Drag Race Alumna Shangela Makes ‘DWTS’ History, Competing Against Selma Blair and Cheryl Ladd

Halleloo! Shangela is a groundbreaking figure on “Dancing With the Stars.”

D.J. In the ballroom dance reality competition’s 31st season premiere on Disney+ 9/19, 8 EDT/5 PDT, “Shangela” Pierce, 40, the singer and performer who appeared on three seasons of VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” will be the first male celebrity contestant to be matched with a male professional dancer.

Shangela, a standout from “A Star Is Born,” was ecstatic to learn that she would be paired with pro dancer Gleb Savchenko for the season 3 finale of HBO’s “We’re Here” in New Jersey last week.

“Jaws dropped to the floor,” Shangela told USA Today. I want to “rise to the occasion,” baby. “I feel so fortunate and have not lost out on how momentous this is.”

Shangela, who uses a male pronoun in everyday life, wants it to be known that this casting signifies more than just “two guys dancing” under the strict norms of the ballroom dance community.

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As a drag entertainer performing onstage, Shangela explains, “This is something altogether different.”

When I’m performing in drag, my pronouns are she/her, so seeing a drag queen with a male dancer is going to be something strong; this is going to be a beautiful venue and an awesome platform to display that kind of representation.

Drag Race Alumna Shangela Makes 'DWTS' History, Competing Against Selma Blair and Cheryl Ladd

Reality-TV stars make up a large portion of the new cast: deaf actor Daniel Durant, 32 (following in co-star Marlee Matlin’s footsteps), “CODA” star Cheryl Ladd, 71, “Cruel Intentions” star Selma Blair, 50, who is battling multiple sclerosis, comedian and game-show host Wayne Brady, 50, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice, 50, “J

In the most recent season of “DWTS,” YouTube star JoJo Siwa made history when she and her same-sex professional partner Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy advanced all the way to the finals, where they ultimately placed second. Since 2005, ABC has been broadcasting the show regularly.

And in 2019, fellow “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Courtney Act competed in drag on Australia’s “DWTS,” joining the ranks of overseas “Dancing With the Stars” editions that have featured paired, male dancers.

Drag Race Alumna Shangela Makes 'DWTS' History, Competing Against Selma Blair and Cheryl Ladd

Returning executive producer Conrad Black describes the groundbreaking casting as “a step for the program” and as “representing the world of entertainment and the modern world.”

Black thinks that Shangela’s “fantastically fascinating personality. It’s a performance show, and no one gets performance quite like Shangela.” Performing-wise, “she’s going to be really fierce.”

For as long as she can remember, Paris, Texas native Shangela has been glued to every episode of “DWTS,” and she has been practicing for this moment ever since “I started dancing with a towel over my head in my grandmother’s bathroom.”

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The Prospect of Competing in The Eye-Catching “DWTS” Costumes Is Particularly Appealing

“This is definitely the most thrilling thing for me as a drag entertainer,” adds Shangela. That this renowned costume shop creates unique wardrobes for each performer every week is thrilling is an understatement.

Shangela may not know the ins and outs of ballroom dancing, but he makes up for it with natural ability, star power, and 1.5 million Instagram followers.


In spite of my lackluster dancing abilities, I will always consider myself a dancer at heart. After all, I have performed all over the world as an entertainer, not simply a dancer.

Savchenko will provide much of the technical training. However, the teacher will gain knowledge as well.

Shangela, who refuses to pick a winner but promises “show-stopping performances,” explains that she is a performer who will be teaching him some tricks of the trade.

I’ve never done ballroom dancing before, so everything is going to be a learning experience for me. However, when Shangela shows there, you can be sure to see a performance.

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