'It really makes me feel sick' - Darren Kennedy says he's 'rooting for' Curtis Pritchard following nightclub attack
Style guru Darren Kennedy has spoken of his shock following the attack on Dancing with the Stars dance professional Curtis Pritchard.
The television host, who is taking part in the new series, said he is rooting for Curtis (22) following the attack in Cheshire over Christmas which resulted in the dancer undergoing knee surgery, forcing him to pull out of the series.
"Curtis is such a lovely guy. I was so shocked to hear what happened to him," Darren told Independent.ie
"We are all rooting for him.
"Any sort of violence turns my stomach, but when it is totally unprovoked or senseless like that, it really makes me feel sick."
Darren is the throes of rehearsals ahead of Sunday night's first show and, despite his style guru credentials, he is leaving it to the Dancing With The Stars experts when it comes to picking out his costumes for the hit series.
"I leave it to the guys and that is the way I have been doing it," he said.
"Now don't get me wrong, if they present me with two options, I have a very clear and definite opinion on which one I would want. The wardrobe department are actually incredible," he said.
"I have to say, they know their stuff.
"Also, dance wear isn't my area of expertise and I am happy just to go with it. I know that they want us to look the best for the show."
He is set to dance the tango for his first performance - understood to be with pro dancer Karen Byrne, who won the glitterball trophy last year - and admitted he is feeling nervous as the big day approaches.
"It's so not even out of my comfort zone, but beyond my comfort zone," he said.
Darren said his mam will be among the family members looking on from the audience, and he will also have lots of support from friends too.
"I am hoping I will be able to channel those nerves into positive adrenaline," he said.
"It is all getting very real, because truth be told, the couple of weeks before Christmas, even though there were moments when I thought 'Oh my God I can't do this', it's a bit of a comfort blanket period, really. Whereas now, once Sunday starts, we are in it.
"It's a train that has left the station," he said.
Meanwhile, Darren (34) said that his feet are holding up well so far despite the demands of rehearsals.
"I have broken in my dancing shoes. Physically, so far, I have found it OK. It is demanding. I try to keep fit anyway," he said.
But he added that it's the "arithmetic of dancing, of actually learning the steps", which is more challenging for him because he has no background in dance or music, so he is coming from a beginner's baseline.
"I am just focusing on my improvements each week as I go along, and they will be incremental," he added.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do it, and it's great fun.
"I say this with trepidation, but I just want to do it now. I'm like, let's get cracking."
Meanwhile, Darren has found another benefit to taking part in a physically demanding show in January.
"I can eat rings around myself," he said.
"Everyone else is on diets. I am like literally hoofing the food into me because you do so much activity."