Bruno Tonioli made a brief return to Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night’s live show.
The judge, 64, appeared from his home in Los Angeles towards the end of the programme to give his verdict on some of the performances.
He’s back! Bruno Tonioli made a brief return to Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night’s live show
Appearing via link, Bruno greeted the audience and told hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman he was impressed with the performances the celebrities put in.
He said: ‘Hello everyone, what a show! Strictly 2020 is back and I’m telling you back with a bang. I spotted a few very exciting things.
Bruno had high praise for Caroline Quentin who broke down in tears after her performance with Johannas Radibe, with judge Motsi Mabuse calling her a ‘dancing queen’.
Head judge Shirley Ballas called her ‘exquisite’ while Bruno said: ‘Sweet Caroline, really she took the express train to the nations heart.’
Cameo: The judge, 64, appeared from his home in Los Angeles towards the end of the show to give his verdict on some of the performances
Bruno was very impressed with the performances given by TV presenter JJ Chalmers who danced with Amy Dowden and EastEnders star Maisie Smith who was paired with Gorka Marquez.
He said: ‘JJ, what a surprise, so charming, and I’m telling you that Samba week one coming out with such a performance is incredible. Maisie, well done cant wait to see you all. Ciao!’
Following his appearance on the show, Bruno took to Twitter and wrote: ‘Great first show @bbcstrictly #StrictlyComeDancinggreat job @StrictlyPros for imaginative exciting dances PS I think a star is borne guess who’.
Several viewers took to social media to express their delight at Bruno’s appearance on Saturday’s show.
One fan said: ‘Hello Bruno, we miss your expressive antics,’ while another added: ‘Ohhh Bruno we miss you.’
Apart: Bruno was unable to be a full-time judge on this year’s series of Strictly as he chose to remain in the US amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Praise: Following his appearance on the show, Bruno took to Twitter and wrote: ‘Great first show @bbcstrictly #StrictlyComeDancinggreat job @StrictlyPros for imaginative exciting dances PS I think a star is borne guess who’
The Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for Bruno to travel back and forth between London and LA as he usually does to work on both shows.
Despite the universal excitement of seeing Strictly back on the television on last week’s show, some fans couldn’t help but mull over the absence of dancing aficionado Bruno.
One fan posted on Twitter: ‘No Bruno Tonioli on Strictly this year I’m making a complaint to Ofcom’.
Another viewer said: ‘So glad to have Strictly back on again! A bit of sparkle is what we all need right now! Loved the opening routine.
Reaction: Several viewers took to social media to express their delight at Bruno’s appearance on Saturday’s show
‘It is a bit strange though with no audience….and without Bruno Woman dancing.’
A third fan wrote: ‘#Strictly without Bruno is like a rainbow without the colours’.
It is thought that BBC bosses are still keen to get Bruno to the UK and hope that he could make a comeback for the Strictly final later this year.
A source told the Daily Star: ‘Everyone at Strictly was devastated when they found out Bruno was going to pull out of this year’s series.
Good work: Bruno was very impressed with the performance given by TV presenter JJ Chalmers who danced with Amy Dowden
‘Travel restrictions in place because of coronavirus meant he couldn’t fly back and forth to do both shows this year, so he picked Dancing With The Stars. But Strictly’s producers were still keen for him to make an appearance if it was possible.’
The source added: ‘Dancing With The Stars usually ends a few weeks before Strictly’s final. So the plan is for Bruno to jet back to the UK as soon as he’s finished with his commitments in the US.
‘There will be enough time for him to do two weeks in quarantine if needed. And then he will be free to make his big comeback on Strictly.’
Impressed: Bruno also thought EastEnders star Maisie Smith and professional partner Gorka Marquez stood out
MailOnline has contacted Bruno’s representatives for comment.
It comes after fellow Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood, who has appeared on the show alongside Bruno since 2004, said he was confident the choreographer will make a ‘triumphant return’ in 2021.
He said: ‘They might throw guest judges in for fun. Then when everything’s back to normal, Bruno can make his triumphant return!’
How is Strictly 2020 going ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Strictly Come Dancing has introduced an array of strict measures to ensure the new series can go ahead during the COVID-19 crisis.
Celebrity contestants and their professional partners are tested regularly, with cast and crew told to isolate should they contract the virus.
Bosses have already confirmed any celebrity that tests positive once the series begins will be dropped from the show, with reports saying there are celebrities on stand-by.
The professional dancers have already pre-recorded their group performances after isolating together in a hotel.
It’s also been claimed that celebrities and pros will be axed from the show if they are caught kissing during filming.
Strictly 2020 has also seen the series run shortened to just nine weeks, with 12 celebrities taking part instead of the usual 15.
The show’s annual trip to Blackpool has been cancelled, along with this year’s Halloween and Christmas specials.
Only three judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse – will be in the studio with separate rostrums, after Bruno Tonioli was unable to appear due to travel concerns.
Veteran judge Bruno has said he will be ‘involved remotely’ and hopes to return full-time towards the end of the series as he is filming the US version of the show in Los Angeles.
With limited studio crew, big sets may not be built – so producers will use augmented reality, which adds computer-generated elements.
To ensure the contestants can work closely with their partners, they will ‘bubble up’ to train, along with being tested regularly.
Strictly will still feature a live audience, however fans will sit in groups on separate tables, and will only attend if from the same household or bubble.