‘Dancing With the Stars’ Judge Confirms Season 31 Return

DWTS Judges

ABC "Dancing With the Stars" judges

“Dancing With the Stars” season 31 has another cast member definitely coming back from previous seasons. Bruno Tonioli, long-time judge of the ballroom dance competition, confirmed his return to the show.

Tonioli officially left “Strictly Come Dancing” in May 2022 after months of rumors that he was going to be leaving the show. The show airs at the same time as “Dancing With the Stars,” and Tonioli would often fly back and forth between the two shows in order to judge both of them.

Tonioli Quit ‘Strictly Come Dancing’

Now, Tonioli has confirmed that the travel between the two countries once a week is too difficult and complicated and that he’ll be staying in LA to film “Dancing With the Stars” rather than “Strictly Come Dancing.” He said that he was leaving the show during an interview with BBC’s “The One Show.”

“Getting through the airport is not like it used to be,” he shared. “It created a situation that was unsustainable, but I miss it so much. Because of the travel situation, I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be there. Anything can happen.”

He said that it was his own decision to leave “Strictly Come Dancing” and that he was not forced out. He praised his replacement, Anton Du Beke, who has been on the show for multiple seasons as a judge after 16 years as a professional dancer.

“Anton, you have done a fantastic job, you deserve it,” he shared.

Tonioli will be focused on “Dancing With the Stars” rather than “Strictly Come Dancing” for the upcoming season.

Tonioli Called DWTS’s Move to Disney Plus a ‘Big Deal’

Tonioli called the move from ABC to Disney Plus, which was announced in early April, a “big deal” for the show in the clip from the BBC interview.

“‘Dancing With the Stars’ has moved to Disney Plus, which is a big deal,” he shared. “It is going to be streaming live which is a big deal. It is very, very exciting. And again because of the travel situation, I cannot really guarantee that I’m going to be there, because anything can happen. Two years ago, I changed my tickets every week and they need continuity. I absolutely support them and it’s my decision.”

He also said that he might rejoin ‘Strictly’ at a later date.

“I may do the tour,” he said in the clip. “I am not gone forever. Don’t count me out. I will always be part of the family. We created this show.”

The judges for the new season of “Strictly Come Dancing,” which will air in the fall, are Anton Du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, and Motsi Mabuse.

Before Tonioli’s exit was announced, Ballas said she thought the show might be able to accommodate both Du Beke and Tonioli, she shared with The Mirror.

“I hope Anton stays, but we could have five seats,” she told the outlet.

She added, “I just did the tour with Bruno and he was on point and on form. There is nobody like Bruno. He is a force to be reckoned with.”

“Dancing With the Stars” will return in the fall of 2022 in a new home. The show will now air live exclusively on Disney+ instead of on ABC.

READ NEXT: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Fans Talk ‘New Judges’ For Season 31

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