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Ex-concert promoter faces prison in $200 million fraud

A former South Florida concert promoter who staged tours for major acts such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Aerosmith is facing prison for what prosecutors say was a $200 million fraud scheme.

A Miami federal judge is scheduled Thursday to sentence 73-year-old Jack Utsick, who pleaded guilty in June to a mail fraud charge. He could get up to 20 years behind bars, although his lawyers are seeking about six years.

Prosecutors say Utsick operated his Worldwide Entertainment Inc. promotion company as a Ponzi scheme, repaying older investors with money from newer ones. The scheme allegedly defrauded about 3,000 investors out of more than $200 million.

Utsick was extradited from Brazil in 2014 and has been jailed since. His lawyers claim investor losses were far lower.

Tara Thompson's Pedal Tavern Tour Gets Wild [Watch]

Tara Thompson invited fans and Taste of Country on a Pedal Tavern tour of downtown Nashville, and then she suggested a game of Truth or Dare. It got a little wild, as you'll see in this video recap of a #MaytagMonday event filmed earlier this month.

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Former Blake Shelton Opener Austin Allsup Joins His 'The Voice' Team

Blake Shelton is going to have a bit of a reunion this season on The Voice with one of his new teammates, Austin Allsup.

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Maren Morris Joins Dierks Bentley Onstage for 'I'll Be the Moon' [Watch]

Dierks Bentley fans who attended his first of two concert dates at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on Monday night (Sept. 26) got a special treat. The star brought out Maren Morris for a moving duet of "I'll Be the Moon." Continue reading…

Miley Cyrus Out-Talks Blake Shelton for Khaliya Kimberlie on 'The Voice'

Khaliya Kimberlie's The Voice cover of "Dibs" by Kelsea Ballerini almost took a backseat to the argument that ensued over which coach would get to keep her. Blake Shelton and Miley Cyrus battled for the country singer with alt-rock influences. Continue reading…

Aaron Lewis' 'Sinner' Lands in Top 5 of Billboard All-Genre Chart

Aaron Lewis has good reason to celebrate. His latest album, Sinner, debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, which is the publication's all-genre chart.

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For Idina Menzel, new CD is 'a new beginning' after tumult

It's only five letters — just her first name, unadorned. All in lowercase, with a period at the end.

"Frozen" and Broadway star Idina Menzel has a new introspective album out this month after a tumultuous few years and its simple title — "idina." — is as stripped-down as it gets.

"I guess I want people to feel like they really get to know me on a first-name basis," she says. "The period says some kind of confidence but the lowercase is like not completely arrogant."

In the eight years since her last original studio CD, Menzel has shot to global fame singing "Let It Go," had her name mangled by John Travolta at the Oscars, given birth to a son, poured her heart into a new Broadway show and seen her marriage to Taye Diggs collapse. She's come out the other end with a mature pop album and a new engagement to actor Aaron Lohr.

"It's a new beginning — personally, in my life," she says. "The music was written and is about things that I was experiencing in the last couple of years, sort of putting an end to one era of my life and figuring out how to start again."

The new album is strong and incredibly personal, with storm clouds seemingly everywhere. "Heaven knows, I went through hell," she sings on "Show Me." On "I See You," she says: "Here's to the hopeless/The almost forgotten/To those who got lost along the way/I see you." The woman who once sang "Defying Gravity" is now singing "goodbye gravity" on one song.

Menzel leaned on two producers — Eric Rosse and Greg Wells — and she had a hand in writing virtually every song, from "I Do," with its clear dig at Diggs ("Remember you told me/You're my one and only"), to the upbeat, hear-me-roar "Queen of Swords " ("Don't go asking me for apologies").

The 45-year-old singer and actress says her personal turmoil came at the same time as career success, spinning her head. She'd go into the studio angry at the world and yet emerge with hopeful songs.

"I was going through a divorce and, simultaneously, my career was taking off in a bigger way than ever, with 'Frozen' and all of that. And so here I am singing at the Oscars and then dealing with mediation and visitation agreements," she says. "The dichotomy of that, the contradictions and the guilt and regret that I was feeling all at this wonderful time professionally, was very dynamic for me."

Dan McCarroll, president of Warner Bros. Records, signed Menzel three years ago while she was starring in the Broadway musical "If/Then." The two met over dinner and talked about what kind of album she wanted to make.

"She was very clear that night about what she wanted to do. For me, the album represents exactly what we talked about," he says. "She was true to who she is and said what she needed to say." He added: "There's some really deep stuff on this record."

Menzel also recently finished shooting a Lifetime remake of the 1988 film weepie "Beaches," taking on the role originated by Bette Midler. That's quite a change for an actress who likes original roles.

"People think I'm so cool because I'm in all these original musicals but it's also because I don't want to be compared to Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler. I'm too scared. So it was a hard decision for me to do it. But then I learned there's a whole generation of women that have never seen 'Beaches' or heard of it," she says.

The remake has her singing some classic Midler songs like "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "The Glory of Love" but Menzel is used to belting out big tunes. Her Oscar-winning "Let It Go" remains a monster hit.

"People ask if I get sick of it. I really don't. Often when I'm singing onstage 'Let It Go,' there's these beautiful young faces in front of me that maybe have never seen a concert before," she says.

"It changed my life. It's afforded me new opportunities in my professional life and also it came at a time in my life when I was going through some crappy stuff so it's like this beacon, out in the distance, that saved me a little bit."

There's only one critic of the tune — and he lives with her. Her son, Walker, 7, is like any kid: He gets easily embarrassed by mom and he often asks her to remain silent.

"If he hears 'Let It Go' or anything 'Frozen,' it means someone's around trying to take mommy from him," she says. "But he likes to use it to flirt with the girls. I overheard him, when I was volunteering in his class, try to offer one of the cute girls an autograph. Did she know that his mom was Elsa from 'Frozen'?"




Mark Kennedy is at

Jean Shepard's Funeral Arrangements to Include Public Visitation

Jean Shepard passed away on Sunday (Sept. 25) at the age of 82. She will be honored this week with a funeral and visitation, which will be open for fans to attend and mourn.

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Jason Michael Carroll's Father Dies

Jason Michael Carroll's father Jim has passed away.

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Jason Michael Carroll's Father Dies After Stomach Aneurysm

Singer Jason Michael Carroll's father, Jim, died Tuesday night (Sept. 27) after suffering an aneurysm in his stomach on Friday (Sept. 23).

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