Against all odds, a seasoned competitive dancer at the top of her form with over 100 million followers won a partially audience-vote-based dancing competition. On November 21, Charli D’Amelio took home the Mirrorball Trophy on the finale of Dancing With the Stars season 31. The live finale aired on Disney+ and featured D’Amelio and her dance partner Mark Ballas beating out fellow finalists Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy, Wayne Brady and Witney Carson, and Shangela and Gleb Savchenko. For a show that often lines its cast with reality-TV personalities, former boy-band members, and stunt-cast Republicans, 18-year-old multi-platform superstar D’Amelio was a very good get, and one the show didn’t squander. D’Amelio was paired with pro dancer Mark Ballas, who returned to the show this season after a five-year absence. “I didn’t know what to think,” D’Amelio told ET after the finale. “It happened so fast!”
Sure, D’Amelio took home the prize, but it was Shangela who owned the finale with her stunt-filled performance. The first drag queen to compete on American DWTS, Shangela fittingly had a costume reveal, a crispy-chicken callback, aerial stunts, a G-rated edit of “Call Me Mother,” and guest appearances by Eureka O’Hara and Laganja Estranja. Best of all, Gleb performed in drag alongside her as his new alter ego, “Natasha.” The celebratory, singular performance couldn’t have come at a better time, and was proof of concept that we need more queens performing on a Disney+ budget.
But at the end of the day, no single performance this season could overshadow the gloriously depraved nightmare fuel that D’Amelio served innocent viewers on Disney Week:
Shangela robbed yet again, we fear.