Alesha Dixon has spoken out after being accused of pressing the golden buzzer on Britain's Got Talent for one of her friends.
The Drummer Boy singer pressed the golden buzzer for Lifford Shillingford on the show in 2018, causing gold confetti to rain down on the soul singer and see him catapulted straight into the live semi-final shows.
However, despite the initial joy of the moment, BGT viewers were quick to take to Twitter after a connection was established between Shillingford and Dixon.
While she admitted at the time she knew Shillingford, Dixon has denied the pair are friends.
She said: "He’s not a friend, that sounds cold, but I don’t have his phone number. I haven’t seen him in years.
"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," the Mirror reports.
When he appeared on the show, before he even begun to perform, Simon Cowell pointed out the pair knew one another – a connection Dixon didn't try to deny.
Shillingford confirmed: "We were on the circuit together. They were headlining. They came on after us. I think they liked them a bit more than us."
After performing Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come', Shillingford received a standing ovation from judges and audience alike.
His wife ran onstage to hug him and Dixon even took to the stage in support of the singer.
However, as soon as viewers realised Shillingford and Dixon knew one another, many viewers branded the golden buzzer 'a fix'.
One said: "'We know each other, have a golden buzzer for singing just alright'."
"That guy was GREAT! Got to say though, it was obvious that Alesha was going to give him the Golden Buzzer though!" another wrote.
Prior to going on Britain's Got Talent, Shillingford already had a career in music.
He appeared with Jools Holland and sang on Top of The Pops after his vocals were featured on the popular garage track, 'Please Don't Turn Me On' alongside the Artful Dodger.
The song reached number four in the UK charts.
However, battles with his mental health meant Shillingford's career as a musician came to a standstill.
Shillingford explained: "It was midway through that I started to get ill with anxiety and depression. Your career, your wellbeing, even your family, just everything falling from beneath you. And the thing that you've dreamt of from being eight years old. It was one of the most painful things you could imagine."
Upon giving him the golden buzzer, Dixon said: "I feel like it takes courage and bravery in this industry when it knocks you down and you come back."
Whether a friend of Dixon's or not, Cowell agreed Shillingford had 'guts'.
Dixon concluded: "For you to be on that stage just singing, raw heart and soul, you deserve this."
If you're experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They're open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you're not comfortable talking on the phoneFeatured Image Credit: Popcorn/YouTube