‘Strictly Come Dancing’: Bruno Tonioli’s most outrageous moments as he bows out of show

Katie Archer

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK

Fri, 20 May 2022, 1:09 pm

Bruno Tonioli
Bruno Tonioli will be missed on Strictly Come Dancing. (Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing has confirmed that Bruno Tonioli will not be back on the judging panel this year – but while he won’t be in the ballroom, his legacy on the show lives on.

Italian judge Tonioli, 66, was one of the original judging line-up and completed 18 series on the show, including the 2020 series where he was forced to dial in via video call on Sundays because of COVID travel restrictions.

However, Tonioli was absent from the 2021 contest because his US Dancing With The Stars commitments and ongoing restrictions meant he was unable to travel between countries, and his stand-in Anton Du Beke has now been confirmed to replace him in the 2022 series, too.

It’s the end of an era for Strictly – take a look back over some of Tonioli’s most memorable outrageous moments on the show.

1. Falling off his chair

Bruno Tonioli fell out of his chair over Craig Revel Horwood's comments. (YouTube/BBC)
Bruno Tonioli fell out of his chair over Craig Revel Horwood’s comments. (YouTube/BBC)

Tonioli became known for falling off his chair in delight or shock at a performance, leaving the rest of the judges and audience in hysterics.

The most memorable chair fall came after Dr Ranj Singh and Janette Manrara’s quickstep in 2018, during fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood’s critique.

After he dramatically fell on to the floor, host Tess Daly joked: “He was disagreeing with Craig,” then adding: “Are you alright? Do you need a doctor?”

Tonioli replied: “Yes, fabulous”.

2. His love for Harry Judd

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani perform in the final dress rehearsal for the opening of the 'Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour' at the NIA, Birmingham.   (Photo by David Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Bruno Tonioli was a big fan of Harry Judd. (PA)

Tonioli often took a shine to certain contestants and was a big fan of McFly’s Harry Judd, who went on to win the ninth series in 2011.

During one of his performances when Judd wore a fiery red, open-fronted shirt, he commented: “I think you’re overdressed for the occasion.”

He added: “You need a little bit of work on your bum, but we can talk about that later.”

3. Cutting comments

Revel Horwood isn’t the only judge known for busting out sharp-tongued comments, as Tonioli could be scathingly blunt.

One pointed comment was directed to Italian reality TV star Nancy Dell’Olio during the Halloween special in series nine, when she emerged from a coffin dressed in a spiderweb-style dress.

He said: “Nancy, emerging from the coffin, looking like the Queen of the Night, but you danced like the walking dead.”

Former MP Ann Widdecombe also received a number of cutting remarks on her performances in 2010, including his description that she looked like a “lame canary” who was “flapping around the floor” when she performed in a bright yellow ballgown.

He added: “Never quite being able to take flight despite being spun around by Anton, you never ever took off.”

4. Accidental sweary critiques

Stacey Dooley (centre) and Aljaz Skorjanec perform during a photocall before the opening night of the Strictly Come Dancing Tour 2019 at the Arena Birmingham. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Stacey Dooley won the 2018 series. (PA)

Whether or not Tonioli was aware of the foul-mouthed comments he sometimes offered is open to debate, but they were certainly talking points.

Judging 2015 winner Jay McGuiness’ paso doble, to the horror of his co-stars he said: “Oh yes, those are the bull’s.”

In 2018, he remarked on one performance by series winner Stacey Dooley by congratulating her on her “medley of greatest t**s”.

Both times, Tonioli managed to look suitably confused by any apology for his language.

5. Making an entrance

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/7_akAFp4GlA

In the last series he judged in person in 2019, Tonioli made a memorable entrance by opening one show with a song.

Stepping out from behind a group of pro dancers wearing fuschia and orange and waving ostrich feathers, he emerged in a white tuxedo singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.

Presenter Claudia Winkleman said: “That was just the right amount of understated we need after Blackpool.”

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