Alesha Dixon’s BGT golden buzzer scandal after giving prize to her friend


For many Britain’s Got Talent fans the introduction of the Golden Buzzer added a new element to the long running show. But Alesha Dixon’s choice of her for her golden buzzer choice caused controversy.

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Alesha Dixon’s Golden buzzer revealed on BGT

Britain’s Got Talent’s introduction of the Golden Buzzer added a new air of excitement to the program when it was launched – but it has not been without its drama.

Dedicated BGT fans don’t always agree that an act is deserving of the flutter of golden confetti that descends when the big red button is pressed. And viewers were furious with one of Alesha’s choices of her.

Pressing the golden buzzer for Lifford Shillingford in 2018, fans at the time said the move just wasn’t fair after it was revealed the soul singer was a ‘pal’.

However, Alesha told The Mirror that they aren’t ‘friends’ per se, having not spoken for years.

Lifford, a 42-year-old from South London, rose to fame in the late 90s with Artful Dodger – lending his vocals to top hit Please Don’t Turn Me On which reached number four in the UK charts.

He’d appeared on Top Of The Pops and Jools Holland and was on the same gigging circuit as Alesha’s former band Mis-Teeq.

Lifford Shillingford got Alesha’s golden buzzer


Supplied by WENN)

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After receiving a standing ovation from both the audience and judges for his rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, Alesha quickly pushed her golden buzzer giving Lifford the ‘golden ticket to the live shows’.

But some viewers were angry calling it ‘a fix’. One Twitter user wrote: “Mates with one of the judges. FIX!!!!!!” Another added: “That guy was GREAT! Got to say though, it was obvious that Alesha was going to give him the Golden Buzzer though!”

A third said: “We know each other, have a golden buzzer for singing just alright”…. “

But Alesha was keen to clear things up. She said: “He’s not a friend, that sounds cold, but I do not have his phone number for him. I have not seen him in years,” she said at the time.

“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.’

Alesha went on stage to congratulate him



The show’s Golden Buzzer means you are automatically through to the show’s live semi finals and you can skip the stages in between – in Monopoly terms it’s an ‘advance to go’ card.

All four judges – Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams – have one chance to press the buzzer and catapult a deserving act through to the live shows.

Program hosts Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly also have one choice, which they share between them.

Britain’s Got Talent first appeared our screens seventeen years ago, and apart from a pandemic break in production, it has been entertaining viewers ever since. But with the format pretty much unchanged since its conception, the introduction of the Golden Buzzer brought an element of surprise as well as some debate.

Prior to receiving his Golden Buzzer, Lifford explained about his past. He said: “It was great. We got to do things like Jools Holland, Top Of The Pops. We just felt like superstars. Good times.

“It was midway through that I started to get ill with anxiety and depression. Your career, wellbeing family, falling from beneath you. It was one of the most painful things you could imagine.”

Simon Cowell noticed the connection between Lifford and Alesha and asked if they knew each other after he walked out on stage.

“I know him yeah,” confirmed Alesha with a smile on her face.

Lifford added: “We were on the circuit together. They were headlining. They came on after us. I think they liked them a bit more than us.”

Following the performance, Lifford’s wife ran on from the wings to give him a huge hug before Alesha went up to give one herself.

Alesha said: “I feel like it takes courage and bravery in this industry when it knocks you down and you come back.

“For you to be on that stage just singing, raw heart and soul, you deserve this.”

Simon agreed with his fellow judge and admitted it “takes guts” to make a comeback.

Golden Buzzer acts for 2022

Alesha Dixon sparked fury over golden buzzer choice



Loren Allred was the first Golden Buzzer act of the 2022 show. Loren was the voice behind The Greatest Showman track in the hit film. Her fast track ticket to the live shows came from Amanda Holden.

Comedian Alex Blake bagged the second ticket to the live finals. He was Simon Cowell’s choice.

Born To Perform was David Walliams’ choice. The dance group for people with disabilities from Northampton performed Hairspray hit ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’.

  • Britain’s Got Talent airs Saturdays on ITV at 8pm. Catch up on ITV hub. Who do you think deserves a Golden Buzzer. Let us know in the comments below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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