Loren Allred: who is BGT star who sang Never Enough in Greatest Showman - Golden Buzzer controversy explained
Britain’s Got Talent viewers were surprised to see the professional singer auditioning for the show
and live on Freeview channel 276
After being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, Britain’s Got Talent returned to TV screens across the UK over the weekend, with the 15th series officially kicking off on Saturday (16 April) night.
Among the contestants trying to wow the judges was Loren Allred, an American singer who controversially bagged Amanda Holden’s Golden Buzzer.
This is what you need to know.
Who is Loren Allred?
Allred is an American singer, songwriter and actress who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1989 to musical parents - singer and voice teacher mother Carol Ann Allred and conductor father Brady R Allred.
Talking to Deseret in 2018, Allred said: “I had music around me at all times. I’d wake up in the morning to the sounds of my mum teaching voice lessons downstairs, and sometimes I tagged along to my dad’s work [at the University of Utah] to watch him conduct.
“I often watched them in concert together - my mum singing solos with my dad’s choir.”
She studied musical theatre at Weber State University in Utah for a year before successfully auditioning for the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
It was during this time in Boston that Allred began uploading songs to YouTube, where she was discovered by Ne-Yo, a Grammy Award-winning record producer, which ultimately led her to signing with the Island Def Jam record label.
The record label was approached by producers of the singing competition The Voice and Allred was selected as a candidate to compete on the third season of the show.
She chose Adam Levine, frontman for band Maroon 5, as her coach, however, after reaching the finals, was eliminated after the first week of the live shows.
“It was an amazing experience, but for an introverted person it was mentally exhausting, just high anxiety all the time,” Allred said of her experience on the show.
Was she in The Greatest Showman?
While Allred wasn’t in The Greatest Showman as an actress, she was cast as the singing voice of Rebecca Ferguson’s (Dune, Doctor Sleep) character, Jenny Lind, who sings the song Never Enough.
The soundtrack to the film, and Allred’s song, were both hugely successful, with the album going Platinum. Never Enough also reached number 88 on the Hot 100.
Speaking about the role, Allred said at the time: “No one could have played that role as well as Rebecca did. She nailed it, and she has been so gracious and vocal about praising my work.
“I’m really happy that the show decided to put the music first. It mattered to the director that the song was executed well instead of hoping it could ride on star power.”
After watching The Greatest Showman, singer Michael Bublé brought Allred on to sing on his album Love in a duet of Help Me Make it Through the Night, in early 2019.
She also joined Andrea Bocelli, the Italian opera singer, for a number of selected performances on his 2021 USA Tour.
According to Allred’s Spotify, which says that she has 2,310,063 monthly listeners, she has released a number of singles over the years, including Araw Gabi, Late Bloomer, Perfect and Miss Myself in 2021, and Your Girl and This Summer in 2020.
What happened on Britain’s Got Talent?
Season 15 of Britain’s Got Talent kicked off on Saturday (16 April) evening on ITV, and Allred appeared on the first episode of the new season.
She introduced herself to the judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams, as the singer behind Never Enough in The Greatest Showman and told them that, after enjoying life away from the limelight, is ready to let her passion for singing bring her back into the public eye.
Allred sang Never Enough during her audition which led to Amanda Holden giving her her Golden Buzzer moment.
Each judge, plus hosts Ant and Dec, have one Golden Buzzer to give to an auditionee of their choosing, which allows for that act to advance straight to the semi-finals.
Holden told Allred: “I am absolutely shaking. I can’t believe I’ve had this incredible opportunity to give you your moment to shine, because this is it.”
Cowell also added: “This is so well deserved because seeing somebody else sing that song in that movie and not have the recognition of doing one oft he most incredible vocals ever.
“Now for you to reveal yourself to the world - it was actually one of the most incredible audition moments I’ve ever experienced.”
What has the reaction been like?
Reaction to Allred’s appearance, and subsequent Golden Buzzer, has been somewhat less than enthusiastic from Britain’s Got Talent viewers due to her existing career as a professional singer.
“I thought this show was just for your average person????? No hate, she’s a really good singer, I just didn’t think this was what the show was for,” one person tweeted, with a screenshot of Allred’s Instagram account, which shows that she has over 100k followers on the platform.
One person tweeted: “No offence to Loren Allred, but why on earth is she on #BritainsGotTalent? She’s the voice of one of the biggest songs in the huge movie The Greatest Showman. She’s collaborated with Michael Bublé, and had a record deal with Def Jam at 19…”
Another wrote: “You’re seriously trying to tell me Simon Cowell (one of the biggest record executives in the business) had no idea that his “favourite song” Never Enough was actually sung by Loren Allred? BGT loses credibility with every passing second. So contrived!”
“Loren Allred auditioning on BGT is surely like Messi showing up for a Sunday pub mates footie match? #BGT,” tweeted another.
One user tweeted: “No doubting Loren Allred is a cracking singer but the way the judges are cooing over her for her “lack of recognition” is a pile of s***e. It literally tells you her name on Spotify when the song comes on. She’s already doing pretty well for herself.”
What has Britain’s Got Talent said?
Prior to the episode airing, a Britain’s Got Talent spokesperson said: “Whilst most people will have heard the infamous Greatest Showman track, Loren is not a household name, and she deserves her spot on the BGT stage.
“We hope that such articles will not count against somebody who is well deserving of this opportunity.”
They added: “It’s fantastic that Loren is now able to step out and stand in her own right to be the face, and not just the voice, of one of the most well known tracks of all time.”
Allred has also defended herself against critics, saying: “Even though I have spent a lot of years in the music industry, people don’t know who I am.
“Over all these years I’ve been fighting for my chance to be known and to make it.
“The opportunity to sing Never Enough evolved from being a session singer in the choir, and even though the song was a big success, people still think the actress sang it.
“I have never gotten the opportunity to tell my story. That’s never happened for me.”
She added: “I am an unsigned, independent artist still trying to make a name for myself.”