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May, 31

Britain's Got Talent's Collabro: from hurricane horror to band breakup

Collabro are one of the most successful winners of Britain's Got Talent despite forming only a month before their first audition. The popular group are still touring and had major success with two best selling albums.

They wowed the audience with a spectacular rendition of a Les Misérables hit and won the eighth series of the ITV talent show back in 2014. Yet it wasn't all smooth sailing for the group despite all their success and they've endured some pretty dramatic moments since.

It seems there was plenty happening behind the scenes of the group and after a series of arguments, one of the original band member Richard Hadfield, from Sussex, quit the group in 2016. The rest of the group, Jamie Lambert, Michael Auger, Matt Pagan and Thomas Redgrave still perform together.

Richard said that after the BGT win, his "mental health was at stake" and in an interview with the Evening Standard , he said that there was a tense atmosphere within the group and so he felt he "had to leave" despite a record deal with Simon Cowell.

Responding to The Mirror back in 2017, Hadfield said: "I can assure you I am far happier in the direction I am going and that I am no longer subject to the politics and manipulation that took place during my time in Collabro. I did not leave to pursue a solo career."

The group's success began in 2014 after auditioning on the show with a number from Les Misérables. Their first album was called Stars, in honour of the song they auditioned with.

Stars was a major hit and went straight to Number One on the album chart. But they were no one-hit wonder as their second album Act Two, released in 2015, entered the charts at Number Two.

After the departure of Richard, the group released their third album Home in March 2017, released on their own record label. It would prove to be a turbulent year as member Michael Auger was caught up in Hurricane Irma in 2017 on the Caribbean island of St Martin where he was holidaying.

The musician and a friend put a mattress against the door and hid under a bedsheet for more than eight hours as the Category 5 storm wiped out buildings on Saint Martin with 180mph winds. Recalling how he emerged in the aftermath, Michael said: "I had to push debris to even get the door open. There was half a palm tree on the balcony, there were cars overturned, there were cars on fire."

The pair were then stranded for days without electricity or running water before finally being able to return safely home. The following year, there was more drama for the reality TV winners as Jamie Lambert suffered a broken nose after being mugged in broad daylight.

But they managed to get over their unlucky streak with the release of their fourth album Road to the Albert Hall in 2018. This was followed by an epic 51-date tour in 2019.

Collabro returned to Britain's Got Talent in 2019 - five years after winning the show - and blew the audience and judges away with a slowed-down version of Who Wants To Live Forever by rock icon Queen.

In February this year, the band were revealed as a headline act at Gaiety Festival - the first musical theatre festival in the region.

Photo: Great Northern PR
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