The long-time judge, who’s sat on the Strictly panel since its first series in 2004, has been absent from this year’s live shows after the coronavirus pandemic prevented him from travelling back and forth from the US to the UK to film both Strictly Come Dancing and its American cousin, Dancing with the Stars.
Tonioli has appeared virtually on Strictly’s Sunday night Results show each week via video link from the US, where he’s been filming the 29th season of Dancing with the Stars, and fans had been hoping that he’d return once the American show had finished and providing travel restrictions eased.
Earlier this year, the BBC said they hoped he would make “his grand return to the show live in the studio towards the end of the series”.
However, though Dancing with the Stars aired its final on Monday night, RadioTimes.com understands that Tonioli will continue to appear on Strictly via video link for the rest of this series.
The Strictly final is expected to take place on Saturday 19th December, with Nicola Adams and professional partner Katya Jones returning to perform after Jones tested positive for COVID-19 and the pair had to withdraw from the competition.
While Tonioli was not replaced on the Strictly judging panel this year, long-time professional Anton Du Beke filled in for Motsi Mabuse for the past two weeks while she self-isolated following an “urgent” trip home to Germany.