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Strictly Come Dancing judges: Will Bruno Tonioli return to the panel this year?

He's being replaced by Anton du Beke this season

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Strictly Come Dancing bosses were forced to replace one of their original judges on the show this year  with Bruno Tonioli stuck Stateside.

Bruno is on the panel of Dancing With the Stars in America.

And, with the pandemic in full swing when planning this year’s show, Bruno stepped back due to the uncertainty of international travel restrictions.

As we all know, Anton de Beke stepped in to take his place alongside the rest of the Strictly Come Dancing judges.

But will Bruno be back this year – even if it’s in video link form?

Read on for all we know.

strictly come dancing judges
Bruno Tonioli stepped down from his role on the show for this series (Credit: Splash News)

Strictly Come Dancing judges: How long has Bruno been on the show?

Italian dancer and choreographer Bruno joined the show in series one, which aired in May 2004.

He stayed on the judging panel for 17 series, with Bruno appearing only via video link in series 18 due to the COVID travel restrictions.

Read more: Will there be a second series of Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips?

He wasn’t replaced on the panel until it emerged that he wouldn’t be back in the flesh for this series.

Pro dancer Anton is currently keeping his seat warm alongside judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabusi.

strictly come dancing judges
Anton has taken Bruno’s place among the Strictly Come Dancing judges this year (Credit: BBC)

What did Bruno say about stepping down from Strictly?

He said: “Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year there is one person and one person only that could take my place – it’s just a shame they weren’t available!

“Darlings I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton IS Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him.

“I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle.”

Read more: Bruno Tonioli claims he hasn’t heard from fellow judges since leaving Strictly

However, it doesn’t appear as if Bruno has given up his seat on the Strictly Come Dancing panel for good.

One look on his Twitter bio suggests he’s still very much a part of the Strictly family.

It reads: “Judge on BBC Strictly Come Dancing and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.”

When the Strictly shake up was announced, a friend claimed that Bruno had picked Dancing With the Stars over Strictly.

Speaking to The Sun, they said: “Bruno can’t commit to both shows right now and is staying put in LA — it’s a better lifestyle there, with great weather, which is good for his health.

“He earns close to £1 million a series in America, so he has to prioritise that.”

They also hinted that we would see the popular judge on Strictly this year though.

strictly come dancing judges
This year’s live show has a Bruno-shaped hole (Credit: BBC)

Will Bruno Tonioli return to Strictly this year?

His friend seems to think so, yes.

They added: “Of course, he’s still very much part of the Strictly family and is keen to appear on a video link several times through the series.”

Not only that, the paper also reports that Bruno will make a “spectacular return” to the show in the Christmas special.

ED! has contacted the BBC and Bruno’s agent for details of his involvement in the show this year.

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One tonight (October 9) at 6.45pm. The results show airs tomorrow at 7.10pm.

Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and tell us if you’re missing Bruno this year.