Talent Recap

Shangela Marks History as the First Ever Drag Queen to Compete in ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Shangela at the 2022 Creative Arts EmmysPhoto by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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Dancing With The Stars Season 31 welcomes Shangela (born D.J. Pierce) – a world famous drag diva. As he creates a mark in DWTS history, his presence in the awaited dance competition is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Shangela is the First Ever Drag Queen to Compete on Dancing With the Stars

Shangela will be the first male performer to be partnered with a male professional dancer in the dance competition series. He identifies as a gay, cisgender man when not depicting himself in RuPaul’s Drag Race.

 “I feel so honored to be the first drag entertainer to compete on the show. It’s about darn time!!!” Shangela expressed on Instagram. “Let’s go win this Crown… I mean, Mirrorball!”

The seasoned drag queen will try to obtain the mirror ball trophy with Russian-American choreographer Gleb Savchenko who is in his tenth season in the series.

“I’m the first person to ever be able to compete in drag on Dancing with the Stars in the history of the show here, so I hope that we show people that it’s all about the heart and soul of who you are as a person,” he said.

 In recent years, Shangela became one of three hosts on HBO’s We’re Here and was featured in the Lady Gaga reboot of A Star Is Born. He is considered a veteran performer who had worked with the likes of Alyssa Edwards. Hence, his inclusion in the cast is an additional spice to DWTS.

He Admits that Dancing With The Stars will be very new to him

In years of growing up in Paris and Texas, Shangela spent his days watching DWTS. Thus, having the chance to actually join the cast is a dream come true for the kid who “started dancing with a towel on his head in his grandmother’s bathroom.”

Shangela is not shy to admit that DWTS is going to be “very new” to him. He acknowledges the need to catch up in dancing but also trusts his experience as an entertainer. Thus, although he is no expert in terms of the technicalities in ballroom dancing, his natural grooves should not be underestimated.

“Let me tell you something: When Shangela shows up, it’s going to be a show. I can guarantee that,” he stressed.

What does Shangela-Savchenko Partnership Mean for Pride?

Male to male pairings aiming for a mirrorball trophy is not a common sight for viewers, but Shangela and Savchenko are not afraid to defy stereotypes.

“We’re changing the world, and I love it,” said Savchenko.

Shangela believes that being casted in DWTS is more than making history by showing male-to-male ballroom performance. For him, his presence on the show is step forward for pride.

“On the dancing nights, I’m going to be dressed as the doll, honey. That’s my fiercest form as an entertainer,” he stated. “When I’m in drag, my pronouns are she/her. So seeing a drag queen with a male dancer is going to be something powerful. This is going to be a great space and an amazing platform to showcase that kind of representation.”

Having a drag entertainer grace Dancing With The Stars opens a room for visibility to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In the previous season, JoJo Siwa raised the pride flag as she partnered with same-sex pro Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy. Hopefully, Shangela alongside other stars and professionals will deliver sensational performances just like the last season.

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