ABC’s Dancing With the Stars will be breaking new ground in the upcoming 30th season. During a TCA panel for the show Thursday, host Tyra Banks and executive producer Andrew Llinares revealed that the new season will feature a same-sex partnership for the first time in DWTS history. Llinares said that JoJo Siwa, who recently came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, will be paired with a woman dancer.
Social media personality Siwa earlier in the panel was unveiled as one of the first two celebrity contestants in Season 30, along with Olympic gold medal gymnast Suni Lee. Additional celebrities set to tout their dancing skills (or lack thereof) will be unveiled on Good Morning America on September 8.
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“I think it’s cool, i think it breaks a wall that’s never been done before,” Siwa said about being part of Dancing‘s first same-sex pairing. “I think it’s really special that i get to share wit the world that you can love who you love, but now you can dance with who you want to dance with.”
Lee joins a number of Olympic gymnasts who have strutted their stuff on the Dancing With The Stars stage. Previous DWTS alumni are Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez and Nastia Liukin. Hernandez was the champion of Season 23 in 2016.
Just last month at the Tokyo Olympics, Lee took home the gold in the women’s all-around and bronze in the uneven bars, while helping lead Team USA to the silver in the team event after Biles’ unexpected exit from the competition. Lee also made history as the first Hmong-American Olympian.
Siwa is an actress, singer and influencer who was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020. She has more 60.5 million followers on social media and over 3.6 billion views on her It’s JoJo Siwa YouTube channel.
She will star in and executive produce The J Team, a live-action musical set to premiere on Paramount+. She also serves as creative director and executive producer of the upcoming Peacock series Siwa’s Dance Pop Revolution.
Dancing With The Stars, which will see Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough return as judges, will return for its milestone season live on Monday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. BBC Studios’ Los Angeles production arm produces the dance series. Llinares and Banks are executive producers.
GLAAD responded to the news with a statement from Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent:
“At 18, JoJo Siwa is once again using her platform to inspire and uplift the LGBTQ community. As one of today’s most watched and celebrated programs on television, Dancing with the Stars and Tyra Banks are making the right decision to feature JoJo Siwa competing alongside a female professional dancer. The show has such a wide, far-reaching audience and there is a real opportunity here for people to celebrate the same-sex pairing and root for JoJo and all LGBTQ young people.”
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