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DAWN TELLS OF HEARTBREAK AT PALS BEING AXED; `There was nothing I could do'.

EUROVISION hopeful Dawn Martin last night spoke of her heartbreak and embarrassment after RTE bosses axed her two backing singer pals from performing in the song contest next week.

Sisters Karen and Elaine Matthews were dramatically dropped by Montrose chiefs and replaced by former Eurovision winner Paul Harrington and session singer Karen Hammill.

Hairdresser Dawn, 21, said: "RTE wanted people who knew the ropes.

"I actually heard the night before the girls got word. They both got a letter the next day. Elaine rang me and she was really cut up. And Karen could not even bear to talk about it."

To make matters worse, Karen had worked in the same Dundalk hair salon as Dawn for several years, as well as singing with her in a local cabaret band before composer Gerry Morgan approached her with his Euro entry.

Stylist Dawn added: "She's a pal of mine and it caused me terrible embarrassment. Fingers were pointed at me and people were saying I had dumped the two girls. But nothing could be further from the truth. It had absolutely nothing to do with me.

"I can't say I'm happy with RTE's decision, but it was totally out of my hands. There was nothing I could do about it."

The blonde singer has now taken a leave of absence from her day job in the Vogue hair salon as Eurovision stardom beckons.

But she was crimping and cutting away right up to last weekend, when customers and staff gave her a send-off to remember.

"I'm finished up for the time being, but I won't knock the job on the head just yet. It all depends on what happens in Birmingham. I'd love to become a full-time singer and this is the opportunity of a lifetime for me."

Despite the fact she has been drawn unlucky 13th in the competition on Saturday week, Dawn is keeping her fingers crossed for a win with Is Always Over Now.

"I'm not in the least superstitious. I'm going for gold on the night and I believe I'm in with a great chance. It's a fantastic song. Sure, I'll be a bit nervous but I try to turn my nerves to my advantage."
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Author:Taylor, Richie
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 28, 1998
Words:368
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