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Justin Timberlake Finally Explained Why The Hell He Sang ‘May’ Like That On NSYNC’s ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’

NYSNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” from their 2000 No Strings Attached album experiences renewed relevance every May. Fans (and Justin Timberlake himself) have remained very attached to Timberlake’s pronunciation of “me” in the hook. As the guests for the Hot Ones Season 22 premiere on Thursday morning, September 21, the iconic (and recently reunited) boy band finally explained it.

Around the eight-minute mark, host Sean Evans begins to ask Lance Bass a true-or-false question when Bass jokingly interrupted, “Yes, I’m gay. […] Waited 23 years to be able to say that.” After a combustion of laughter and Bass’ reflection on nearly traveling to outer space, Evans’ next fact-or-fiction question was whether Timberlake delivered “me” as “may” because a producer instructed him to say it “meaner.”

Timberlake responded, “I don’t remember if the specifics were a ‘meaner me,’ but I sang, ‘It’s gonna be me,’ and he was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no.’ He was like, ‘It’s may.” JC Chasez jumped in, adding, “You also remember their Swedish accents? And they had done a demo of it, and they were like, ‘It’s like this!’”

Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, and Timberlake nodded along in agreement, and Timberlake continued, “You know what’s funny? Specifically to Max Martin, the parts of their English that were broken actually made them catchier songwriters because they would put words [in] a way that almost didn’t make sense. But when you sang them, they were more memorable, right? And yes, it was a specific note that I got, and I was just like, ‘This guy is crazy.’”

The credited writers on “It’s Gonna Be Me” are Martin, Andreas Carlsson, and Rami. Earlier this week, Timberlake joked about the “It’s Gonna Be Me” pronunciation in a TikTok.

On September 12, NSYNC appeared together at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards to present Best Pop to Taylor Swift, who couldn’t suppress her fangirling.

In the days afterward, “Better Place,” NSYNC’s first single in 20-plus years was teased as part of the upcoming film, Trolls Band Together. Timberlake also shared a behind-the-scenes video from the studio ahead of the song’s release on September 29.

Billboard‘s Dave Brooks reported on September 15 that there “are no such plans” for an NSYNC reunion tour.

Brooks relayed, “It turns out that NSYNC star Justin Timberlake has touring plans of his own for 2024. Billboard has confirmed that Timberlake has holds on dates at arenas in North America for a major run, with sources saying the trek will be accompanied by a new album from the singer. As they say in the business, Timberlake is going back into cycle, which means there won’t be any full-fledged NSYNC tour any time soon.”

In other words, just enjoy NSYNC on Hot Ones above.