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New – and old – tricks from New Kids on the Block

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Was it the song itself that had the right stuff, or was it the guy who sang it?

Jordan Knight took the lead on vocals for some of New Kids on the Block’s biggest songs, like “The Right Stuff” and “Step By Step.”

We asked Knight, who was doing press in advance of the Boston boy band’s U.S. tour, if those tunes would have been hits if it had been another New Kid in Knight’s place. He answered that question and others about the tour, which stops here Tuesday, and about NKOTB’s new EP, “Thankful.”

Question: Did you have any input about choosing Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul to open the tour?

Answer: We throw names around and come to a consensus. We toured with Boyz II Men before, and it’s really a proven formula. The two groups go really well together. Paula Abdul’s name came up, because Donnie and her presented an award at the American Music Awards, and the crowd’s response was kind of like, “that’s cool.” It took them back in time to a period of music. She has so many hits, and she still looks good. She’s still a great dancer. She’s still going to do great on stage and really do the tour justice.

Q: That previous tour with Boyz II Men in 2013 had 98 Degrees instead of Paula Abdul. Why isn’t 98 Degrees back?

A: I know they did a tour last year. Our manager manages Nick Lachey, and it was probably honestly like a scheduling thing. If they were open and available and our schedules matched up, they probably would have been on the tour. The last tour went so well. It would be a no-brainer to do it again. I wouldn’t be opposed to it. If they still want to come along, that’s fine. I definitely have a lot of respect for them. They’re great guys. We got along really well.

Q: What’s does the new “Thankful” sound like?

A: It’s definitely something you could hear on the radio right now, but we’re not trying. It’s genuine. It feels organic. The first single, “One More Night,” has a grown-and-sexy vibe. It has falsetto backgrounds that we’re kind of known for.

Q: Was the goal to recreate your golden era of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, or are you trying to make a record that reflects current musical trends?

A: We’re definitely not trying to make it sound like music from the past. But there’s a fine line. Sometimes you hear artists try too hard to be contemporary, and it comes off fake. I think we rode that line really well. We’re still very creative people. We still know what the current sound is, but we don’t want to come off as people trying to be something else other than what we are.

Q: Were songs like “The Right Stuff” and “Step By Step” hits because you sang lead, or would they have been hits no matter what?

A: Those were hits songs. Somebody else could have sang them, I believe, and they would have been hits. I like to think that I lent something to them, but they just fit my voice. They just fit my voice best in the group, so that’s why I sang them.

IF YOU GO

What: New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16

Where: U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway, Downtown; 513-421-4111

Tickets: $20-$228

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/entertainment/music/2017/05/11/new-and-old-tricks-new-kids-block/101520242/

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