Some “Dancing With the Stars” fans are seeing red after the season 31 finale, specifically relating to the freestyle from pro dancer Gleb Savchenko and his partner Shangela.
Here’s why some fans are so angry and what other fans are saying in support of the couple that took fourth place:
Some Fans Were Hating on Shangela & Gleb Savchenko’s Freestyle, Calling It a ‘Disgrace’
Some “Dancing With the Stars” fans were up in arms about the show not only featuring a drag queen as a contestant this season, but pro dancer Savchenko appearing in drag for their finale freestyle.
One fan wrote on Instagram, “It used to be such a wholesome show. I’m glad I don’t have the indoctrinated Disney Channel.”
“This is not family friendly,” wrote a second fan, to which another fan replied, “What’s not family friendly is h-8. And that’s all you seem willing to share. The door is this way —->🚪. Exit and have a fabulous night! Halleloo!”
Some fans were equating the drag element to “grooming” and “targeting” children — though as PBS News Hour points out, this is a “false rhetoric” used by opponents of drag so they can “cast themselves as saviors of children” and frame people who disagree with them as “taking the side of child abusers.”
One fan simply wrote, “A disgrace to the ballroom … That performance did not belong on that show while being broadcasted by Disney. That’s called grooming if you didn’t already know.”
On Facebook, one fan said she “can’t” watch the show with her daughter anymore because of this, writing, “LGBTQ NEEDS TO STOP TARGETING CHILDREN.”
Several fans on Facebook thought this was “Dancing With the Stars” pushing an “agenda,” which they called a “new low” for the show, and said that the pushing of said agenda is why Savchenko and Shangela didn’t win.
“Disgrace to women dancers … that’s why they didn’t win, because most of us are sick and tired of the agendas being pushed down our throats,” wrote one commenter on Facebook.
“So disgusted with this season, the show has always been about dancing with your partner and how well you work together but yet they give Shangela her own little episode and part. Nothing like trying to push the whole drag on to everyone is totally took away from ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” wrote a second fan.
A third fan added, “That was a new low for DWTS. What a disappointment this show has become.”
One fan vowed to stop watching, writing, “Won’t be watching this show again ever! What a joke and insult to ‘Dancing With the Stars!'”
Savchenko appearing in drag was not the first time haters have come out to say that they are upset with this pairing. After the cast was announced in September 2022, some fans took to social media to say they were boycotting the show because of Savchenko and Shangela being paired together.
Many Fans Thought Savchenko & Shangela Had the Best Freestyle of the Night & Praised Savchenko Embracing Shangela & Drag
The negative comments on social media seemed to be eclipsed by the supportive comments. A lot of fans thought this was the best freestyle of the night and said they were proud of the message the show and its performers are sending.
One fan on Instagram wrote, “I just wanna say I am proud of the people sending positive messages and not hate speeches, ’cause if someone is low enough to send a hate speech among another living person for their sexuality and personality….geez someone must have really hurt you when you was a kid. So again thank you to everyone for being positive and not negative, it means a lot to me just ’cause I am an LGBTQ person, so again lots of thanks to the positive people.”
Another fan wrote, “Thank you so much DWTS truly bringing diversity and drag to main stream television on Disney!!! YES!! YES!!!! That is beyond awesome!!!! My 10 yr old thought nothin of it and she loved it and Shangela!!! Yes Gleb for showing that real men are accepting of authenticity of whomever men want to be. Representation matters!!!! Acceptance and normalizing our differences matter. Thank you! Also this freestyle was friggen off the hook amazing. Love you Shangela and your bright joyous light!!!”
“I am so proud of Gleb. This is something I never would have seen him doing. Shangela brought out the best in him. I hope they win [for sure] now!,” wrote a third fan.
One fan simply gushed, “LITERALLY THE BEST THING I’VE EVER LAID MY EYES ON.”
Fans were also full of praise on Facebook. One poster wrote, “What a phenomenal season, I really have loved these two from start to finish! @itsshangela is a ray of light and what she brought to the table this season was do remarkable. I have loved everything she and @glebsavchenkoofficial have brought us!”
As far as Savchenko goes, he posted a lovely tribute to his partner on Instagram after the finale, writing, “What a ride I must say! @itsshangela first of all it’s your birthday babes HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🥳 I’m so so proud of you, you killed it every week and also took me into your world and created Natasha! So much respect goes to all the drag queens out there. You guys are true artists and what you do is absolutely beautiful and inspirational. Thank you all for your love and support and getting us into this finale. Till next time… 💕.”
“Dancing With the Stars” returns for its 32nd season in 2023.