The Mystery of Bristol Palin

We were at a dance Saturday night, sitting at a table with eight other fans of Dancing With The Stars, and someone observed that they were surprised that Bristol Palin was still on the show. The consensus was that Bristol’s fan base had kept her in the competition long after her skill ceased to do so.

It is ironic that the one person who really, really seems to want to go home can’t do so. Bristol is obviously uncomfortable in this setting – and who can blame her? She may be the only “celebrity” in the history of the show who isn’t actually a celebrity: she’s not an actor, entertainer, athlete, or politician. Her public appearances have been limited to sitting on stage with her famous mom, or to giving talks to various groups about preventing teen pregnancy. In short, she’s a perfect candidate for a show like DWTS, but one who is all too rare.

I know she’s homesick, and appears to not really covet the spotlight, but there is some incentive for her to stay on the show as long as possible. The celebrity paychecks increase the further into the season they get, with those who make the final show pocketing a reported $350,000 for the season. I’m sure Bristol isn’t hurting for money, but I would also guess that being able to earn a third of a million dollars on her own would be an affirming accomplishment for any young woman in her circumstances. As an advocate for a specific social cause, the publicity she’s gaining is simply priceless. And, finally, the longer she remains, the better paid is her dance partner, Mark Ballas (the professionals earn a reported $5,000 per episode).

Strange as it may be, while she has no chance of winning, Bristol has a shot at making the final three. Her skills aren’t that far behind those of Kurt Warner, and I think her fan base is much larger than Kyle Massey’s. So, we could be headed for an all-female DWTS finale, with one of those finalists being the longest of shots.

I’m not sure who comprises Bristol’s fan base, but I disagree with some who think it’s Tea Party support that’s keeping her on the show. What do you think?


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