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Bruno Tonioli makes surprise first Strictly appearance

The judge shared his comments via video link

bruno tonioli
Aisha Nozari
Aisha NozariOnline Writer
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Strictly Come Dancing fans were no doubt delighted on Saturday when fan-favourite judge Bruno Tonioli made a virtual appearance at the end of the first live show to give his verdict on the evening's performances.

MORE: Strictly week one highlights: HRVY tops the leaderboard, Katya and Nicola's first dance and more

Tess Daly confirmed at the beginning of the show that Bruno would be making an appearance, and he was in high spirits when he appeared on screen.

WATCH: Gemma Atkinson's verdict on Gorka Marquez’s new Strictly partner Maisie

"Hello Claudia! Hello everyone! What a show," he declared

MORE: Kate Garraway reacts to Ranvir Singh's Strictly performance

bruno tonioli© Photo: BBC

Bruno appeared via videolink 

MORE: Tess Daly's sequinned black jumpsuit fits like a glove

The 64-year-old went on to praise his favourite performances, giving a special shout out to EastEnders star Maisie Smith, who performed with professional partner Gorka Marquez.

"Strictly 2020 is back, and I'm telling you, back with a bang. I spotted a few very, very exciting things, I mean come on sweet Caroline, she took the express train to the nation's heart," began Bruno.

"JJ, what a surprise, so light on his feet, so charming."

As for Maisie's show-stopping performance, Bruno said: "I'm telling you, that [was] some week one, coming out with such an [amazing] performance Maisie."

bruno tonioli on strictly© Photo: BBC

He signed off by saying: "Can't wait to see you all."

Tess confirmed last week that Bruno wouldn't be taking part in this year's competition due to coronavirus restrictions, but will check in remotely on results night each week.

Bruno himself confirmed the news in August, saying that as he lives in the US he would be unable to travel to the UK and social distance safely during the lockdown.

Bruno told the BBC: "I absolutely adore being part of Strictly and can't wait to see what incredible dancing this year has in store! Lockdown has resulted in me being in LA for the foreseeable, but I'm excited to be involved as much as I possibly can. There was no cha-cha-chance I'd miss out!"

The show's executive producer Sarah James added: "I'm overjoyed that we've found a way for Bruno to be part of this year's Strictly. His passion and enthusiasm are such a big part of the show, I'm thrilled we can continue to deliver that to audiences this year."

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