Backstage Pass

Music, concerts, musicians and more.

'American Idol' recap: Caleb Johnson amazes on Top 4 week

A look at "American Idol's" final four contestants:

(Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

It may have been “Love Week” on “American Idol,” but the judges were oddly critical, especially considering they are only two weeks from the finale.

Now, there are always big-picture shenanigans involved when it comes to “Idol” producers. (Their failed attempts to save Sam Woolf from going home last week by creating a “twist,” where a unanimous vote from the Top 5 to have no elimination that...

Read more »

'The Voice' recap: Josh Kaufman leads Top 8

Josh Kaufman performs "I Can't Make You Love

(Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden)

Sometimes, it’s easy to take “The Voice” for granted, especially when it’s bringing the idea of “How can I miss you when you won’t go away?” to life.

But Top 8 night was so packed with great performances that it became obvious why the show is pounding that other singing competition. Somehow, they will send three singers home tonight, any of whom could probably out-sing this season’s “American...

Read more »

Intro 5.5.14: Videos from M.I.A., Cher, Haim and more

M.I.A. is touring to promote 2013's "Matangi" album.

(Credit: AP)

M.I.A. will bring the noise to the Knockdown Center in Queens on Thursday and Friday.

Intro brings you the week’s hottest videos and shows every Monday. To catch up on all the Intros and watch classic Long Island music scene videos, check out Newsday Music’s YouTube channel at


M.I.A., “Bad Girls.”At Knockdown Center Thursday...

Read more »

Little Toby Walker, an LI native, set for NY Blues Hall of Fame

Long Island native Toby Walker performed before a

(Credit: Michael Cusanelli)

Little Toby Walker’s love affair with the blues started with the Rolling Stones.   

When he read about some of his favorite Stones songs, he learned they were written by Chester Burnett and McKinley Morganfield, better known as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. And he headed to the record store near his Brentwood home and bought their records. He was hooked.

“That’s when...

Read more »

Mariah Carey sets release date for new album, 'Me. I am Mariah'

Mariah Carey's new album will be released May

(Credit: Mariah Carey via

Mariah Carey has apparently mastered “the art of letting go.”

She’s let go of the album title. She’s let go of the much-delayed album’s release date of May 6. She’s let go of the song “The Art of Letting Go,” as well as the singles “Almost Home” and “Triumphant,” because they didn’t make the cut for the new album. And she even let go of the idea of a Beyonce-styled surprise release.


Read more »

'American Idol' 13 recap: Alex Preston charms on Top 5 week

"American Idol" Top 5 (from left): Jena Irene,

(Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

The most interesting part of “Idol Request Week” is how well the country (the producers?) did picking songs for the Top 5.

It was, as Harry Connick Jr., said late in the show, as if the country really cared about the contestants. Leaning on lots of current and recent hits, as well as special guests Ariana Grande and Zooey Deschanel, the show felt the freshest it has seemed all season. Maybe...

Read more »

'The Voice' recap: Christina Grimmie pulls ahead

Christina Grimmie performs on Top 10 night of

(Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden)

“The Voice” Top 10 night was filled with bad ideas.

Let’s start with Blake Shelton tweeting out Adam Levine’s personal cell number. Was it a prank on Blake’s bromance, aka People’s Sexiest Man Alive, part of their ongoing bro-vorce? Or a prank on the viewers? Hard to tell, though Adam did seem upset. Either way, it wasn’t actually funny.

The real bad ideas, though, were many of the song...

Read more »

Intro 4.28.14: Videos from Ledisi, Broods, Miguel and more

Ledisi released her new album "The Truth" (Verve)

(Credit: Verve)

Ledisi celebrates her new album “The Truth” at Beacon Theatre Wednesday.

Intro brings you the week’s hottest videos and shows every Monday. To catch up on all the Intros and watch classic Long Island music scene videos, check out Newsday Music’s YouTube channel at


LEDISI, “I Blame You.” At Beacon Theatre Wednesday.


Read more »

'American Idol' recap: Caleb Johnson steady, strong in Top 6 Week

"American Idol" Top 6, from left: Caleb Johnson,

(Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

The hardest part of “American Idol” theme weeks is that the finalists basically have to learn and stage a song within a week. For “Rock and Roll and Country” week, the Top 6 had to learn two songs and the strain showed.

Aside from the ever-solid Caleb Johnson, none of the contenders could handle the pressure. Does that make Caleb the winner? Maybe, though the similarity of his two performances...

Read more »

Jones Beach concert lineup: Kings of Leon ready to rock

From left, Matthew Followill, Nathan Folllowill, Jared Followill

(Credit: Getty Stephen Lovekin)

At least, when Kings of Leon performs their his "Sex is on Fire," they will luckily be near the water during their performance at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Aug. 13. KoL is the latest band to join this season's hard-rocking schedule, which includes recent additions Kiss & Def Leppard (Aug. 12) and Aerosmith (July 10).

Tickets for Kings of Leon go on sale at 10 a.m. April 25 through...

Read more »

advertisement | advertise on newsday


Follow Newsday music writer Glenn Gamboa for the latest from pop's biggest voices.
Twitter | Blog

Follow Newsday Entertainment

advertisement | advertise on newsday