'Dancing With the Stars' Season 31 Cast Features a Historic First

Dancing With the Stars Season 31 is making history. After featuring its first same-sex dancing team in Season 30 when JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson competed together, the upcoming season of the hit dancing competition is set to feature its first male celebrity and male pro dancer pairing, with RuPaul's Drag Race star D.J. "Shangela" Pierce paired with returning pro Gleb Savchenko.

Fans will best recognize Shangela, who identifies as male in day-to-day life but as female when in drag, from her appearances on RuPaul's Drag Race Seasons 1 and 2 as well as RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Season 3. Shangela also appeared in the Oscar-winning, Lady Gaga-starring 2018 film A Star Is Born. She currently co-hosts We're Here, the HBO reality series where, just last week, she met Savchenko for the very first time while the show was filming in New Jersey. Savchenko, meanwhile, has appeared on multiple seasons of DWTS. As the pair look ahead to their history-making DWTS run, with Shangela also making history as the series's first-ever drag queen, Shangela told Good Morning America that she "wants to show up for the moment" and to "show up for everyone who ever felt like they were on the outskirts, that didn't feel seen. Baby, here we are – and we will be seen."

Reacting to his casting on Instagram just minutes after the full Season 31 cast was revealed, Shangela shared, "feel so honored to be the first drag entertainer to compete on the show. It's about darn time!!!" She added, "so all y'all who've been in my corner all these years, tell a friend! We've got Another One! Let's go win this Crown... I mean, Mirrorball!"

While other versions of DWTS have featured paired male dancers, Shangela and Savchenko will mark the first all-male pairing for the U.S. version, and fans are already here for it. As Savchenko took to social media to react to the news, sharing that she is "so stoked" and teasing that "it's gonna be a one-of-a-kind amazing season," her request for fans to send in "a team name" garnered dozens of responses. DWTS fans are already rooting for Team "Shangie," with other suggestions for their team name including "Team GlebSha" and "Team Shanchenko."


Addressing the casting, DWTS executive producer Conrad Black called the casting a breakthrough "step for the show" that is also "reflecting the world of entertainment and the modern world," USA Today reported. While Shangela has experience on the stage as a drag queen, she said she has "never been ballroom dancing before... But let me tell you something: When Shangela shows up,  it's going to be a show. I can guarantee that." Dancing With the Stars Season 31 premieres on Disney+ on Monday, Sept. 31.