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“Let the battle begin!” says New Edition, as they face off against New Kids on the Block this Sunday on the AMAs

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Top: New Edition; Johnny Nunez/WireImage; Bottom: New Kids on the Block; John Lamparski/Getty Images

On the American Music Awards this Sunday night on ABC, New Kids on the Block and New Edition — hailing, respectively, from the Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston — will pay tribute to their hometown while facing off against each other hit for hit. New Edition‘s Ronnie DeVoe and Michael Bivins say this is something both acts have wanted to do for years.

“It’s going to be amazing — the AMAs are giving us a nice amount of time to be able to showcase our talents,” Ronnie tells ABC Audio. “And we’re able to do that in conjunction with our partners from Dorchester.”

He adds, “[F]or, at least, probably…15 years, we’ve been trying to put the mash-up together, and now is the time!”

In fact, Ronnie and Michael say that if you’ve been waiting for New Edition to take on another group in an episode of the hugely popular web series Verzuz, well, this is pretty much it.

“This is the Verzuz right here!” exclaims Ronnie. “This is like, you know, Apollo Creed and Rocky getting ready to go down on the AMAs!”

Either way, New Edition is giving the people what they want: Their performance will include not just the group’s five original members — Ronnie, Mike, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown and Ralph Tresvant — but also Johnny Gill, who joined the group in 1987.

“Oh, yeah, we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Ronnie says. “That’s the New Edition that people have been waiting to see since 2017, when [our biopic] came out, and there was this big expectation for the rollout at that time.”

“We’re in a really good space as a crew,” he adds. “So let the battle begin!”

The 2021 American Music Awards, hosted by Cardi B, airs Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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