Since Dec. 16, 2022, a Twitter account called @theboys_areback has kept fans guessing with cryptic clues and a tantalizing, “Guess who?”
Turns out, the band behind the account was Emblem3 all along, and their surprise comeback includes a new album, Songs from the Couch, Vol. 2, due February 8.
The band, which originated on the U.S. version of The X Factor in 2012, went on hiatus in 2016 before reuniting in 2021 for a trio of singles.
The first clue on the account featured an airport, which led many fans to the Backstreet Boys, while other clues throughout the month included a diner that had fans guessing the Jonas Brothers or One Direction, a forest reminiscent of NSYNC’s “This I Promise You” music video, and the background from BTS’ “ON.”
The clues were released daily and were backed by a website with a countdown and a “We’re back and better than ever” slogan.
Some fans were big dreamers and hoped for a One Direction reunion despite the members’ ongoing solo careers, but many were just confused.
“That The Boys Are Back account is either a boy band festival/musical theatre show or 1D are getting back together for a song/show or it’s a complete joke,” one fan theorized Jan. 1.
The mysterious account even had a billboard offline.
WARNING: Tweets contain graphic language.
Finally, on Jan. 2, 2023, the account revealed the answers to the clues on Instagram before teasing on Twitter, “We’ve always admired these boybands growing up and the things they’ve accomplished in their careers. They’ve inspired us in our own music and created bold and brilliant communities of fans.”
“Each clue is an homage to the legacies they’ve created. We’ve loved seeing you all guess and build your own community through this together. We hope you’ll stick around to see what’s next,” they continued.
“You know what emblem3….. you got me so for that i’ll save your song,” one fan tweeted after the reveal.
“HOLY F— EMBLEM3 ARE BACK IM SCREAMING,” another fan said.
Someone else added, “I bet they had fun doing this as well, this was smart..great marketing by them.”