herald

Saturday 20 July 2019

Singer dropped for Louis Walsh girlband to make a TV comback

A TALENTED singer, who was once dropped from a hit girlband by Louis Walsh, is to make her TV comeback this weekend.

Cork woman Paula O'Neill (33) will appear on this Sunday's Voice of Ireland, more than a decade after being dumped unceremoniously out of the band Bellefire.

Paula was never given an explanation as to why she was kicked out of the group, co-managed by Louis Walsh, and said that she would love to finally hear an answer.

Bellefire, which starred Paula alongside Ciara and Cathy Newell, Tara Lee and Kelly Kilfeather, were established in 1999 and went on to support boyband stars Boyzone for 10 nights in Dublin's Point Depot.

"I was with the band over a year and one day John Reynolds, our co-manager came up to me out of the blue and said that himself and Louis thought that I should go solo.

"I remember thinking 'where is Louis?' He told me that I was originally in the band, the least he could do was explain it to my face.

"I did torture myself about it for a while afterwards so it would be nice to finally get an explanation."

The mum-of-two also downplayed Louis' previous suggestion that she looked older than the other girls, to the point that someone once asked if she was their mother.

"I was 19 and the girls were 17 so I don't think that was a proper reason," she said.

"When I joined the band I had long brown hair and then I remember one time they brought stylists over from the UK, who sat me down and told me they wanted to do something different.

FEELINGS

"They cut off all of my hair and dyed it red, I looked like Carol Vorderman.

"They kept the other four girls with their long brown hair, so that's they only reason why I can think I may have looked older."

However, Paula, who now lives in Mayo with husband Conal and daughters Daisy (4) and Heidi (eight months), said she does not have any hard feelings against Louis.

hnews@herald.ie

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