Edward Schumacher-Matos: Will Palin Power triumph?
Will America come to its senses? The nation's future is at stake, and yet the country insists on voting for Palin. Not Sarah. Bristol. In "Dancing With the Stars." But if the voting of these past several months is any indication of Palin Power, Sarah is a shoe-in for whatever she is running for, too.
You can turn your nose up at TV spectacle, but I love dance. Okay, I'm Latin, but surely the ability to get a groove on reflects the state of a nation at least as much as nuclear deterrent policy. So for me it has been disillusioning to see how week after week Bristol Palin has defied the votes of the judges (read: Washington policy wonks) to be passed on to the next round by the voting public.
By Monday night, Bristol was in the finals, which will finish Tuesday. The two other contestants are a charismatic young black man (sound familiar?) named Kyle Massey and Jennifer Grey, star of the 1987 classic film, "Dirty Dancing." (How can you not get goosebumps watching Gray and Patrick Swayze bump and grind to Time of My Life? The climax is her daredevil jump and lift by him before her awe-struck parents. American grit and true family values. See what I mean about dancing?)
Anyway, young Palin's mother has been in the studio audience for her daughter, too. Let's not be catty about the free publicity of being on a show that may have the largest viewership of anything on television this week. The Palins have their own sense of family values.
The bigger problem for me is this: Bristol can't dance.
No, that's not journalistically fair. After many weeks of training by her brave partner, Mark Ballas, Bristol, who has little sense of rhythm, suddenly showed a flash of fun and movement in a jive number Monday night. But then in a rendition of He Had It Comin' from "Chicago," she reverted to her largely flat, heavy-legged form.
The judges were kind and gave her a total score of 52, putting her third behind Massey's 56 and Grey's perfect 60. But no matter. The judges' votes count for only half the final score. Public phone-in votes count for the other half, and it seems that many of Mama Grizzly's political fans like dance, too. Young Palin has almost always been near the bottom of the judge's rankings each week, but the public votes strongly for her. Who knew that Tea Partyers were into ballroom partying, too?
By all rights, Grey should win. I guess that makes her the Hillary character in this cliffhanger. Grey should even get the sympathy vote. No, not because of a man or a nose job nearly 20 years ago that threw her career off track. Rather, before attempting a comeback on the dance show, she had a cancerous tumor removed from her thyroid and a titanium plate put in her neck to correct a spinal injury from a terrible 1987 car accident. Even more importantly, with her partner Derek Hough, she absolutely nailed a paso doble from "Carmen" and was electrifying again in freestyling to the Contours' Do You Love Me (Now that I Can Dance), from, yes, "Dirty Dancing."
Oh, Baby, we do love you. (Wikipedia Jennifer Grey if you don't get the reference.)
But back to the political play. If Grey wins, should we prepare for Hillary in 2012?