THE TV COLUMN
'Dancing' up a political storm: Bristol Palin's feet have yet to meet defeat
Monday, November 22, 2010
With just one more night of competition to go before we find out if Bristol Palin wins the hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy, the executive producer of "Dancing With the Stars" insists the show's security system is catching and expunging all those votes for her that are being cast by people using bogus e-mail addresses to game the voting system.
On the other hand, the executive producer, Conrad Green, also insists he's shocked - shocked - to discover the Palin family could have such a polarizing effect on the American public, over a simple little dance-competition show.
Meanwhile, a conservative blogger who's taking credit for the e-mail voting shenanigans, says he orchestrated the whole thing to pay back Democrats for years of voter fraud at the polls.
And Bristol's mom, Sarah, last week tried to capitalize on the size of her daughter's audience to boost ratings for her own, far less popular reality series, TLC's "Sarah Palin's Alaska."
These are just the latest headlines in our ongoing coverage of "Dancing With the Stars": Decision 2010: America at a Crossroads: The Final Countdown.
"I had no reasons to believe this would happen," Green told the TV Column late last week of the kerfuffle that has erupted over Bristol Palin, who is the weakest dancer in the competition according to the scores she's receiving from the show's professional ballroom dance judges but who has outlasted far more accomplished performers in this season's competition.
"It's been illuminating," Green said, adding: "A lot of this is timing - it's a particularly bad time in American politics. I love that people are being passionate but sad so many people are angry. . . . I don't want to anger our audience."
"That was never my intention" in casting Bristol on the show, he added, exuding sadness.
Take away Bristol's family name and her journey on the show is similar to that of underdogs who have been unlikely survivors in seasons past, Green insisted. "But this year "everybody got a bit mad about it."
"I feel sorry for Bristol - she shouldn't have to be doing this under this scrutiny," continued Green - the guy who is, in fact, orchestrating a lot of Bristol's discomfort.
Just last week, for instance, Green decided Bristol would be one of the last two "stars" to learn whether they had survived to the final round of competition on Tuesday's results show.
Show host Tom Bergeron or his sidekick Brooke Burke are careful each week to tell viewers that the two final dancers awaiting their fate on stage toward the end of results night are not necessarily the two lowest scoring competitors. The producer decides who will be left standing up onstage with the dancer about to get the hook.