Dancing With The Stars Judge Bruno Tonioli is Hot to Fox Trot!

Bruno Tonioli Kellie Freeze
DTWS judge Bruno Tonioli is feeling the heat for Steamy Season 22, (ABC/Adam Taylor)
Bruno Tonioli
DTWS judge Bruno Tonioli is feeling the heat for Steamy Season 22.  (ABC/Adam Taylor)

On March 21, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars kicked off another steamy season, but judge Bruno Tonioli says that Week 2 is when the season really heats up. “Then the pressure kicks in,” he says. “Then you start to see who will rise to the pressure and who will be fragile when the mistakes happen.” Week 2 is also the season’s first elimination — something that Tonioli considers a necessary evil. “That is the nature of the beast; but as a human being, you always say, ‘Oh, bless him; I wish he or she had another week.’ That is your human side, but this is a competition, so like any competition, that’s what has to happen.”

Tonioli calls Season 22’s cast “very current,” and is excited that the cast is sportier than ever, with current NFL players Antonio Brown and Von Miller, former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, and MMA star Paige VanZant among those vying for the mirror ball trophy. “They work so hard!” Tonioli says of the athletes. “They are used to being coached and they want to win. They have that kind of determination to succeed, and great attitude.”

But Tonioli says not to count out any of this season’s other competitors, including Marla Maples, Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee, deaf model Nyle DiMarco, R&B singer Wanya Morris, journalist Geraldo Rivera, and actresses Mischa Barton, Kim Fields and Jodie Sweetin. Tonioli carefully demurs when asked to pick a frontrunner. He explains, “We’ve had so many surprises in the past when people come out of the blue and they amaze you, and people that you think would perform at a very high level who don’t do so well.” But once he’s seen a few performances, Tonioli starts to see the competitors’ personalities emerge. “I need two rounds,” he says. “I need to see them over a couple of weeks — then you get an idea of how somebody can develop or what is their potential.”

Tonioli admits that he marvels at Dancing With the Stars’ longevity, but isn’t surprised by it. “It renews itself every season,” he explains, noting that the show’s choreography — particularly in the last two seasons — is really pushing and evolving the art of dance. “If we keep that kind of passion and that kind of life to it, the show could run forever!”

Bruno Tonioli
It takes an army of experts to bring together the dance of model Nyle DiMarco and dance pro Peta Murgatroyd (at center).  Image: ABC/Byron Cohen

Tonioli also credits the series’ fortitude to the passion of the team behind the camera. “Everybody — from the costumes, the lighting, the production, the ideas — we always introduce new, exciting things to give the kids the opportunity to shine,” says Tonioli. The former dancer and choreographer adds, “It’s all about passion and creativity, and creating new things, and we have the talent to do it.” He says that if the show wasn’t committed to excellence, he, for one, wouldn’t do it. “None of us is there to collect a check,” he says. “Everybody does it because they love what they’re doing.”

And that love shows. The Season 22 premiere drew over 12 million viewers, and at the dawn of this new season, Tonioli is gleeful about what is yet to come. “Expect the unexpected,” he crows. “And as always, you’re going to have the Monday night fever!”

1 Comment

  1. trying to find part of an interview with Bruno tonioli in which he says: so no tonight we have great…..what are we goin to do, I am looking for that missing word

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