB were getting about just being "another boyband" AND he often said similar comments about the European boybands. It was more a defensive statement rather than attacking another group. Then there is also this video from 1993 and I have to say it would seem Kevin is a fan.
Also the bad mouthing wasn't all one sided. Danny Wood has said ""Backstreet's records sound the same as before - their music didn't evolve like ours has. They never spoke too highly of us and said if we had talent we'd still be around. They should've probably kept their mouths shut!" among others. Yet they still all got on stage and sang "I Want It That Way" at a new Kids concert so if Danny Wood can do that I can't see Kevin Richardson not being able to.
There have been a few possible other clues too, such as
- That 78% figure that Brian answered when being asked about the chances of a BSB / NK tour got me thinking. Was it just a random number? Or was there something more? Well if you take into account that with Kevin obviously being one fifth of the Backstreet Boys, that could be your missing 20% right there. It seemed like a done deal that the concert would go ahead months ago, especially when E! started reporting it.but I'm that it may have been the decision to include Kevin that was holding them back and he needed some time to decide / be convinced. The remaining 2% I would put down to the actual signing of the contract.
- In a fairly recent interview Nick and AJ said that the Backstreet Boys have "big plans" for the future that would "turn people's heads" and capture the attention of the public and media. Ok, so they left Jive but that didn't really get the media's or public attention. Of course there was Backstreet Boys joining New Kids on stage, which did get the media and public attention but it was fairly disappointing to the fans to think that could be the big surprise. I believe Kevin coming back fits in with the big surprise and news along with possible collaborations and going to a new label or being independent
- A reputable source within fanbase circles has hinted at a Kevin return.
- The Oprah show. One thought that straight away sprang into my mind was "why Backstreet?" It's Oprah's last season so every show is massive and there were whispers about there being an announcement on the show. from fan reports nothing seemed to happen about an announcement but I am thinking the boys could have easily taped something privately to be shown during the show.
- Brian taking down his tweet "Wow reliving memories. Special occasions with all 5. Its been a long time. Big CHIRP!" It seems a little strange a comment like this would need to be taken down especially since Kevin being at the Oprah show was all over the net by then. What was even stranger was the fact that after Brian took the comment down leighanne posted "Lovin spending time with the BSB just like ole times" and it made me think back to when Leighanne "leaked" the information about the boys leaving Jive and the guys being blackballed by radio stations because of Jive's intervention. Stuff that Brian wanted to say but couldn't because of managemt etc.
Now individually everything can be easily discounted but once everything is added up....well do the math (pun intended).