After 29 seasons of only allowing opposite-sex pairings to compete, the U.S. version of ABC’s hit dance competition Dancing with the Stars featured a same-sex pairing for the first time ever last night.
Teen pop star JoJo Siwa and dance partner Jenna Johnson performed a quickstep to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” for the season 30 premiere of the long-running show.
The women earned 29 points for their routine, the highest score of the night.
“I can’t even believe that week 1 is over!!!” Siwa wrote on Instagram, adding that she “couldn’t ask for a better partner” than Johnson.
“Making history and Top score of the night was literally a dream come true for me,” she wrote. “Chase every dream you have and believe in yourself.”
Fans on social media loved the historic dance number.
The first same sex pairing on #dwts.
My almost 5 year old niece adores Jojo Siwa.
As her Uncle it warms my heart knowing she is seeing this type of example that I didn't have as much as a kid. A young idol spreading love, acceptance, and equality. 🌈#DWTS30 pic.twitter.com/XMGc0r5DEv
— klay (@ghostklay) September 21, 2021
— Nicolette NuVogue (@NikkiNuVogue) September 21, 2021
— @Splash Lights Photos (Back in the Game For Now) (@Two_Cams25) September 21, 2021
— 💙 (@TeamWitMiz) September 21, 2021
— Marissa (@MarissaSaysWhat) September 21, 2021
The show involves pairing celebrities with trained dancers to learn and perform choreographed routines, getting points from the judges and votes from the audience. The pair with the lowest combined score and votes gets eliminated the week after their last performance.
Siwa is not the first LGBTQ person featured on the show. Olympic figure skaters Adam Rippon and Johnny Weir, fashion commentator Carson Kressley, tennis player Martina Navratilova, singer Lance Bass, and comedian Margaret Cho have all competed on Dancing with the Stars, but they were all paired with an opposite-sex dancer.
The show is broadcast during primetime on a network channel, getting millions – and sometimes tens of millions – of viewers who might not see much LGBTQ content on a regular basis.
“It’s going to be tricky, but it’s going to give so much to people out there — people of the LGBTQ community, people who feel just a little different. It’s going to give them a sense of happiness,” said Siwa when her appearance on the show was announced.
Siwa is a kids-pop sensation, known for her appearances on reality television shows like Lifetime’s Dance Moms, her hit songs directed at a younger audience like “Boomerang,” and her positive presence on social media. She came out earlier this year and later introduced the world to her girlfriend.