Strictly’s Bruno: ‘Russell may be the new Widdy!’

As Strictly Come Dancing returns, judge Bruno Tonioli offers his verdict on who will be hot to trot this series…

How excited are you about the new series of Strictly Come Dancing?

“I can’t believe it’s been a year already and now it’s all starting again.

This is going to be the golden year, the show will be sparkling more than ever. Last year was the best one, but I think this year could be even better.”

Are you looking forward to reuniting with your fellow judges, Len Goodman, Alesha Dixon and, of course, Craig Revel Horwood?

“In spite of the few disagreements we have on screen, in real life we all really get along. Craig and I are friends but, on the show, we have to say what we think. Sometimes we disagree, but that is our job – then after the show we have a glass of wine and a laugh!”

How do you handle judging Strictly in the UK and Dancing With The Stars in the US at the same time?

“It is tiring doing both shows, but that’s not down to the flying itself, it’s because of the eight hours’ time difference. Doing three and a half days in London and three and a half days in Los Angeles, you’re permanently in the twilight zone of perpetual jetlag. It’s tough, but there are tougher things in life – and if I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t do it.”

Which celebrities stand out for you in this year’s Strictly line-up?

“Everybody loves Jason Donovan, and Holly Valance is very sexy, so they will both be fantastic. I can definitely see Holly in a skimpy cha-cha outfit – Len’s chin will hit the desk!”

And we see astrologer Russell Grant will also be taking part…

“Russell Grant could be the next Ann Widdecombe. Last year, we had a Dalek in drag, this time we could have the Master Dalek! Ann proved that you don’t have to be a brilliant dancer to enjoy it.”

The celebrities find out who their professional partners are on Saturday – how important is chemistry between the couples?

“Chemistry on the dancefloor is important because it’s part of how you judge a performance, if there is no chemistry it doesn’t really work. Of course, at times, that chemistry develops into something else and that’s the added bonus of the series.”

This year, there’s a live show from Wembley Arena with the grand finale at Blackpool’s world famous Tower Ballroom – and shown in 3D!

“The live show at Wembley in front of 6,500 people will be incredible and Blackpool is the mecca of ballroom dancing, so it’s fitting that the final is there. But the thought of being in 3D terrifies me – I’ll practically be in the viewers’ lap!”

*Strictly Come Dancing launches on Saturday at 6.10pm on BBC1.

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