Backstreeters bound for breakup?

Group postpones Boston gigs, McLean heads to rehab

There wasn’t a dry eye in junior high Monday as the prefab pop quintet the Backstreet Boys unleashed a one-two punch of bad news on their doting teen fan base. But the Boys’ biggest bombshell may be yet to come.

Early Monday it was revealed that the group would be postponing tour dates in Boston because de facto frontman Nick Carter had broken his hand on Saturday in an as-yet unspecified incident.

Later that afternoon, in a tearful confession on MTV’s wildly popular show “Total Request Live,” the group revealed that A.J. McLean was headed to rehab for a month to receive treatment for alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety.

The 23-year-old McLean’s surprise departure is expected to keep the Boys off the road until their Aug. 7 show in Vancouver, B.C. The tour was scheduled to wrap up in August, but the group is now expected to make up its missed dates in September.

The latest bad news from the Backstreet camp could lend credence to increasingly loud talk inside the music biz that the group is mulling a breakup after the end of their current tour, with Nick Carter potentially joining his 13-year-old pop star sibling Aaron on his own tour in the fall.

However, some of the more conspiratorially minded observers suggested that rumblings of a breakup could be aimed at getting more fans into arenas to see their favorite pop quintet — while they still can.

The Firm, Backstreet’s management company, wasn’t available for comment.

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