Dancing With the Stars has announced the cast for their 31st season and it features some prominent queer star power.
Making history as the first drag queen to ever compete on the long running show is Shangela Laquifa Wadley herself of RuPaul’s Drag Race and We’re Here fame. Portrayed by actor and performer DJ Pierce, Shangela first burst onto our tv screens in season 2 of Drag Race where she was the first queen eliminated. RuPaul saw something special in the then novice queen and invited her back to compete in season 3 of the show where she placed sixth. Shangela was later brought back again to compete in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars season 3 where she finished in third place.
Shangela’s career outside of Drag Race has included notable appearances on tv shows like, Glee, Bones, Dance Moms and The Mentalist, among others. She also had a role in A Star is Born alongside Lady Gaga and was a commentator for the US at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Her biggest role since Drag Race, however, has been as one of three participating hosts on the HBOMax series We’re Here. On the show Shangela, along with Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen and alumnus Eureka O’Hara, travel the country to small cities and recruit local residents to become their drag daughters for one night only performances. The queens typically play the role of life coach to these individuals who are often struggling to find themselves, and they try to build them up through the art of drag.
Known for her lively stage presence, quick wittedness and high-energy dancing, Shangela is sure to make waves this season on Dancing With the Stars. She has been partnered with Gleb Savchenko.
Joining Shangela this season is Sam Champion, an Emmy- and Peabody award-winning weather anchor for the ABC flagship station WABC-TV in New York and longtime contributor to the nationally syndicated morning show Good Morning America (GMA). Sam has been with ABC on and off since 1988, leaving from 2012 to 2019 to work at The Weather Channel. Before ABC he worked in Paducah, Kentucky. Champion is an out gay man.
“This is going to be one of the best seasons ever,” he said to GMA. “I’m just happy to be here for maybe a week or two weeks before they realize I shouldn’t be here.” His dancing partner this season will be Cheryl Burke.
The cast will be rounded out by fitness model and actor Joseph Baena, actress Selma Blair, Let’s Make a Deal host Wayne Brady, TikTok/ reality stars Charli and Heidi D’Amelio, country singer Jessie James Decker, actor Trevor Donovan, Teresa Giudice from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, actress Cheryl Ladd, actor Daniel Durant, Vinny Guadagnino from Jersey Shore, actor Jason Lewis, Gabby Windey from The Bachelorette and recording artist Jordin Sparks.
Tyra Banks and Alfonso Ribeiro will co-host the new season and Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough will return as judges.
Dancing With the Stars premieres September 19 only on Disney+.