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O say can you scream?

Huddle up, girls: Local heartthrob Nick Carter and the Backstreet Boys will sing the national anthem before Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

By BABITA PERSAUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2000


TAMPA -- Besides tomatoes, he's Ruskin's most famous export. Now, Nick Carter and the rest of the Backstreet Boys will be performing the national anthem when Super Bowl XXXV comes to Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 28, the NFL said Thursday.

But the starting lineup won't be all homegrown.

Blues great Ray Charles will warm up the audience for the Boys, singing America the Beautiful. Air Force B-2 bombers and Thunderbirds will circle the stadium. And the field will be covered with red, white and blue flags.

Carter, originally from upstate New York, moved to Ruskin as a teenager. He now lives in Apollo Beach. He went to Young Middle School and once sang God Bless the USA at the Tampa Convention Center.

That was before he signed several years ago with Jive Records and teamed with Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson.

The Backstreet Boys have a new album out, Black & Blue, and have sold more than 55-million records.

WFTS-Ch. 28 anchor Linda Hurtado took a little credit for the Backstreet Boys' Super Bowl appearance Thursday, noting that an assignment editor at the station forwarded to Super Bowl planners a tape of Carter expressing interest in performing at the game.

The tape was culled from an interview Hurtado conducted with Carter.

"We just thought it would be a neat thing to do," Hurtado said. "Never in our wildest dreams did we think anything would actually happen."

The Backstreet Boys probably hope they'll get a better reception than they had at the 49th NHL All-Star Game in January 1999. The anthem-singing Boys were booed at the Ice Palace.

It was a tough crowd, though. They booed everybody introduced that day.

- Television critic Eric Deggans contributed to this report.

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