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Courtesy photos
Loren Allred, from left, Valter Nassi, Colbie Caillat, Aidan Turner and Maquel Cooper.

SALT LAKE CITY — We do our best to know what our readers want, and generally, we have a pretty good sense. Life has a way of surprising you, though.

Over the course of 2018, a bunch of our arts and entertainment stories found big audiences. Sometimes we could see it coming. But in these particular instances, we really had no idea. These five features surpassed our expectations and then some.

Discover Utah’s Loren Allred, the voice behind the hit song ‘Never Enough’ from 'The Greatest Showman' soundtrack

Provided by Loren Allred
Utah singer Loren Allred is the singing voice on the hit song "Never Enough" from the film "The Greatest Showman."

“Never Enough” has become a live-action “Let It Go” — an inescapable Disney-produced earworm sung by children, teens and moms everywhere, always. That version you’ve heard a million times was sung by Loren Allred, a former Murray resident. Our readers were really, really into it. In a January profile, Allred told us, “I was bawling because you work and work and things don’t happen. So for this to become bigger than I had expected … it’s been a dream.”

This was our most-read story of the year — by about a mile.

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Utah ‘Bachelor’ contestant shares details on her faith, backstage drama and why she never appeared on national tell-all episode

Paul Hebert, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Maquel Cooper in an episode of ABC's "The Bachelor."

We thought this story would do well. That said, we didn’t think it would do this well.

“I really want(ed) to represent my family, my state, my religion, myself,” recent “The Bachelor” contestant Maquel Cooper, an American Fork resident, told us. “I didn’t want to do anything disappointing. So I don’t feel like I was true to myself. I was really quiet whenever the cameras were on me. Or on interviews, I wouldn't state my actual answers. I wish I had been more myself and more goofy with stupid faces that I make and say my opinions on how I felt about things.”

This quickly became one of our most-read stories of 2018. Utahns love “The Bachelor,” and they love fellow Utahns.

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Some big podcasts are discussing this Salt Lake City restaurant. The restaurant would rather not

Lee Benson, The Deseret News
Valter Nassi, owner of Valter's Osteria in Salt Lake City, during a 2014 interview with Deseret News columnist Lee Benson.

A little background on this story: I planned it for four months, while trying to secure an interview with its main subject, Valter Nassi, owner of the downtown eatery Valter’s Osteria, the entire time. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr loves Valter’s, and takes his team there whenever they’re in town. After a few months of my cajoling, a rep from the restaurant told me, “Valter is a very private man and would like to stay that way as long as he is able.”

Luckily, Kerr himself was happy to talk about it, albeit briefly.

“It’s amazing food,” Kerr told us during a pre-game shootaround at Vivint Arena in January. “I told the coaches last night that there is not a better restaurant in the country than Valter’s. We let him bring whatever he wants. We just say, ‘Bring us food.’”

Our readers feasted on this one. I didn’t expect it — content-wise, the story was a consolation prize compared to what I'd initially planned. *Shrugs*

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‘Poldark’ fans, take heart! The PBS drama is about to return, and we’re here to get you ready

Eleanor Tomlinson, left, and Aidan Turner star in the PBS series "Poldark."

Niche period soap operas on niche TV networks are … pageview gold? Apparently. Our fearless editor, Cristy Meiners, described “Poldark” as “jampacked with passionate horseback riding and moody cliff walking.” And, uh, yeah, that resonated with readers far more than expected. These preseason predictions included one of the characters choking on a pork chop, which ended up being almost true.

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‘I was never the girly-girl’: At BYU visit, Colbie Caillat talks body image and BYU research

Jaren Wilkey, BYU
Colbie Caillat answers questions from students during a visit to Brigham Young University on Oct. 12, 2018, in Provo, Utah.

Well, we did not see this coming. Posted online at an otherwise bad time (a Friday at 6 p.m.) one of our most-read stories of the year came out of left field and beat the odds.

“For me, it took a long time to realize that I don't need to alter myself,” Caillat told the audience at BYU’s Harris Fine Arts Center that day. Our readers seem to agree — we knew they loved Caillat, BYU and discussions about body image, but this kind of combined power? Consider us surprised.

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