Earlier this year, 18-year-old dancer, singer and YouTube personality Jojo Siwa came out as LGBTQ. Now, she is making television history as the first celebrity contestant to appear on America’s “Dancing with the Stars” with a same-sex partner.
Siwa and Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee were announced on Aug. 26 as the first two cast members of the show’s milestone 30th season. ABC plans to announce the full cast on Sept. 8, Us Weekly reported.
“Dancing with the Stars” (@DancingABC) shared the news on Twitter with a video clip of Siwa exclaiming her excitement.
“Bring on the sequins and the sparkles,” Dancing with the Stars tweeted. “We’re SIWA excited for this!”
“I am so excited to be a part of this year’s ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ season 30, and to be dancing with a girl. I think it’s so cool,” Siwa said in the video. “I can’t wait to just dance every single week. I can’t wait to meet my partner. Oh my gosh, there are so many things I’m so excited for.”
— Dancing with the Stars #DWTS (@DancingABC) August 26, 2021
Several versions of the show in other countries have had same-sex couples in years past. “DWTS” Israel broke the ground in 2010, pairing sportscaster Gili Shem Tov and Dorit Milman. Denmark, Italy and Australia have had same-sex pairings as well. Australian drag queen Courtney Act was the franchise’s first drag performer, appearing on the Aussie version of the show in 2019.
Once, “DWTS” featured an individual routine with same-sex partners on the U.S. show. In 2016, when Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd switched with Jodie Sweetin and her partner Keo Motsepe, Motsepe danced the tango with DiMarco.
In his final season on the show, former host Tom Bergeron said that casting a transgender or same-sex couple on the U.S. version was overdue.
Siwa talked about the announcement at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“I think it breaks a wall that’s never been broken down before,” she said during a virtual panel for the show at the TCA. “And it’s normal for a girl to dance with a guy, and I think that that’s really cool, but I think that it’s really special that not only now, do I get to share with the world you get to love who you want to love, but also, you get to dance with who you want to dance with.”
Siwa’s partner will be introduced on the season premiere, which will air live Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT.