Says Penick, "It makes a direct connection to the fans. When fans meet members of 'N Sync or the Backstreet Boys, they're star-struck--they've only seen them in videos and magazines. With us, they'll see that we're like them."
Adds Chan, "They get to know us before they know the music."
Back in the limo, the performers show for the E! camera that it's not all manipulation--they perform the song a cappella, hitting the parts quite well, especially considering the cramped conditions. Warren, meanwhile, seems to be breathing a sigh of relief. She admits she was nervous about giving a song that she believes can be a hit to an unknown, unproven group that, frankly, didn't even exist when Pearlman called her about contributing.
Now, O-Town and Pearlman are already addressing whether Warren might offer them more.
"We've talked about that," Pearlman says. "But she wanted to hear this one first. . . . "
"To make sure they don't suck," Warren interjects, leaning to the singers to assure, "and you don't suck, guys."
However, it's still no slam-dunk.
"There are so many boy bands coming out now," says Teen People's Helligar. "We've had lots visit us here, and none of them have broken big."
And even a TV series won't help if the genre fades and the audience moves on to something else, as is inevitable with these things.
ABC's Wong has mapped out some potential extensions on the 22-episode run currently planned, but they're all contingent, of course, on popular demand.
"We'll see how it does and, if it's successful, we think we'll continue," she says.
Pearlman is sanguine about it.
"If the group is successful, if the fans want more of these guys, the group will go on," he says. "If not, then we showed how it was done and go on our way."