On Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent, viewers saw singer Lifford Shillingford become Alesha Dixon’s golden buzzer act, sending him straight through to the live shows.
But not long after, some viewers were calling the decision ‘a fix’, after it was claimed the 42-year-old knew the judge from his time as a professional singer in the Nineties.
Lifford addressed the claims on today’s Lorraine, where he denied the pair have ever been more than passing acquaintances.
“What’s all this about you two being best buddies?” host Lorraine Kelly asked him.
“I saw a couple of tweets about this,” he replied. “It’s interesting, it’s weird. We had a 30-second conversation in 2001 in Ayia Napa.
“I was coming off stage, I was sweaty and I had steak and onions for dinner, so I wasn’t trying to get too close to her.
“She was like, ‘Lifford I love your song’ and I was like, ‘I love you, have a good gig, I hope it goes well’. And that was it. We know each other’s music, there’s a mutual respect. That’s it.”
He added: “Also, it’s kind of weird to say that she would kind of press her buzzer because I’m a mate, it kind of discredits her. From what I see of her online she is very much like she says it how it is. If she likes you, she likes you, if she doesn’t, she doesn’t.
“It would be a compliment to me for me to feel like she would just give me her golden buzzer because I mean that much to her, but actually that’s not true. But I’m glad she did.”
Lifford was once part of the group Artful Dodger, singing on their hit Please Don’t Turn Me On.
Around the same time, Alesha was in the charts with girl band Mis-Teeq.
She has also denied she knew Lifford well from that time.
“He’s not a friend, that sounds cold, but I don’t have his phone number. I haven’t seen him in years,” she told The Mirror.
“When I say I know him, I know his music. I remember him from back in the day, there were shows that Mis-teeq were doing that he was too. There was just a mutual respect and understanding between us.”
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On Saturday’s show, Alesha said she was moved by Lifford’s rendition of A Change Is Gonna Come, and by his courage to return to the music industry after suffering from anxiety and depression.
She told him: “It felt right, it takes courage and bravo when you have been in this industry and it knocks you down. For you to be on this stage, singing raw, you deserve this moment.”
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