Up until the pandemic brought travel restrictions to international travel, Bruno Tonioli has been judging both “Dancing With the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing” since their respective premieres in the United States and the United Kingdom. But now a new report says he may be out at “Strictly Come Dancing” for good. Here is what we know so far.
The ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Execs Are Happy With Bruno’s Replacement
According to a new report from The Sun, the producers at “Strictly Come Dancing” have been very happy with Bruno’s replacement judge, Anton Du Beke and intend to keep him on this year even though travel restrictions have lifted and Bruno could judge “Strictly Come Dancing” if the show asked him to return.
In fact, The Sun reports that Bruno was expected to be asked back to “Strictly Come Dancing” after he was cast on the live tour instead of Anton. The tour kicked off on January 20 and just ended its run on February 13, with Bruno acting as a judge alongside judges Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas.
But the Sun said that BBC sources have now told them that the executives feel they shouldn’t mess with a formula that is working.
The source told The Sun:
We have been told Anton’s contract as a judge is going to be renewed. The bosses were really happy with his performance.
It also hasn’t escaped their notice his salary is considerably lower than Bruno’s. Bruno has been an integral part of “Strictly” for more than a decade, and there is a huge amount of affection for him from those on the show.
This decision will ruffle some feathers, not least with Craig, who has been a very, very vocal advocate for welcoming Bruno back. But the bosses’ attitude is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Bruno has not directly addressed The Sun’s report, though he did post a photo from the “Strictly Come Dancing” tour to Instagram captioned, “Thank you very much for all your messages, your response has been amazing, I have enjoyed every minute of this tour, it has been a pleas[ure] working with the most wonderful, talented, professional company.”
Bruno Has Missed Two Seasons Of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Due to the Pandemic
Bruno was a staple of “Strictly Come Dancing” from season one until season 17, then he appeared as a guest judge via video call during season 18 and missed season 19 entirely.
Professional dancer and “Strictly” judge Gary Edwards told Express in December 2021 that he thought the show needs Bruno and that the new panel feels “a little bit forced.”
“I know Bruno inside out on ‘Strictly’ and I still think for ‘Strictly,’ Bruno is the ideal judge,” said Edwards, adding, “I hope Bruno does come back, they need to keep a diverse panel. It’s whether Bruno will replace Anton. Anton gave some excellent critiques on ballroom and he is a ballroom expert. He disagreed with the judges and he was right. The good thing is they have a great pool of judges to choose from. For me, it needs Bruno. The original setup had the banter. This year it’s a little bit forced.”
Bruno had previously said that if “Strictly Come Dancing” wanted him to come back, he would come — but he doesn’t want to be the second choice.
“It’s totally up to them. If there’s no Covid and they want me, I’ll be back. But they may say, ‘Anton was great, we don’t need you,'” Bruno told The Sun in July 2021. “I’ll do something else. It’s like James Bond actors, I’ve done my stint. You cannot be desperate, if you start down that path you’ll go insane. I won’t be second best. I worked my butt off for a very long time and I wouldn’t do anything if I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not one for compromise.”
“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.