Shangela brings Drag Race icons to the floor in brilliantly queer Dancing with the Stars finale

Drag queen Shangela performing in a blue leotard

Drag Race royalty Shangela may have lost the Dancing with the Stars mirrorball trophy, but her final performance is an undeniable win for LGBTQ+ visibility. 

In a devastating parallel to her Drag Race All Stars journey, Shangela had earned her spot in the final four of the ABC reality competition before being voted out, with social media personality Charli D’Amelio eventually bagging the win

While fans were desperately rooting for the show’s first ever drag queen contestant to claim the top spot, many have been bowled over by quite how gay Shangela managed to make the finale.

In her final performance, Shangela rose up from a black box wearing a silver, glittering gown, looking somewhat like a cross between Beyoncé and a Christmas ornament. Then, in a bellowing voiceover, she referenced her first appearance on Drag Race season two, in which she was eliminated first.

“I started from the bottom but now I have arrived. I am Shangela,” the voiceover said, before a dramatic rendition of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” began.

After soaring off the stage, a second voiceover started: “Shangela, the time has come for you to dance for your life.”

Cue an iconic reveal, with Shangela then beginning a freestyle performance to a rendition of RuPaul’s own “Call Me Mother”.

Shangela herself was the obvious star of the routine, hair-flipping and death-dropping numerous times throughout. However, her dance partner Gleb Savchenko emerged on stage in full drag to perform alongside her.

Also joining Shangela and Savchenko – or Natasha, as he was introduced – was fellow Drag Race alumni Eureka and Laganja Estranja, who briefly danced with the pair.

The performance received much-deserved 10s across the board, with the judges heaping on the praise.

“What a show, what a finale, and you two are the crowning glory of this incredible season,” said judge Bruno Tonioli. Fellow judge Len Goodman said he was “mesmerised” by the routine.

It was a stunning moment for LGBTQ+ representation on US TV, coming at a time where the community, including drag queens, are enduring heinous attacks.

Following the performance, Shangela paid tribute to drag performers across the country, saying that “drag belongs everywhere,” and “people who want to live out their lives authentically belong everywhere”.

The star also took a moment to speak out about the devastating shooting at Colorado Springs’ Club Q, in which five people were murdered and at least 25 were injured by a gunman on Saturday (19 November).

“An attack on the LGBTQ community cannot be supported. This moment right now is about sharing more love and less hate. Hopefully, we can start celebrating each other’s differences” she said. “There is hope.”

Fans were in awe of the star’s performance, the visibility she brought to the stage and her decision to talk about the Club Q shooting. 

“On the heels of what happened this past weekend in Colorado, seeing Shangela perform on #DWTS was truly something magical,” one said. Queer visibility is SO important and tonight, many of us felt seen, felt represented and felt loved.”