The singer, who has become incredibly successful as a singer and merchandizer, will be paired with a female professional dancer on the upcoming season. Olympian gymnast Suni Lee, also 18, will become a contestant this year.
“It’s really special that not only now do I get to share with the world that you get to love who you want to love, but also you get a dance with whom you want to dance,” Siwa said. “There’s a lot of barriers that we’re going to have to break through — who leads, how do you dress, what shoes do you wear? But I think it’s all something that I’m looking forward to. 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.”
Siwa added that when she received the email asking her to be a part of the show, she was asked if she wanted to be partnered with a man or a woman. It was her choice to dance with a woman. “I want to make it OK for the people who come after me,” she said. “I want to make everything OK for the people who come after me.”
GLAAD praised Siwa for “using her platform to inspire and uplift the LGBTQ community,” and the show for making the historic move.
“The show has such a wide, far-reaching audience and there is a real opportunity here for people to celebrate the same-sex pairing and root for JoJo and all LGBTQ young people,” Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s head of talent, said.
Lee, a three-time Olympic medalist, and Siwa will both appear on “Good Morning America” for their first sit-down interview Friday ahead of the choreographed dance competition show’s premiere on Monday, Sept. 20.
The remainder of Season 30’s lineup will be revealed Sept. 8. The “Dancing With the Stars” contestants will be judged by a panel of ballroom experts, including Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough.
During its fall 2020 run, former “Bachelorette” star Kaitlyn Bristowe and her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev won the Mirrorball trophy. Other contestants featured included “Catfish” creator Nev Schulman, “One Day at a Time” star Justina Machado, musician Nelly, Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean, Netflix’s “Cheer” head coach Monica Aldama, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, Super Bowl champion Vernon Davis, Disney Channel star Skai Jackson, NBA player Charles Oakley, actress Anne Heche, “The Real” host Jeannie Mai, “Selling Sunset” real estate agent Chrishell Stause and Carole Baskin of Netflix’s “Tiger King.” The show ranked as the No. 1 entertainment series in its two-hour primetime slot among adults ages 18-49 that season and finished among last season’s top five most-watched unscripted series with total viewers.
Tyra Banks will return to emcee “Dancing With the Stars” after replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews for Season 29. She also executive produces along with Andrew Llinares.