Bruno Tonioli Confirms Return to DWTS, Leaving Strictly Come Dancing

Bruno Tonioli
(ABC/Christopher Willard) BRUNO TONIOLI

Sources reported that Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli would not return to the original UK version of the show Strictly Come Dancing. Before the pandemic, Bruno would fly to London to sit on the Strictly panel on Saturday, but be back in the States for Monday’s Dancing with the Stars.

But now,  Bruno confirmed the rumors on the BBC The One Show that in the fall, he’ll sit alongside judge Derek Hough on the Dancing with the Stars panel as it moves from ABC to the streaming service, Disney+. Fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman have not been confirmed for season 31 yet. 

The problem is that travel between Los Angeles and London once a week to do both shows became too difficult.

“Getting through the airport is not like it used to be,” Bruno explained to the presenters. “It created a situation that was unsustainable,” adding, “But I miss it so much.” 

“Because of the travel situation,” Bruno said, “I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be there. Anything can happen.” He stressed he made the decision to leave Strictly. He also declared that Anton Du Beke who took his place on the panel is doing a fantastic job. He pulled out a ten paddle to make a humorous point. “Anton you have done a fantastic job, you deserve it.”

When asked if he would ever return, Bruno said: “Never say never, never count me out.”

When the UK and the US shut their borders in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bruno chose to stick with Dancing with the Stars, for the past two seasons.  Notably, Len used to do both shows as well, until he scaled back his schedule a few years ago. During the pandemic, however, Len stayed in the UK and did not participate in the 2020 season.

The panel for Strictly Come Dancing’s 20th season will feature Anton Du Beke, as well as veterans Shirley Ballas (DWTS pro Mark Ballas’ mother), Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.

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