Monday night’s episode of Dancing With the Stars—the first of a two-part season finale—featured the usual updated takes on classic dances like the foxtrot and the quickstep. But the show, and presumably much of its audience, was treated to something fantastically fresh and very queer when special guest performers Who Is Fancy, Ariana Grande, and Meghan Trainor took the floor to perform Fancy’s soulful new single “Boys Like You.”
The song, which features verses and sexy harmonies from all three singers, details their shared penchant for crossing lines and breaking rules to get at a certain kind of boy. That a desire for men is spread equally in the lyrics among a gay man and straight women is already progressive, but add a phalanx of handsome, suspendered DWTS dancers to the mix—as well as Fancy’s femme self-stylings (werk that caftan!) and sultry affect—and you’ve got the makings of a breathtakingly queer performance. While DWTS came under criticism last week for reportedly denying the choreographer’s request for full-blown same-sex dancing in the number, “Boys Like You” still managed to be plenty subversive. Instead of presenting male same-sex desire as a special case, the show put it on equal footing with opposite-sex lust—and, perhaps even better, held up men to the same kind of erotic gaze that women endure constantly in pop culture whether they want it or not. Good on DWTS for trusting their audience to handle a truly queer presentation, and a huge congrats to Who Is Fancy for the premiere. He earned at least one new fan last night, and I suspect I’m not the only one.