Last week, Mary Poppins Returns star Emily Blunt joined the Backstreet Boys on stage during The Ellen DeGeneres Show to perform the band’s ’90s hit, “I Want It That Way,” conquering Blunt’s fear of public singing. She opened up about the experience to Entertainment Tonight on Thursday evening, calling it “one of the best days of her life.”
As it turns out, Blunt was a huge fan of the boy band when she was growing up, so getting the chance to sing with them was a “life goal.”
“They were so charming and so lovely and I grew up, of course, listening to them obsessively. It was a major moment actually,” she said at the Mary Poppins Returns premiere in Hollywood.
The opportunity for Blunt to sing with the band came up during the 35-year-old’s appearance to promote the film, which is in theaters starting December 19, on DeGeneres’ talk show. The two were discussing Blunt’s singing role as Mary Poppins in the new movie, a role that Julie Andrews played in the original 1964 musical fantasy film, according to Billboard.
“I hear you have a fear of singing in front of people,” DeGeneres said to Blunt.
Blunt admitted that public singing is still a bit “nerve-wracking” for her, as it isn’t something that comes naturally to the actress.
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DeGeneres asked Blunt to take to the stage and sing a song that everyone knows for the audience. When Blunt said that she felt too “exposed” being up there alone, the show host asked if adding the Backstreet Boys to the mix would help.
“Now I can do it,” Blunt replied happily when the band inevitably appeared on stage behind her.
Blunt and the Backstreet Boys sang a few lines from the 1999 hit “I Want It That Way” a capella style. While Blunt mostly backed up the band’s vocals, she did sing the final line beautifully on her own. She wasn’t too happy that the band left her alone, but the guys insisted that it was “her part” of the song.
Despite her fear of singing publicly, Blunt does sing quite a bit on the big screen in Mary Poppins Returns, according to People. A trailer released last week showed the actress and her co-star Lin-Manual Miranda (who plays a streetlamp lighter named Jack) singing and dancing.
While the film will have similar traits to the classic hit, Blunt has made it clear that she wants to portray Poppins in her own way. She revealed earlier this year that she didn’t watch the original flick for this reason.
“My perception of her in the books is that she is batty, eccentric, hilarious and incredibly rude and vain…this is my version of her. I had to do my version of her,” Blunt said.
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