Entertainment behind the scenes
Could Bristol Palin win “Dancing with the Stars”?
After more twists than an Argentine tango, “Dancing with the Stars” reaches it climax this week with Bristol Palin on course to pull off what could be a stunning win in the grand finale of the ballroom dancing TV show.
Although “Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey is considered the best dancer of the final three celebrities, fans of Sarah Palin’s oldest daughter have made clear through their votes over the past six weeks that the show, like “American Idol”, is as much about popularity as sheer talent.
Which is why Bristol, the 20 year-old single mom from Alaska, has a real shot at taking the coveted mirror ball trophy back to Wasilla, Alaska on Tuesday, and becoming the most controversial winner of the U.S. TV contest in its five-year history.
And here’s why: passionate fans make zealous voters and e-mailers in contests where the outcome is ultimately in the hands of the public. Just look at Justin Bieber’s take-over of the American Music Awards on Sunday in a contest that was also determined by fan votes.
Bristol’s celebrity rivals may be better dancers (Grey), and have more engaging personalities (Disney star Kyle Massey), and if the history of the past seven weeks is anything to go by, both will score higher marks from the judges on Monday night. But will their fans pick up the phone and vote or e-mail five time each for Jennifer or Kyle ?
Here’s what professional dancer Karina Smirnoff had to say on Monday. “This season has proven it is not a dance competition only. With Jennifer we have the strongest dancer, with Kyle we have the strongest personality and then with Bristol we have the best journey. She literally drove five days in her own car to get here and learn how to dance. Fans develop a relationship with these people each week,” Smirnoff told People magazine.
Sure Bristol, and her mother, aren’t universally loved by Americans. The white powder scare on Friday that turned out to be talcum powder mailed to the DWTS Los Angeles studio, and the Wisconsin man who shot up his TV last week, are testament to some of the more extreme negative passions the Palin family provokes.
But the publicity given to those two incidents alone could work in Bristol’s favor in terms of awaking a possible sympathy vote by a public that showed its pro-Palin muscle in recent U.S. Congressional elections, and in tuning in to the new reality TV show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”.
With DWTS judges scores counting for 50 percent of the votes, the outcome is in the hands (or cellphones) of the show’s 20 million or so viewers. And as producers say, if you don’t bother to vote, don’t bother to complain about the result.