Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli has devastated fans of Strictly Come Dancing, the long-running U.K. series he has starred on for more than 15 years. The choreographer and television personality, 64, has reportedly chosen the U.S. dancing show over the U.K. version — and viewers are not happy.
Bruno, who has been an original judge on Strictly since 2004 — one year before he started doing double duty with Dancing with the Stars — was forced to make a choice for 2020 due to the coronavirus health pandemic. The Italian dancer does not want to risk flying back and forth between the United States and the United Kingdom amid the COVID-19 crisis, so he will reportedly stay put in California once Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars begins this fall, according to The Daily Mail.
On Twitter, disappointed fans reacted to the bad news that Bruno won't be crossing the pond this fall.
"I'm gonna really miss you on strictly Bruno," one fan tweeted. "You make the show."
"He's my fave judge will be a boring series without him," another added.
The fans are not the only people upset. Bruno's team at the BBC show is upset that the popular TV personalty won't be back for the upcoming season as Craig Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Moti Mabuse, and Harry Luck make up the judges' panel without him.
"Everyone at Strictly was devastated when they found out Bruno was going to pull out of this year's series," a source told The Daily Star.
While Bruno is technically "out" this season on Strictly Come Dancing, BBC bosses are still hoping to snag him for the Strictly finale.
"Dancing with the Stars usually ends a few weeks before Strictly's final. So the plan is for Bruno to jet back to the U.K. as soon as he's finished with his commitments in the U.S.," the insider teased. "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."
As for Dancing with the Stars, there have been no other announced cast changes since the bombshell firing of longtime DWTS hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews last month, so all three judges — Bruno, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Len Goodman — are expected to return for Season 29, barring another shocking announcement. Producers hope to start rehearsals for the star-studded dance-off in September with new host Tyra Banks.