Former judge Bruno Tonioli is set to make a surprise return to Strictly Come Dancing for the Christmas special.
The dancer, 66, quit the show for good in May, with Anton Du Beke, 56, taking over his seat as permanent judge.
But MailOnline has learned that Bruno is planning on appearing on the show’s Christmas Special and will sing rather than put on a dance performance.
The source said: ‘Bruno loves to sing. He did an opera album called An Italian Romance back in 2016 and who knows, it might turn into a new career for him.’
EXCLUSIVE: Bruno Tonioli is set to RETURN to Strictly: Beloved ex-judge to make surprise comeback at Christmas Special with SINGING performance (pictured on the show in 2019)
A spokesperson for Strictly told MailOnline: ‘Strictly are still working on all plans for the Christmas special so we won’t be commenting on this at this stage.’
Bruno famously performed You’re Just To Good To Be True on Strictly back in 2019 to rapturous applause.
The Italian choreographer quit the show after 18 years in May, admitting that flying back and forth between the UK and the US for the show had become ‘too much’ for him.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Bruno loves to sing and who knows, it might turn into a new career for him’ – he sang on Strictly in 2019 – pictured
Bruno has been juggling his role on the BBC dancing show with his stateside judging gig on Dancing With The Stars since 2005 and it was simply exhausting him.
Following his departure from Strictly, Bruno broke his silence to say that he ‘just can’t do the 10-hour flights anymore and was done.’
Bruno has been at the heart of the BBC dance show since its 2004 launch.
However, he hadn’t been a regular on the panel during the pandemic due to travel restrictions amid his filming on Dancing With The Stars.
Last year, Bruno was replaced on the UK judging panel Anton amid difficulties jetting back and forth.
Many strings to his bow: Bruno brought out a 3-CD opera album back in 2016 with some of his favourite romantic songs
While the year before that, Bruno appeared via video link due to the same issues.
It was previously suggested by Craig Revel Horwood that Bruno could return to judge alongside Anton, but now it appears that he’ll stay put in the US.
Bruno formed part of the original Strictly line-up alongside Craig, Arlene Phillips and his Dancing With The Stars co-star Len Goodman.
The latest news comes after Tyler West became the eighth contestant to leave Strictly as he faced Molly Rainford in the dreaded dance off on Saturday night.
Too much: Bruno previously said of his Strictly Come Dancing departure in May that that the gruelling travel demands of going between the UK and US got ‘too much’
Judge: Bruno has been at the heart of the show since it’s 2004 launch, but ran into some issues when the Covid-19 pandemic hit – with travel restrictions meaning he couldn’t make it back to the UK for the show during its last two seasons (pictured in 2019)
Moving on: Bruno will not be coming back to the UK version and will instead concentrate on being a judge on the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars [pictured with his DWTS co-stars Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Derek Hough]
Molly and Carlos Gu performed their Jive to Bandstand by Barry Manilow, followed by Tyler and Dianne Buswell dancing their to a KC and the sunshine band mega mix in a bid to impress the judges and remain in the competition.
After both couples had danced a second time, the judges delivered their verdicts and with two votes going to Molly and one to Tyler, the deciding vote was down to head judge Shirley Ballas.
Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Molly and Carlos, saying: ‘Wow, both couples danced so much better, they really did.
Replacement: Anton Du Beke stood in for Bruno during the pandemic and eventually was announced as his permanent fixture on the panel
‘Tyler, incredible hips, this time round, amazing. Molly, lighter, brighter, much more precise.
‘I am finding this really difficult for the first time this season, but I would like to save Molly and Carlos.’
Motsi Mabuse also chose to save Molly and Carlos, adding: ‘Yes both couples were better in this performance, I’ve based my decision because of technique styles and presentation and I am going to save Molly and Carlos.’
However, Anton Du Beke chose to save Tyler and Dianne saying: ‘This is a testament to how incredible all the couples are, at this point of the competition.
‘We have a situation here, where neither of these couples in competition deserve to be here, whereas they could have easily made the final.
‘For me, brilliant performance by both the couples, but one of them was more dynamic, the couple I would like to save is Tyler and Dianne.’
When asked by host Tess Daly about his time on the show, Tyler said: ‘I’m more than a two step now! When you watch the show at home, you wonder what it must be like to dance on it, it’s everything and more, it’s changed my life.
‘This girl here, has changed my life for sure. To think I was some shy kid who never used to talk to anyone, to dancing in front of millions, I can’t put it into words.
‘It’s my mum’s favourite show, I bought her to Blackpool, my nan bless her was always watching over me on this journey.
‘But more importantly this show has changed my life in the sense it’s given me confidence, a new found family, every dancer, everyone in hair and make-up, costume.
‘The judges, it’s been amazing to dance in front of you every week, I genuinely mean that.
‘But this girl here, I have been blessed with the best, she is what Strictly is about and she’s changed my life, I have no doubt she will be in my life forever.’
Out: Tyler West became the eighth contestant to leave Strictly Come Dancing as he faced Molly Rainford in the dreaded dance off on Saturday night
Split: After both couples had danced a second time, the judges delivered their verdicts and with two votes going to Molly and one to Tyler, the deciding vote was down to Shirley Ballas