Haleloo! Drag superstar Shangela and her dance pro partner Gleb Savchenko are heading to the semi-finals on “Dancing with the Stars.” The duo took the stage for ‘90s night, doing an impressive samba routine to “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls and earned an impressive score from the judges, including another perfect 10 from Carrie Ann Inaba, thus surviving the night’s double elimination.
GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos caught up with Shangela and Gleb right after the show and their excitement and gratitude for making it into next week’s semi-finals was palpable!
“I feel like on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when they opened up the chocolate bar and had a golden ticket, we got a golden ticket going to the semifinals,” Shangela said. “I just won the lottery! I’m living my best life because one week I’m dancing with a Spice Girl, the other week I’m dancing with J Lo, the next week I’m dancing with Marilyn Monroe, I’m dancing with all the divas!” gushed Gleb.
So, what can we expect for the two, who are the first men to dance together in the US version of the series, for the semi-finals?
“We’re going to bring all the divas out! We’re just trying to give you something that people will enjoy at home as well as the judges will enjoy. We are in this because people are voting for us and I’m so grateful that they are, that they’re showing up for us in that way,” Shangela previewed.
In Monday night’s ‘90s themed episode DJ/Shangela also opened up about coming out as gay to his mom and then eventually going off to college, moving to Dallas and going to their first gay club! “I really started to love who I was as a person,” DJ said in the video package.
Ramos spoke with Shangela about why it was important to open up about that this week.
“I will always show up in every room as all of the parts of who I am and a big part of who I am is a member of our LGBTQ plus community. We all have our own unique coming out story, so it was just really heartfelt for me to be able to share mine tonight in this space and to show up here as Shangela and just turn it the way that I know all the drag divas who have inspired me have turned it,” Shangela said.
Shangela and Gleb are connecting with the fans who are watching, but also, they can feel the love in the ballroom each week after they perform.
“The ballroom (gave) a standing ovation and everyone was going crazy… I live for that moment. This is the biggest reward for me because I feel like we made them feel something, and that’s like so good,” Gleb said.
Shangela says that being on this show and seeing people truly root for her is really inspiring for her.
“I’m thankful for the amount of people who are on ‘Team Shang,’ the supporters of me. There are people who have been rooting for me ever since they first saw me step in the door back in 2010 on “Rupaul’s Drag Race” and now to be in this ballroom and to have that same type of support from so many of the people who have been with me forever and the people who are new, it feels excellent!”
Shangela’s visibility on “Dancing with the Stars” comes at an important time when protests against drag queens and drag queen storyhours are ramping up all over the country. Shangela also stars in the HBO docuseries “We’re Here” with Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara and in the upcoming new season, the show is giving viewers and in depth look at some of these protests and how scary it can be to be a drag performer in certain states.
“Dancing with the Stars” streams Mondays at 8pm ET on Disney+