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Backstreet Boys, ‘I Want It That Way’ vs. Whitney Houston, ‘I Will Always Love You’ – Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era [Round 2]

Backstreet Boys Whitney Houston
Dave Tonge / Steve Granitz, Getty Images

UPDATE: Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’ won in Round 2! Vote for ‘I Want It That Way’ in Round 3 of the competition here.

Welcome to March Music Madness! Here at PopCrush, we’ve selected 32 of the most iconic pop songs released from the ’80s to today (divided into brackets by decade) — and now it’s your job to vote and decide which song will be named the Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era. May the best song win!

It was a close contest for all, but in Round 1 of March Music Madness, the Backstreet Boys‘ ‘I Want It That Way’ pulled a last minute win against  New Kids on the Block‘s ‘Step by Step.’ Fans voted wildly up until the final seconds of the battle, resulting in BSB’s hit single getting 59.09% of the votes. Meanwhile, Whitney Houston‘s ‘I Will Always Love You’ held a steady lead over Celine Dion‘s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ throughout Round 1 of the competition. In a duel between two pop greats, Whitney came through with the win. Now we’re faced with an unexpected but interesting match to vote on in our quest to find the Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era: ‘I Want It That Way’ vs. ‘I Will Always Love You’!

‘I Want It That Way,’ released in 1999, is one of the Backstreet Boys’ most unforgettable songs. It climbed its way up to No. 6 on the U.S. charts, peaked at No. 1 in more than two dozen countries and was up for three Grammy Awards — and it played its way into the hearts of pop fans everywhere. Group members A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell gave us a song that will always be welcome on our playlists and radios, and it’s one that’s impossible to not single along to. ‘I Want It That Way’ is feel-good pop at its best.

On the other hand, Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ is a straight up pop standard. Though the song was first heard crooned by country queen Dolly Parton, it was Whitney that truly brought it to life. ‘I Will Always Love You’ was recorded and released in 1992 for ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack, and the powerful love ballad landed at the top of the charts for 14 weeks, holds the record of being one the best-selling singles of all time and brought home two Grammys. Pop fans will always miss the late Whitney, but luckily, we can always cherish her talent for years to come thanks to this incredible, timeless song.

To recap: We’ve got one of the best boy bands ever up against one of the best pop divas ever. ‘I Want It That Way’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ are two very different tracks, and they both hold a special place in the hearts of pop fans for distinct reasons. Which song should move on to Round 3 in our Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era competition? Cast your votes here, and remember, you are able to vote up to once per hour until Round 2’s polls close at 12PM ET on March 18. The winning song will move on to Round 3!

Next: 'Baby One More Time' vs. 'MMMBop' - Vote!

Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era 80s Bracket


Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era 90s Bracket


Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era 2000s Bracket


Greatest Pop Song of the Modern Era 2010s Bracket

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Next: 'Baby One More Time' vs. 'MMMBop' - Vote!

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