The “Gold” singer was relaxing at her home in Buckinghamshire, England on lockdown this week when she discovered that she was the subject of a week’s fur thousands of miles away.
The excitement centered around a national radio station, which asked listeners to identify 14 celebrities with just their voices to win a prize.
Muhammad Shalehan called on Gold 905 on April 21 to offer his answer, and got each – but the station felt he had not revealed Hadley’s name and decided not to honor the 10,000 Singapore railway worker dollar ($ 7,030) reward.
Weeks later, another caller provided the same list of answers and was crowned a winner – prompting a noise in Singapore that had been falling for weeks.
“Our decision remains final,”; the station announced on Wednesday, disparaging the hopes of Shalehan and the army of supporters he mourned.
That is, until Shalehan tracked down Hadley himself, and the star entered.
“At first I thought, is this an adventure? Is anyone worried about the air?”, Hadley told CNN, speaking about his reaction after receiving a message from his manager at Shalehan’s request.
“I looked at it and realized that this chap had, I thought, won fair and squarely,” he added. “I didn’t understand what the problem was, I thought he was definitely saying my name correctly. It wasn’t the hardest name to love.”
So Hadley posted a video telling Shalehan that he deserved to win. This forced an apology from the station, which awarded the Shalehan a reward in full – wrapping up an amazingly unique stage.
‘He is robbed’
The station was initially adamant in their decision that Shalehan said “Hadley” had a very strong fall to win the prize.
The “Celebrity Name Drop” game continued for more than two weeks after Shalehan’s admission, with him and the public under suspicion that he had the wrong answer. But in the end, another caller delivered the same set of answers – and was crowned a winner.
Immediately the station was filled with social media messages from confused fans, asking the same question: What about Shalehan?
“What happened? A very, very sad climax to a contest that should have ended on a high note,” wrote one user. “He was robbed of the title,” another exclamation.
The station posted an audio comparison to Facebook to clear up the confusion, playing Shalehan’s answer and the winner’s.
But Shalehan spent days on lobbying Gold 905 to change the verdict, admirably as he said the singer’s name correctly.
“Have some integrity!” he pleaded on the station’s page, getting scores of supporters to bomb the station’s social media channels for days with requests for them to reverse course.
In an attempt to smooth the controversy, which ran for two weeks, the station said they were “heartbroken by the passion shown by Mr. Shalehan” and privately offered him a “good will” gesture.
“Although we have discussed with Mr. Shalehan that our decision is final according to the rules of the contest, we are touched by his commitment and resources – including reaching out to Tony Hadley,” the station added in a statement.
But the controversy did not end. “When they offered me the ‘consolation prize,’ I felt a little insulted,” Shalehan told CNN. He felt he deserved the full reward. He knew this to be true, as Hadley sang – and at last he decided to make his fight with the man with the power to know.
“He obviously felt very sad, and deserved it,” Hadley told CNN. “She was a very nice chap, and she and her husband were expecting baby number four minutes,” added the singer, who spoke with Shalehan shortly before the station awarded him the prize.
“I listened to him pronounce my name though, well there’s nothing wrong with everything.”
Along with this, Shalehan’s persistence is finally rewarded.
“We reached out to Mr Shalehan to relay that we are deeply sorry. Since Tony Hadley said Mr. Shalehan was correct, who could we disagree with?” the station said Friday. “The full reward of $ 10,000 cash and shopping spree was also awarded to Mr. Shalehan.”
“I’m just happy,” Shalehan told CNN. “The best news of my life,” he added in a Facebook post.
Shalehan thanked those who supported him. “For all we know / the audience I am the lucky winner,” he added in the post. “(And) a big thank you to Mr. Tony Hadley for his hard work.”
Now the story has gone viral – and no one is more shocked than Hadley himself. “I didn’t know it was going to go global,” the singer said. “I suppose everyone at this time is looking for a good outcome.”