The 21st season of Dancing With The Stars has been unpredictable, to say the least.

Between Gary Busey’s antics, Paula Deen’s oversharing and Kim Zolciak-Biermann’s sudden stroke (which took her out of the competition), it seems like anything could happen during this season. But here’s one prediction that seems well within the realm of possibility: Jimmy Kimmel’s bet that Nick Carter will win this season’s Mirrorball trophy.

Carter, 35, and his partner, Sharna Burgess, have been frontrunners in the competition since day one, and he displays the kind of showmanship and precision on the dance floor one would expect from one of the most successful boybanders of our time.

We caught up with the Backstreet Boy to talk about his biggest insecurity, his new single and much more. One thing is clear: Backstreet’s back, alright.

On the first night of competition you said you were insecure about your dancing – what made you decide to do DWTS in spite of this?

Well, from what I had heard from Joey Fatone and a lot of other friends who have done the show is that it actually is really physically challenging. It also mentally challenges you, and I like the challenge. I’ve been on hiatus a little bit in between tours with Backstreet Boys and I thought this would be a great way to stay in shape. I like to push myself to do things that make me uncomfortable because then I can grow, I can evolve. The show pushes you to that next level. It’s live – you get one shot to do it, to be good or to not be good. You’re judged and in that judging process you’re learning stuff about yourself because you’re allowing other people to critique you. I like that; I enjoy that. There were so many positives about it. And then other thing is that, for several years I’ve been known to the world not necessarily for what I am capable of doing as a solo artist, as a singer and as a dancer. I’m in a great place in my life where I am comfortable in my own skin. I’ve gone through my hardships and I realize I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity to go out there and show the good side of Nick Carter versus the bad – versus the alcohol, the drugs, the women, the old life. Now that the bad stuff isn’t overshadowing the good, I’m able to show right now.

You emerged as a frontrunner on DWTS from the very first episode of this season. Was that a surprise to you? Were you expecting such great feedback from the judges and such high scores?

Honestly, it’s just that I’ve never held myself to a high standard of what I can do as an individual because I’ve been in the group for so long. When you’re with the guys for so long in a group, you’re a part of the team so your weaknesses could be someone else’s strengths. This is all about me being out there by myself and kind of just really letting myself be vulnerable. I’m just happy about that part.

What’s your biggest insecurity while performing?

Probably the way I look. You know, how I’m perceived. I don’t know how I look or if I’m executing the moves properly. My biggest insecurity is ‘What do I actually look like as a dancer? Can I represent my group properly? Can I represent myself properly?’ This insecurity inside of me that I haven’t been the greatest dancer really stems from insecurities I developed as a little kid.

What has working with Sharna Burgess been like?

Sharna’s fantastic. She is an amazing person and she’s a great teacher. She doesn’t let up on me at all, which sometimes can get me frustrated because we all don’t like to be pushed because it’s painful. It can sometimes be brutal, but she does that. She doesn’t care what I’ve done in the past. We both have the same mentality that in order to be the best, you have to push. She’s a great teacher, a great partner and I can’t say enough about her. She’s amazing.

Who do you think your biggest competition is at this point?

I don’t really think of any one person as competition because I really think there are so many people who are good. I don’t say to myself ‘this is who I’m competing against’, because then it becomes less about what we’re doing and more about other people. I can only control what I can do. I can’t control the outcome. There are so many obstacles and all I can concentrate on is trying to be the best that I can be. We are our biggest competition.

You have a new single, "I Will Wait.” Has competing on DWTS inspired you to get back into music?

In a lot of ways [DWTS] has given me confidence. I had a not-so-successful solo project that came out a long time ago and then one other one that I did overseas that did okay, but I’ve never had any success as a solo artist. I’ll be the first to admit it and that’s okay. I feel like I’m maturing musically, professionally and as a dancer on the show. Even though I’m 35, I’m now maturing as a performer, an entertainer. So yes, the show has inspired me and that’s why I decided to release the single. It’s a great representation of where I am in my life. Everything has worked together to get me to this place where I can try [making music as a solo artist] again. I’m so happy with the single because I took a couple steps back and I asked myself: "What do my fans want? What do Backstreet Boys fans want? What do people love about the boy bands?" We as entertainers and artists sometimes over think and overanalyze and we try to do something that has a meaning. But then I realized, it’s about love songs. That was one of our specialties and we haven’t done that as Backstreet Boys in a long time, so I decided to go with an old-fashioned love song as my first single. Everybody wants to be in a relationship that lasts forever and they want to go grow old with one another. They want that happy ending. I just wanted the single to be simple, beautiful and elegant. Just a beautiful old-fashioned love song.

Do you think you’ll perform one of the Backstreet Boys songs on DWTS?

Absolutely. I am very proud of being a Backstreet Boy.

How has performing with the Backstreet Boys prepared you for the physical demands of DWTS?

We work really hard and have for so many years. I’ve definitely felt some crunch time situations, some pressure where I had to just basically get up there without a lot of time to rehearse. The show must go on no matter what happens and I have had that experience. I’ve been able to apply that to the competition.

What can you tell us about your upcoming movie, Dead 7?

I am so excited. It’s a screenplay that I had written seven years ago. First of all, I love horror movies, and I love zombie movies and I love Western films. I combined the world of Western with zombies and post-apocalyptic stuff. We collected this entire cast of boybanders and people from the '90s. We filmed it in Montana and we look to premiere it on Syfy sometime around April next year. It’s so much fun. It’s a bunch of people you loved from the '90s just trying to save the world. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

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