D.J. "Shangela" Pierce, 40, the singer and performer featured on three seasons of VH1's "RuPaul's Drag Race," will be the first male celebrity contestant to be paired with a male professional dancer. its first to stream live on Disney+
"It was jaw on the floor," Shangela tells "I feel so grateful and have not missed out on how momentous this is. And I want to rise to the occasion, baby."
"This is something totally different because I'm a drag entertainer who will be standing up there," Shangela says.
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."
"On the dancing nights, I'm going to be dressed as the doll, honey.
Many international versions of "Dancing With the Stars" have featured paired male dancers, and fellow "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Courtney Act danced in drag on Australia's "DWTS" in 2019.
Executive producer Conrad Black, who returns to the show as it moves to Disney+, calls the casting breakthrough "a step for the show" that is also "reflecting the world of entertainment and the modern world."
Most importantly, Shangela is a "fantastically engaging personality. It's a performance show, and no one gets performance quite like Shangela," Black says. "She's going to be pretty fierce as a performer."