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Strictly's Shirley Ballas responds to those Bruno Tonioli 'partying' photos

Bruno had to miss his judging duties last weekend due to other work commitments

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Shirley Ballas has defended her co-star Bruno Tonioli, after photos emerged of him 'partying' in LA when he was meant to be in the UK judging Strictly Come Dancing. Shirley admitted that she had seen the photos but brushed it off, saying: "Well obviously he flies back every week for Dancing with the Stars and Strictly, and I saw the photograph. It was just outside his dressing room and I think he just had some friends visiting. He's flamboyant and lovely and we missed him a lot this week."

During the interview on BBC Breakfast, Shirley also praised her other judges, saying: "Craig [Revel Horwood] is just a pussycat and mad as a hatter. He sent me flowers when it was my birthday, he spoils me rotten, he's lovely. And Darcey [Bussell] is just motherly, even though she is a lot younger than I am, so beautiful, she is genuinely such a sweetheart."

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"He's flamboyant and lovely and we missed him a lot this week," said Shirley

Last weekend, Bruno missed Strictly for the first time in all his 13 years of judging. A BBC spokesperson said: "As was always the plan, Bruno Tonioli is not on the judging panel this weekend due to a very busy work schedule. He will be back as normal for our Halloween special and the rest of the series."

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Bruno travels to LA to judge Dancing with the Stars each week, but last weekend he stayed on in California. On Saturday night, when he would have been judging Strictly, he was spotted dining at Cecconi's LA restaurant with British model Matt Law and TV star Lizzie Cundy. Bruno later shared a video on Twitter of the trio, and told fans: "Here we are, Brits in LA. Don't you worry I'll be back Saturday with a Halloween spectacular. You're not go¬ing to get rid of me that easily."

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