Bruno Tonioli compared Strictly to Brexit: Dont get upset if the horse has bolted!
Strictly Come Dancing: Anton Du Beke on becoming a judge
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Mr Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood have left the dancefloor behind to take part in six-episode show entitled Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trip. The pair have travelled through the nation’s most scenic routes, from Cornwall, the Cotswolds and the Yorkshire Dales, and the next episode will see the unlikely petrolheads visit the Lake District. The episode, which airs on ITV at 8pm tonight, will see the choreographers take on the scenic westward circuit from Kendal to Keswick, drive through their most dangerous road to date, and try their hand at some wild swimming.
However, Mr Tonioli, who is best known as a judge on BBC’s Strictly, called those accusing the BBC ballroom show of being racist in 2016 as “ludicrous” and insisted the show’s voting system was fair.
The show received accusations of racism on social media after the first three contestants booted off from the series were non-white.
Comedian Melvin Odoom left on the public vote, before actress Tameka Epson and newsreader Naga Munchetty were also eliminated in the following two weeks.
Mr Tonioli insisted in his Best magazine column that people should vote if they want to save their favourite celebrities and compared the backlash to those unhappy about the EU referendum result.
The judge said: “The so-called ‘racism row’ over Melvin, then Tameka leaving is ludicrous.
“This series is so competitive every vote makes a difference.
“If you don’t vote you can’t moan when someone you love leaves.
“It’s like Brexit – vote, don’t get upset after the horse has bolted!”
Weeks earlier Mr Odoom also defended the show against accusations of racism, stressing that they were “nothing.”
He told the Sun: “If there was a racist issue, we wouldn’t be there in the first place.
“I think it’s got nothing to do with that.
“I think people are just trying to find a story to make out of nothing essentially.
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“The thing is, every single person on that show is amazing.”
The much-loved Mr Tonioli, who lives and works in Los Angeles when filming Dancing With the Stars, was unable to judge on last year’s Strictly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
He instead appeared as a talking head via satellite during the Sunday night show.
The Italian will not be appearing in the 2021 series however, and it was announced in June that Anton Du Beke would replace him as judge for series 19.
Yesterday the seventh and eighth Strictly contestants for the show’s 2021 line up were announced as Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn and BBC presenter Dan Walker.
The BBC Breakfast and former Football Focus presenter said: “I’m one of those people, I’ve danced at three weddings and two school discos and one ceilidh.
“I’m just going to enjoy the experience when it starts, of actually being able to learn to dance and have a bit fun, and we’ll see what happens.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not making any room on any shelves in our house for the glitterball.”
The pair will join a stellar line-up that includes Dragons’ Den mogul Sara Davies, CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, McFly frontman Tom Fletcher, Peep Show’s Robert Webb, and TV presenter AJ Odudu.
Great British Bake-Off winner John Whaite will also compete as part of the show’s first male same-sex partnership.
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