Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Bristol Palin effect

Last night on Dancing with the Stars, Bristol Palin advanced to the finals! Quite an accomplishment for a girl who wasn't expected to make it past the first week. And the big question is why? or rather how?

In case you haven't watched Bristol dance, it's clear she is no Ginger Rogers. She's not even a Lil Kim. She's probably more like a Kim Kardashian only without the t.v. experience.

Still there's something likeable about the girl.  She wasn't afraid to come out and have a little fun at her famous mom's expense. Twice.  All of that was good natured and fun.  Mom, Sarah Palin has made several appearances in the ballroom to support her daughter.

But what endeared me to the girl was the weeks she came out in a monkey suit for her jive routine.  Clearly this wasn't a young lady who was afraid to take some chances and even poke a little fun at herself. And she has made improvements. Her routine in the semi-finals this week was much better than her earlier routines.

So we have a nice girl, trying something new in the public eye, making improvements. But that's not enough to keep her in the competition is it? 

I think I've said here and in other places, Dancing with the Stars is not solely a dancing competition.  It is also a popularity contest.  That was made clear in season 1 when Kelly Monaco beat out the more talented but older John O'Hurley.  It was reiterated in season 5 when the perky Sabrina Bryant went home weeks before the clearly less talented Marie Osmond.  Like it or not, both of those contests were determined by who had the bigger fan base.

However, this is the first time in all the seasons that someone with clearly very limited dance appeal has made it to the finals. Last night the beautiful and talented Brandy was sent home - I'll admit that I cried along with her.  But I voted for Bristol.

I voted for her because I think she's a wonderful underdog.
I voted for her because she seems to handle the stress so gracefully.
I voted for her because every week she's on she makes more money to support herself and her son.
and I voted for her because it drives these folks nuts!

Do I also think it's the tea party folks flexing some muscle - you betcha!




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