By Michael Bedigan, PA
Bruno Tonioli says he does not mince his words while on a judging panel – but his remarks should be taken in context.
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge said he intentionally cranks up his onscreen delivery to “give the audience a show” – but some people need to “chill a bit”.
The 67-year-old recently replaced comedian David Walliams on the panel of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT), alongside Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Tonioli said he developed his “larger-than-life” persona through years of working with the likes of Sir Elton John but does not take himself too seriously.
“Obviously when you’re on screen, you can’t sit there looking bored. You have to give the viewers a show,” he said.
“You have to entertain them. So I crank up my delivery and become a larger-than-life persona.”
Asked if he ever regretted making particular comments, he said: “If I don’t like what someone is doing, I don’t mince my words.
“But people have to understand that everything is said within a context.
“Everyone is so uptight at the moment. They should just chill a bit. I don’t take myself seriously; I can laugh at myself.”
Tonioli is due to make his BGT debut this weekend, when the ITV talent competition returns for its 16th series.
He said Walliams was the first to message him congratulations on taking over from him as judge and sent him a bottle of nice Italian wine.
The comedian, who had been with the show since 2012, apologised last year for making “disrespectful comments” about auditioning contestants recorded during filming breaks in January 2020.
The full interview with Tonioli can be read in this week’s Radio Times.