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Bristol Palin talks up "Dancing with the Stars" gig

To the surprise of everyone who has been living under a flat rock since Thursday morning, "Dancing with the Stars's" biggest "get" for fall is Bristol Palin.

That group apparently includes "Good Morning America's" Robin Roberts, who stuck to her script -- even though word of Bristol's casting had been out since Thursday -- and told viewers on her news show five days later, "Say hello to the biggest surprise in the new 'Dancing with the Stars' lineup, Bristol Palin."

Actually the only surprise in Monday night's "Dancing" lineup reveal was the inclusion of "That's So Raven's" thespian Kyle Massey. His name was the only one that had not been floating around the rumor mill for days in advance of the unveiling.

The list, confirmed by ABC on-air Monday night also includes: pop singer Brandy; "Dirty Dancing's" all-grown-up Baby, Jennifer Grey; "Drop Dead Diva" super-assistant Margaret Cho; The Dumb One from "the Hills" Audrina Patridge; "Brady Bunch's" made-for-TV mom Florence Henderson; crooner Michael Bolton; "Jersey Shore's" Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino; faded "Baywatch" hunk David Hasselhoff; retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner; and ex-NBA player (and former Mr. Vanessa Williams) Rick Fox.

But, anyway, "GMA" had Bristol and their story was that her name being on the list was a big surprise and, by gum, they were sticking to it.

"When you got the phone call...what were you thinking? What did you think?" gushed Roberts, like she was talking to a convenience store clerk who'd just won a $10 million Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes, instead of the daughter of the woman who ran for Vice President of the United States in 2008 on the GOP ticket and is the subject of rampant speculation about her interest in a 2012 presidential bid.

"I was excited to jump on board and be part of something that's positive and fun," Bristol responded with poise.

"Did you ask your parents' advice? Or did you tell them, 'Hey, Mom, Dad, I'm going to be on "Dancing with the Stars".'," Roberts asked.

Bristol revealed she's given Sarah and Todd Palin "a little bit of a heads up: 'Hey, Mom, Dad, I signed a contract with "Dancing with the Stars" and I'm going down there in a few weeks'."

"You are 19. You don't have to ask permission. You can do what you want to do," Roberts said, as though sensing that either

a) Bristol needed reassuring.
b) Viewers needed reassuring that Sarah Palin had not arranged or endorsed the deal.

Seems Bristol told someone at "GMA" in a pre-show interview that she wanted people to see a different side of her on "Dancing."

"What did you mean?" Roberts asked her on-air.

"I want people to see this side of me, just my work ethic - and put my personality into this," Bristol explained.

Bristol's already spent a few days working with her professional dance partner Mark Ballas, who in seasons past has been assigned to make dancers out of primetime soap diva Shannen Doherty, faded tweener star Melissa Joan Hart, reality-TV royalty Kim Kardashian, former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, former Olympic ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi, and Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan.

Asked how those first few days had gone, Bristol said, "I am trying to coordinate myself and get some rhythm and stuff real quick."

"GMA" had not gotten the first interview with Bristol after Monday's announcement. Later that night, she had chatted with a correspondent from tabloid Radaronline, in which she was asked what she thought about her baby-daddy Levi Johnston having said she's going on "Dancing" to seek fame - like he meant it to sting.

"I haven't heard anything - I don't pay attention to tabloid stuff," Bristol said dismissively to - not to put too fine a point on it - the tabloid web site correspondent.

This from someone who, with Levi and their adorable son, Tripp, sat for a photo shoot with US Weekly and gushed "We're Getting Married!" -- and who, less than three weeks later, tearfully gave an interview to People Magazine in which she announced, "it's over," because, she told the magazine, the same day their US Weekly engagement announcement came out, Levi had told her he may have gotten another girl pregnant.

"I want to get in shape. I want to learn these dance moves and I want to step out of my comfort zone," Bristol told Radaronline, ticking off her non-fame-seeking reasons for going on the reality-competition series which these days is pulling in "American Idol"-sized crowds.

But Bristol's most revealing interview of all, since being named "Dancing's" New Big Get, was with an "intern" sent by Ryan Seacrest to talk to her after Monday's announcement.

"Bristol, congratulations on being on the cast, are you excited?" the intern (whose name, Seabiscuit said, is "Nelson") asked.

Bristol is excited.

"You revealed a little bit about moving to LA while the whole process is going through, right?" Intern Nelson asked.

No, she's going to do the show from Alaska, Nelson. Geesh.

"Bristol confirmed she is going to do the dance competition, which is held twice a year in Los Angeles, from Los Angeles.

"Ok, LA is a very crazy town," Intern Nelson said, now that he was sure of his facts.

"Very interesting things always going on over here. Is there anything exciting that you want explore out here?"

"I want to go to the beach while I'm here, I want to take my son to Disneyland, and I just want to have a good time," Bristol confided.

Intern Nelson insisted she "hit up" a Pink's hot dog while in town.

She agreed to do that little thing.

"You did do a little bit of acting on 'The Secret Life of a Teenage...' 'of American Teenage...'"," Intern Nelson said, struggling to remember the one fact with which he'd come armed for this career-making interview.

" 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager'," Bristol jumped in helpfully.

"Are we going to see any more acting from you?" Intern Nelson finished, gratefully.

"I doubt it. Acting is just not me at all," said Bristol.

We saw her performance. She's speaking the absolute truth.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  August 31, 2010; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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