Carter has a much easier time recognizing superstars in his immediate family. Well, one, anyway: Big brother Nick Carter, 20, is one of the Backstreet Boys and the inspiration for Aaron to strike out on his own. Following his 1998 self-titled debut album, which was a hit in Europe, Aaron is back with Aaron's Party (Come Get It), a sophomore CD of typically catchy songs about teen angst, girls and mindless fun. "The music I did before was really childish," says Carter. "Now it's more fun party kind of stuff."
The success of the hit single "Aaron's Party" has led to opening-act gigs for Britney Spears
's current European tour. Of course, that doesn't mean the young singer thinks the main act is all that. "I'm not into Britney's music, but she's a really nice person," says Aaron, who shares a Marina Del Rey, Calif., condo with his mom and manager, Jane, 41, and sister Leslie, 14 (the rest of the family, including father Bob, 48, a former truck driver, live in their other home in the Florida Keys). Christina Aguilera
, on the other hand, "is amazing," he says. "She definitely makes herself look good onstage."
Carter has been perfecting his own moves since age 7, when he began singing in the now-defunct boy band Dead End. "He's very energetic and crazy," says Nick. "That's my little brother." Perhaps, but Aaron remains his own boy. "I am Nick's baby brother," he says. "But I want to be known as my own name."
Three things most 12-year-old pop stars can't do: buy a drink, drive a car and recognize legendary divas of the '60s when they're staring them in the face. Take new kid on the bubblegum block Aaron Carter. "I was skating in Scandinavia, and my mom said, 'That's Diana Ross!' " recalls Carter. "I said, 'Who's that?' She told me she's one of the Supremes, but I didn't know them [either]."