Ant and Dec Donnelly, both 47, have spoken out on how BGT’s newest panellist has been getting on after joining the show this year in the wake of David Walliams’ departure. Bruno Tonioli, 67, who is a familiar face for UK viewers due to his former judging role on Strictly Come Dancing, confided in the Britain’s Got Talent presenters about how “nervous” he was to take on the big TV job.
Ant admitted that after David’s departure from the show, following controversy about vile unaired comments he had made about BGT contestants, the hosts were “apprehensive” about welcoming a new face to the ITV judging panel.
He explained while discussing “missing” David: “We text a lot, we see him socially, so we were really kind of apprehensive about starting this new series.
“But on the first day of auditions, we thought, ‘we’ve got to just treat Bruno like the new guy and be kind to him’.
“And he was really nervous,” Ant recalled.
It comes after rumours of a feud between original BGT judge Amanda Holden, 52, and newbie Bruno were quashed by the blonde beauty, who has been on the panel since its first series.
Reflecting on Bruno’s first day on the show, Ant told Huffington Post: “We spoke to him just before, and he said, ‘I can’t tell you just how nervous I am’, which surprised us because he’d done Strictly, he’s on Dancing With The Stars in America still… he’s no stranger to big TV shows.
“So I felt sorry for him, but I thought it showed real humility.
“And we were just kind to him.
“We laughed at him when he made mistakes, but tried to show him the ropes a bit, the Geordie star admitted.
Elsewhere, BGT icon Amanda Holden has also praised Bruno for being a great “addition” to the show, following claims of tension between the pair.
The star spoke out after The Sun reported that she and fellow judge Alesha Dixon, 44, held back on signing their contracts for the ITV series.
The pair, who have been long-serving members of the BGT panel, were rumoured to be upset that new judge Bruno’s salary matched theirs.
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However, Amanda insisted she has no issue with Bruno, praising his “bonkers” energy during auditions.
She told the publication: “It’s really surprising as he’s bilingual in about three languages, so he spoke to people in their native tongue when they came on stage.”
Amanda continued: “He knows about art, he knows loads about singing, he knows loads about dancing.
“He’s been in showbiz for 97 years, he’s a real authority.
“He was a good addition to the show, he was fun, really fun.”
Bruno recently caused chaos on the panel after he admitted he had never watched BGT before signing up to be a judge.
He then broke head judge and show creator Simon Cowell’s rules by pressing his golden buzzer twice.
It has since emerged the former Strictly judge was pranked by Ant’s co-host, Dec, who had convinced Bruno he’d “get another [golden buzzer] tomorrow”.
Ant and Dec, alongside each judge on the panel, are only allowed to send one act directly through to the live shows by pressing the golden buzzer, a fact which Bruno was unaware of.
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