'DWTS' finale: Shangela calls LGBTQ club shooting a 'tragedy,' Charli D'Amelio takes home trophy
While competing in the finale of Disney+'s "Dancing With the Stars," performer Shangela, the first drag queen to compete on the show, condemned Saturday's mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado and called for "sharing more love and less hate."
D.J. "Shangela" Pierce, 40, also the first male celebrity contestant paired with a male pro dancer, made the comments after the first dance in Monday's 31st season finale.
"The emotions have been heavy because there's a lot going on in our world, in our country. There was a mass shooting; a horrible tragedy that happened in Colorado Springs," Shangela said on "DWTS," two nights after an assailant killed five people and injured 25 at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub.
Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, is being held without bond and may be charged with five counts of murder and five counts of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.
"Baby let me tell you, an attack on the LGBTQ community cannot be supported," Shangela said.
Colorado Springs shooting:Suspect faces 5 counts of murder, hate crimes
'Drag Race' star Shangela: Makes 'Dancing With the Stars' history starting competition
Shangela, who uses she/her pronouns when performing in drag, gave condolences to "everyone whose lives were lost and who have been affected. But I want you to know there is hope. Hopefully, we can start celebrating each other's differences."
The former competitor on "RuPaul's Drag Race" followed up her words by performing "a fabulous drag experience" for the show's final freestyle number.
"Honey, they ain't never seen a show like this on 'Dancing With the Stars,'" Shangela said in the video presenting the dance. "Baby, a show is about to begin."
After a dramatic Shangela solo entrance, a voice-over announcer proclaimed, "Shangela, it's time to dance for your life."
The celebratory, energetic dance featured a floor full of drag performers, including the unveiling of Shangela's partner pro dancer partner, Gleb Savchenko. The Russian-American dancer danced into the number in drag, introduced as Natasha. It ended with Shangela and Natasha falling to the floor in a symbolic "death drop."
The studio audience gave an enthusiastic standing ovation and the judges raved with straight 10 scores for the performance.
"When you dance you transform generations and the idea of what is possible in life. You are inspiring," said judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who complimented Natasha for "looking fierce."
"We have never seen something like that on this show before. That was wild," said judge Derek Hough. "I cannot imagine a better way to end the season."
Shangela said in the post-dance interview that drag belongs "everywhere," not just in the ballroom dance competition.
"People who want to live out their lives authentically belong everywhere," Shangela said. "We promised a show, and we gave you a show."
Who won 'DWTS'? Charli D'Amelio, Mark Ballas take home trophy
Even with the high dance scores, which are combined with viewer votes, Shangela and Savchenko were the first eliminated in the finals, landing in fourth place. Singer Wayne Brady and pro partner Witney Carson took third.
Calling it "one of the closest finales in the show's history," host Tyra Banks announced the winner: TikTok star Charli D’Amelio (with partner Mark Ballas), who beat "Bachelorette" Gabby Windey (with partner Val Chmerkovskiy).
D’Amelio, an 18-year-old competitive dancer, thanked her reality star mother Heidi D’Amelio, who had also competed on "DWTS" Season 31.
"Thank you for helping me every step of the way," said Charli. "It was such an honor to do this with you."
'DWTS' says farewell to judge Len Goodman, dancer Cheryl Burke
The finale was all about goodbyes. Dancer Cheryl Burke performed her final dance after announcing she was leaving the show after 26 seasons.
The remaining judges waved "10" paddles in respect and presented departing judge Len Goodman with a special mirrorball trophy on Monday's finale. Goodman, who announced on last week's show that he was leaving after 17 years, said he had a reputation for being "the tough judge" since starting the show.
But he was overwhelmed by the mirrorball trophy and the overwhelming support from cast members and past contestants expressed in a farewell video.
"I'm amazed. I got so many boos during the season, and yet here they are spreading the love," said Goodman, calling his trophy "an absolute cherry on top. I've had such a wonderful time."