Singing priest Father Ray Kelly has ruled out performing any raunchy routines on Dancing With the Stars.
The Co Meath priest will appear on the dance competition in the new year after being granted permission from his bishop.
However, he has insisted that he can only perform tasteful routines that do not compromise or undermine his position as man of the Church.
Father Kelly, 66, became an internet star in 2014 when he completed a wedding ceremony by singing a personalised version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah to the happy couple.
A video of the performance was uploaded on to the internet and the video went viral making Father Kelly a star.
Father Kelly’s next venture will be on the primetime dance competition, but the producers are well aware of his need to maintain his dignity and humility.
Dancing With the Stars head judge Brian Redmond said: “The last thing that Fr Ray will want is a rap on the knuckles from his bishop, or a rap from a crozier.
“Nobody will want Fr Ray doing anything on Dancing With The Stars which makes him look lewd. Not the choreographers, not the producers, or the dancers.
“No one will be pushing Fr Ray into doing anything that makes him feel uncomfortable.”
Father Kelly’s concern is a legitimate one as the show pairs celebrities of varying ages and physiques with professional dancers in their 20s and 30s.
They are required to perform various routines from the world of dance, which can often require dancers to get up close and personal. Once the glamourous showbiz costumes have been added to the equation, it could be easy for an amateur dancer to appear out-of-place.
Sports broadcasting veteran Des Cahill faced similar concerns when he appeared on the show at age 64 and was paired with professional dancer Karen Byrne who was 40 years his junior.
Cahill said: “My biggest worry going into it all, a genuine worry, was that because my dance partner was Karen, people would think ‘big fat Dirty Dessie with a young one’.
“I really did feel that. I mean I was holding her, and I got better at the very, very end. I was lifting her. Jesus. And we would be so close physically.”
Thankfully Cahill avoided any unwanted criticism and gained plenty of admiration and love from viewers as he threw his all into each routine.
Dancing With the Stars judge Redmond expects there to no issues, with Father Kelly likely to be assigned ballroom classics such as the cha cha cha and the samba in the early stages.
He said: “Those kinds of dances are fun and cheeky. There’s lot of dances you can do that don’t have to be racy. Stuff you can have fun with.
“As the weeks go on there are different dances, rumbas and tangos which involve real physical passion. They could be very difficult for Father Ray.
“They will have to be very careful to make sure that no dancing goes on beyond what’s acceptable. But they’ve always managed to keep things clean in the past.
“We’ve had older gentlemen dancing with the younger girls before and it’s something we have been able to do well.”
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