By Connie Evans, PA Entertainment Reporter
Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli has been confirmed as David Walliams’ replacement on Britain’s Got Talent.
The 67-year-old Italian choreographer and dancer will join the ITV talent show’s judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.
As Britain’s Got Talent auditions kicked off on Tuesday, Tonioli said: “Here we are, Britain’s Got Talent. I am so excited.
— BGT (@BGT) January 24, 2023
“It’s my first show, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant.”
Tonioli joins the line-up following the departure of former judge Walliams, who joined the talent contest in 2012.
Last year comedian Walliams, 51, apologised for making “disrespectful comments” about auditioning contestants during breaks in filming the popular show in January 2020.
On Tuesday the first round of auditions returned to the London Palladium following weeks of speculation that Tonioli would be replacing Walliams on the panel.
Co-hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly were pictured entering the London theatre on Tuesday alongside Britain’s Got Talent creator Cowell, 63, wearing his classic grey jumper and black aviator sunglasses.
Sharing a picture of the Palladium set to host the auditions, the official Britain’s Got Talent Twitter page said: “We’re baaaack! And we’re ready to find our next #BGT superstar! Could it be you? Auditions day 1, bring it on!”
Tonioli was previously a fan favourite on Strictly Come Dancing after joining the BBC One programme during its debut series in 2004.
However in 2022 it was announced Tonioli would be departing the celebrity dancing competition because his travel commitments had made it “impossible” to continue.
In 2020, pandemic travel uncertainty meant Tonioli could only appear via video-link to give his verdict on the Strictly performances during the Sunday night results show.
And in 2021 he was replaced by long-standing professional dancer Anton Du Beke, who joined the panel alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas.
Confirming his departure in May last year, Tonioli said he would instead be concentrating on his other role as a judge on Dancing With The Stars, which films around the same time of year in the US.
Now in its 16th series, Britain’s Got Talent will return to screens later this year as acts battle it out for the chance to scoop the £250,000 prize and perform at the Royal Variety Performance.