The TV Column: Bristol Palin to be on 'Dancing With the Stars'

This season's competition and finale.
By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bristol Palin agreed to join ABC's dance competition series "Dancing With the Stars" to get out of Alaska and to get in shape, she said during a whirlwind of interviews Monday night and Tuesday morning.

"When you got the phone call . . . what were you thinking?" Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America" gushed at Bristol Tuesday morning, as though she were talking to a convenience store clerk who'd just won a $10 million Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, instead of the daughter of the woman who ran for vice president of the United States in 2008 on the GOP ticket and is the subject of rampant speculation about her interest in a 2012 presidential bid.

Bristol responded coolly that she was "excited" to "be part of something that's positive and fun."

"Did you ask your parents' advice? Or did you tell them, 'Hey, Mom, Dad, I'm going to be on "Dancing with the Stars" '?" Roberts asked.

Bristol revealed she gave Sarah and Todd Palin "a little bit of a heads-up: 'Hey, Mom, Dad, I signed a contract with "Dancing With the Stars" and I'm going down there in a few weeks.' "

"You are 19. You don't have to ask permission. You can do what you want to do," Roberts said, as though sensing that either:

(a) Bristol needed reassuring.

(b) Viewers needed reassuring that Sarah Palin had not arranged or endorsed the deal.

But "GMA" had not snagged the first interview with Bristol after Monday's announcement. Immediately after "Dancing" ringmaster Tom Bergeron announced the entire new lineup, he and a select group of invited reporters from celebrity suck-up shows got to put questions to the new celebrity hoofers, including: pop singer Brandy; "Dirty Dancing's" all-grown-up Baby, Jennifer Grey; "Drop Dead Diva" super-assistant Margaret Cho; The Dumb One from "The Hills," Audrina Patridge; "The Brady Bunch's" made-for-TV mom, Florence Henderson; faded "Baywatch" hunk David Hasselhoff; retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner; ex-NBA player (and former Mr. Vanessa Williams) Rick Fox; and "That's So Raven" kid brother Kyle Massey. (Crooner Michael Bolton and "Jersey Shore's" Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino could not attend Monday's cast unveiling, though they, too, have agreed to put on spangly outfits and pasodoble for ratings on ABC this fall.)

"What made you decide to do this?" Bergeron asked Palin.

"I wanted to get out of Alaska for a few weeks," Bristol said, adding, "I just wanted to get in shape and have a good time."

Reality TV star and former "Dancing With the Stars" celebrity Kate Gosselin was in the audience, but explained she was attending not in her capacity as "Dancing's" worst dancer ever, or even as America's Most Put-Upon Mom, but as a working journalist.

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