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Charli D’Amelio’s Dancing with the Stars debut was huge thanks to her TikTok flair

She won first place with the choreography

TikTok star Charli D’Amelio dancing the Cha-Cha to Megan Thee Stallion’s Savage on Dancing with the Stars Photo: ABC/Eric McCandless
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Dancing with the Stars kicked off the competition for its 31st season last night and while the show brought its usual star-studded lineup, one competitor stood out. Charli D’Amelio, who made her name by creating viral dance videos on TikTok, made her DWTS competition debut. She danced the cha-cha to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” in a glittering red dress and absolutely owned it, thanks to a bit of TikTok magic.

She danced with Mark Ballas, who created a choreography that perfectly infused traditional cha-cha steps with a TikTok flair. In the beginning of the choreo, D’Amelio starts off by staring at her phone until she looks up and steps confidently towards the main stage. The two danced to a remixed version of the track “Savage,” which is an homage to one of the many dance trends that shot her to fame in her earlier days on TikTok. D’Amelio also brings a background as a competitive dancer to the show.


throwback @charlidamelio

♬ Savage - Megan Thee Stallion

It was a cheeky and smart way to go, since it likely helped mobilize her giant social media following on the video sharing app. At time of publication, D’Amelio’s account is the second most-followed on the app, with more than 147 million followers. After the episodes, fans flooded the app with videos of her performance, and D’Amelio ended up taking first place that night.

Charli isn’t the only D’Amelio hitting the stage this season. She joined by her mom, Heidi D’Amelio, on this season of DWTS. You can watch both of them compete on Disney Plus.

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