Like a grizzly bear to a salmon, last night the Bristol train destroyed the presumptive favorite.
When we spoke to Videogum‘s Gabe Delahaye about how Dancing With The Stars is America’s bipartisan hit a few weeks ago, he brought up an interesting point: Bristol Palin, the Alaskan teen mom whose absurd dances have been the high point of this season, probably has the most aisle-straddling appeal of all this year’s contestants. Conservatives, he explained, can root for a likable, unglamorous girl on a journey of transformation; liberals get to make fun of Sarah Palin’s daughter who’s bad at dancing.
So it shouldn’t be really a surprise that Palin made it into the finals — after all, we’ve been predicting it for weeks. But dangit if the way she did it didn’t give us pause: by sneaking in over ’90s R&B star Brandy, whose sensuously athletic routine Monday night earned a perfect score. We’ve praised Bristol’s unforced charm in the past, but we’re on the verge of revolting. As Tom Bergeron notes, this is the latest in a long line of dancers being voted off the night after they have their best performance of the season; does anyone doubt that the Bristol train is to blame? Watch Bristol’s partner Mark Ballas’ reaction in the clip above: Even he knows they probably shouldn’t be going to the finals.
As Amanda Marcotte notes, Bristol’s continued success on the show points to a concerted effort by a certain type of political cheerleader anxious to have one of “their people” stick it to Hollywood. What was once innocent fun has curdled into a stale, sad culture war battle we’ve seen too many times before. It’s not going to make us mad enough to shoot our TV, as one Wisconsin man did earlier this week, but it is enough for us to hop off the Bristol train before it arrives at its ultimate destination.