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While Britney Spears‘ once-hot career might have nosedived into an arctic freeze following her now-infamous, ugh-inducing performance at the Video Music Awards, her name is more newsworthy than ever. Just ask Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, who OK! has learned has been telling friends that he and the pop princess have something special going on.

"Nick’s claming that he and Brit have been ‘dating’ for about three weeks," a source close to the 27-year-old boy-bander tells OK!. "He says they’ve been chatting, texting, instant messaging and talking all the time; they’re both heavy into each other." The source also reveals that Nick has even told some of his bandmates, "I really like her."

But some insiders warn that Nick, who famously dated Paris Hilton several years ago and who is rumored to be no friend of Brit’s ex, Justin Timberlake, might be taking advantage of Brit’s headline-making status. "Not saying it’s not true," one insider explains to OK!, "but it strikes me as a bit of a coincidence that Nick is name-dropping Brit now when Backstreet’s got an album coming out soon."

In fact, publicity-lover Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to share a few seconds of the Boys’ upcoming single, "Inconsolable," last night outside of L.A. club Koi.

So what do you think? Is this for real or not?

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