Jojo Siwa and Her Partner Jenna Johnson Joining ‘Dancing With the Stars’ as First Same-Sex Couple
JoJo Siwa will compete in the show’s upcoming 30th season as part of the first same-sex pairing. Suni Lee, an Olympic gymnastics champion, has also joined the cast, with the rest announced on September 8. ABC announced Thursday that the celebrities would learn which professional dancer they will partner with on the season premiere on September 20.
The pop star who has stated that she identifies as lesbian and queer believes that the same-sex pairing conveys to viewers that it is OK to be yourself. Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, and Britt Stewart are among the usual pros she’d want to be paired with on the show.
“I think it smashes a wall that has never been broken before,” Jojo said at a Television Critics Association online conference. “It’s usual for a lady to dance with a guy, and I think it’s pretty wonderful, but it’s extremely amazing that now I get to share with the world that you not only get to love who you love, but you also get to dance with who you want to dance with.”
Siwa mentioned that she and her partner need to figure out who leads, how they dress, and what shoes they wear. “It’s going to give so much to folks out there, LGBTQ people, everyone, those who feel just a bit different,” she remarked. “I want to set a good example for those who come after me.”
Tyra Banks, the show’s host, informed Siwa that she was pleased with the girl and the show for allowing the match to happen. “I believe it will save lives,” Banks added. “I think it’s going to transform people’s lives, and it’s going to make a lot of noise, which is exactly what needs to be made.”
When she was originally approached, show officials inquired if she wanted to be partnered with a man or a woman, according to Siwa. She previously told her girlfriend, Kylie Prew, that her chemistry with her on-air co-star is entirely spiritual. “She was like, ‘Love, you’re going to be incredible,'” Siwa said. “She has been unfailingly supportive.”
The 18-year-old rose to prominence after appearing in a dance competition show hosted by Abby Lee Miller of “Dance Moms.” “I really want to perform really well,” she added, adding that she had been tanning every day. “As a child, I was scarred by having spray tans for dance competitions,” Siwa remarked.
Lee won the all-around competition, as well as silver and bronze medals, at the Tokyo Olympics. The Minnesota native will attend Auburn University online coursework while appearing on the Los Angeles-based show. “I can express myself, which is exciting because you can’t really do that in gymnastics, especially when you’re practicing for so much and it’s just a really stressful kind of environment,” Lee said. “I can’t wait to let free and have some fun.”
After missing the previous season, Len Goodman rejoins Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough on the judging panel. Banks returns for her second season after taking over for Tom Bergeron, whose legions of fans were critical of the former model’s performance. “Be angry and keep an eye on things,” Banks advised. “Change is difficult, but it is necessary. Change is required. We must keep evolving.”
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