Ask any member of the self-proclaimed "Boo Crew" — the fanbase surrounding Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby — and they will tell you the same thing: He deserves to win "Dancing With The Stars."
It doesn't matter if he's not the best dancer on show, which is in its 30th season. Or that for one week of the competition, Rigsby had to do one of his routines remotely from his New York apartment because he and his dancing partner, Cheryl Burke, contracted breakthrough cases of Covid-19. Some are so passionate about Rigsby that they even began tuning in to "DWTS" for the first time.
"I think the Boo Crew is passionate because ... Cody motivates and influences his fans," said Fayola Goldstone, 43, a real estate agent in Tampa, Florida. "When people are moved, there is more action (hence the voting) and that ripple effect is immeasurable and invaluable."
But last week, Rigsby's fervent followers found themselves on the defensive as "DWTS" fans expressed their outrage over the Peloton star making it to the finale, which airs Monday. Especially because other fan favorites, including Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee and her partner Sasha Farber, as well as actor Melora Hardin and her partner Artem Chigvintsev, were voted off.
"Are peloton users in a cult??? What's going on??? Cody over Suni???" one user wrote after last week's eliminations.
"PELOTON GANG focus on riding your bikes so CODY can finally go home tonight ok?" another user wrote.
“I can see why people are mad, but it's fair and square voting and it's not like he’s [Rigsby] bad," said Mercedes Bashford, 33.
The teacher, who is based in Huntsville, Alabama, said every week she votes for Rigsby as many times as she is allowed. She has also persuaded her husband to vote.
"Cody deserves all the support from Peloton because of what he has done for so many people," she said. "He’s come a long way [this season] ... He talks about challenges in his classes, and he is leading by example."
Of course, Rigsby's fans aren't members of a cult, or a gang. But they get why you may think that.
"I’ve often heard comparisons and jokes about Peloton being a cult and I always giggle," said Katte Boyd, 33, who is a Los Angeles-based HR specialist. She said she had "never even seen 10 seconds of one episode" before Rigsby was on.
"Pelotoners in general are passionate about the bike and community," she added. "But I feel that we are especially passionate about showing everyone how much we support each other, and this is just one simple way to show it."
Rigsby's Boo Crew does love him — a lot. There are Facebook groups and Reddit posts dedicated to him, as well as TikTok videos and YouTube highlight reels. Some even make and sell merchandise featuring his catchphrases on sites such as Etsy.
Fabby Miller, 39, and her husband even dressed up as Rigsby and Burke for Halloween. Their toddler was the mirrorball trophy, aka what the "DWTS" champions get to take home. Rigsby shared the photo after she posted it on her Instagram page.
"I wanted to manifest Cody and Cheryl taking it all the way to the finals and taking the trophy home," she said of her costume inspiration.
Miller, a Los Angeles-based business owner and esthetician, also had never tuned in to the show before Rigsby was announced as a contestant for this season.
"To be able to see Cody in a different element was something I would not miss for the world," she said.
What she loves about Rigsby is that "he does not apologize for being who he is. He doesn’t bring it down a notch," she said.
When asked by NBC News what they think of the outrage surrounding Rigsby, many fans interviewed simply quoted back the Peloton instructor himself, who often says:
"It's not that deep boo."
On Monday night, Rigsby and Burke will face off against three other teams: JoJo Siwa, the first contestant to dance with a same-sex partner, and partner Jenna Johnson, a five-year “DWTS” vet; Iman Shumpert and partner Daniella Karagach; and Amanda Kloots and partner Alan Bersten.