Strictly Come Dancing judges shake-up confirmed as Bruno Tonioli returns

Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli is set to fly back to the UK in the New Year

Strictly Come Dancing judges shake-up confirmed as Bruno Tonioli returns
(Image credit: Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli has confirmed he will reprise his seat on the judging panel for the lives show next year. 

Bruno Tonioli has long been a favorite on the BBC dance competition, having appeared on its judging panel for an impressive 17 seasons. 

The Italian choreographer was sadly unable to give his expert feedback to the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 lineup, due to scheduling conflicts with his current role as a judge on Dancing with the Stars in the US. His place on the UK panel was permanently filled by Anton Du Beke, a British ballroom dancer who earned his stripes after years of mentoring the show's celebrity contestants. 

Anton Du Beke Strictly Come Dancing judge

Anton Du Beke replaced Bruno Tonioli as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing 2021

(Image credit: Getty)

It looks like Bruno's fans won't have to wait too long to see him again in action though. The passionate dancer will fly back to the UK in January 2022 for the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, which will see its stars and their professional partners perform a whopping 33 shows for arena audiences across the country. 

The glitzy tour will mark the first time Strictly has treated its viewers to live concerts in two years, after the 2021 tour was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bruno, who has been based in Los Angeles since the lockdowns began, will be joined by present judges Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood for the exciting production. With Covid's travel restrictions finally easing, it's expected he will finally be able to return to the UK in time for the New Year. 

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli during the opening night of the Strictly Come Dancing Arena Tour 2020 at Arena Birmingham on January 16, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli 

(Image credit: Getty)

"I am absolutely delighted to be back on the judging panel for the Strictly Arena Tour for the first time in two years!" he said during an appearance on the One Show last night. 

"I've missed my fellow judges, I've missed the glitz and glamour of the tour and I've missed the amazing audiences that come to see us all over the country—I hope you have missed me too?!"

"I cannot wait to be back alongside Shirley, Craig, the celebs, and the pros. The fans are really in for a treat—next year's arena tour is going to be simply fantastico!" 

It looks like he's not the only one buzzing about the reunion. Craig has expressed his joy over Bruno's return, promising great things for the highly anticipated live shows. 

“Next year is going to be bigger and better than ever before. With Bruno coming back, this tour will be just fab-u-lous," said Craig. 

Shirley also shared her excitement, revealing she's "really looking forward to rejoining Bruno and Craig on tour."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.