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'Dancing with Stars': quick steps, Sarah Palin -- and Great Booing Debate

[This blog post has been updated]

* Photos: cast of 'Dancing With the Stars' *
* Video: Was Palin booed? Watch clip and vote in poll. *

Did the "Dancing with the Stars" audience give former Alaska Governor/TLC reality-series star/Fox News Commentator Sarah Palin the raspberry Monday night?

Week 2 of "Dancing with the Stars" forces celebrities to choose between the jive and the quickstep while, backstage, co-host Brooke Burke, dressed in some clingy, gravity defying, inky blue gown, spends the night expressing her shock and awe over your decision to reject David Hasselhoff the very first week of this season.

Sarah Palin, who we'd expected for last week's season debut, is in the audience this week to watch her daughter, Bristol, perform.

Former Alaska governor took a seat in front row of last night's "Dancing with the Stars" when the raspberries began. (AP)

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, "Dancing" host Tom Bergeron told ABC late night star Jimmy Kimmel he's "mostly" convinced the audience had been booing the judges, not Sarah Palin, mirroring the "guess" of the show's exec producer on the phone to the TV Column late Monday night.

The Great Dancing Booing Debate started when former "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey opted to jive, to "Shake It." Which she did. And then some. While dressed in one of those non-modest numbers for which "Dancing" is so well known -- in Grey's case, a gold eyelet fringe micro-mini-skirted dress -- short on fabric, long on skin.

After performing and getting comments from the judges, Grey and Hough go backstage for the traditional blah-blah-blah with Brooke.

The judges scores are read off: Grey gets a hefty 24 points out of 30.

Grey and Hough hug.
"How does that feel?!" Brooke emotes.

"We're exhausted, but it was a lot of fun," Derek responds happily.

Cue the boos

Brooke turns to the audience and warns them that without their votes, Grey could be the next Hasselhoff. As Brook's doing her blah, blah, boos begin to be heard from out in the stage area.

"There's booing in the ballroom -- we don't know why," a perplexed Brooke reports as the booing grows louder.

"Why is there booing?" Grey wonders. We do, too.
"I don't know," Brooke responds helpfully, then tosses to show host Tom Bergeron. Cut to Bergeron who is now sitting next to Sarah Palin in the audience with a camera glued on them.

"All right, thank you, Brooke," Bergeron says, making no mention of the booing.

"I'm here with guest ballroom commentator Sarah Palin, who joins us from Alaska. Sarah, great to have you here."

Applause in the audience.

"I know usually you're very bashful about giving your opinion about things, but how do you think the show is going so far?" Bergeron asks.

"This is amazing -- it's so exciting, and it's great to see all this courage and joy and exuberance by every dancer. It's awesome," Palin responds.
He asks for her thoughts on the judges.

"Oh, the judges? ...Okay, now, it's like before a hockey game -- you're not going to chew out the refs before your team is up on the ice! You guys are great!" Palin says, giving the judges two thumbs ups.

In that same vein, Bergeron wonders who her favorite dancer is so far.

"Oh, my goodness, they're all amazing, they really are. This is great!" Palin enthuses. "Bristol's not up yet. Bristol the Pistol, yeah, that's who we're rooting for!"

"Guest commentator Sarah Palin with us," Bergeron says, tying things up with a bow.

Contacted for comment, an ABC spokeswoman insisted the audience had been booing to express their displeasure over the score that had been doled out by the judges to Jennifer Grey.

But Grey got the night's highest score. We mention this to an ABC rep. So they put show executive producer Conrad Green on the phone with us.

"I don't know why everybody booed," he says, then says he will "guess" that "they were booing because [Jennifer] wasn't getting 9's." If the booing had had anything to do with Sarah Palin being put on camera for an interview, he expects it would have continued once that interview started, "rather than doing it before, and then wimping out.

"That's my guess, I can't say for sure," Conrad says in conclusion.

Later Monday night - or, to be perfectly accurate, very early Tuesday morning - Bergon is a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live":

"Let's talk about what happened last night," Kimmel says.

"There's a misunderstanding - I think," Bergeron says.

They show the clip.

Kimmel asks Bergeron why the audience was booing.

It was because the audience "felt Jennifer got screwed. They should have gotten 9's."

Kimmel is skeptical. "Eights are good scores. She got the top score," he notes.

"Are you positive?" Kimmel asks Bergeron, in re his story that he's sticking to.

"Mostly," Bergeron replies.

"Maybe it was a combination," Kimmel says by way of reaching a compromise.

The "Dancing" audience is hammered half the time anyway, Bergeron cracks.

Back to the actual, you know, dancing

Rick Fox will jive to the tune "Tush." Mostly, Rick's got one move -- a sort of high-step marching band leader thing. Rick also spanks dance partner Cheryl Burke once and pulls up her skirt to reveal pink panties with the word "Tush" written on them. Rick also pulls off a very impressive thigh-over-head stunt with Burke. Let's face it, the height difference is a big part of this couple's appeal and I'm sure we all are eagerly anticipating the week in which they tango. The judges award him 21 points.

Florence Henderson, this season's token old dancer, opts for the quickstep. Her dance partner, Corky Ballas, has wisely choreographed her slow bits to be very slow indeed, so as to let her conserve energy before revving up to Happy Feet level for the fast bits. There's a kind of Westminster-dog-show air of walk-fast-now-walk-slow-now-walk-fast-again to the end of their number but Florence, an old pro, knows how to rise to meet the competition on the personality side.
"I kept these up!" she says, hiking up her breasts, after judge Carrie Ann Inaba's critiques her. Take that, you tush-slapping young folks. Florence is awarded 19 points.

Think Brangelina in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", take away the chemistry and ... it's Brandy and dance partner Maks Chmerkovskiy in "Dancing with the Stars: Deathmatch Rehearsal." If these two had access to guns and knives, one of them would be competing as a soloist. But dysfunction seems to keep their energy level up. During their dance, Brandy does an extended solo -- we imagine this was a negotiation point with Maks and he lost -- and proves she needs a partner. Brandy walks off with 21 points.

OK, first of all, Michael Bolton, if you're going to show up wearing a face mask to rehearsal, at least make the effort to sound like you actually have laryngitis - and don't hug your partner to give her your cooties. Something in Bolton's demeanor reminds us of every maitre d' who ever made us feel bad because we didn't have a reservation. So we were glad to see him crawling out of the doghouse. In fact, we'd have liked to have seen him on a leash for the whole number. The one thing you can say for Bolton: He's got great control of his upper body. It doesn't move. Bolton clocks just 12 points after Bruno Tonioli doles out a measly 3.

The "Dancing" seamstress forgot to put the back on Audrina Patridge's gown this week; she's doing the quickstep to "Love Machine" with partner Tony Dovolani. Her dance is quick, and it has lots of steps, but somehow nothing much seems to have happened. We could have done without the calculated pausing to blow kisses at the judges too, though the judges seem smitten; they award her 23 points.

Last week "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey got choked up rehearsing her dance to a dune she had danced to with Patrick Swayze in the flick. Swayze died of cancer. As if that wasn't tear-jerky enough, this week she reveals she too was diagnosed with cancer and some neck problem requiring surgery, while getting checked out to be eligible to compete on "Dancing." So, she explains to her partner, Derek Hough, "Dancing with the Stars" saved her life. How's anyone ever going to top that? The rest you know.

Margaret Cho, aka Should've Been Booted Last Week, is going to jive this week to "Dreaming." Only after last week's disastrous performance, in which Cho went for laughs by getting tangled in her costume's gold batwings, this week her partner Louis Van Amstel has asserted himself and put the kibosh on all stabs at humor. Cho gets choked up and says she has just discovered she actually is a dancer. We think Cho's a little too optimistic, but she is certainly much better when she's not trying to be funny -- which is not necessarily good news when you make your living as a comic. Anyway, the judges give her 18 points, which may not sound like much but it's three more points than they gave her last week.

Didn't we see Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer's quickstep routine performed live onstage at Disney World? They've got a creepy toy-soldier-dancing-with-Cinderella vibe going on. The judges note his lack of precision, but continue to love him anyway and award him 22 points.

NFL-er Kurt Warner actually looks like a guy having a good time as he jives to "Danger Zone" with Anna Trebunskaya this week, as opposed to last week when he looked like a guy expecting to be tackled from behind at any moment. There's supposed to be some kind of military storyline going here, apparently, judging by the saluting he does, but nothing you can put your finger on. Judges like it and give him 21 points.

The Situation should have just given up and let Karina Smirnoff lead this week. Unfortunately, he started counting a beat after her and never got off his program. And this is what he looks like with a lot of rehearsal -- last week was supposed to have been a heroic, under-rehearsed effort. Maybe all that effort clenching his abs cuts off the blood flow to the brain. The judges are skeptical and only give him 18 points.

For reasons never explained, Bristol gets to take her dance partner Mark Ballas to Alaska to meet mom during rehearsal time. Even though he could've met her in the room Monday night. Anyway, Sarah Palin greets them at the door in a taped bit. "I'm all star struck ... thank you for taking care of our girl," she tells Ballas. Sarah says she was "whoopin' and hollerin'" while watching Bristol's performance last week and wonders "How does she do that?" and then demonstrates a dance move best described as a Stationary Shimmy: arms outretched, almost imperceptible shoulder motion, and vocalizing "woo woo"; it's a move that says "no one will ever make an opposition commercial out of this moment."

Bristol and Mark perform the quickstep. She gets the Florence Henderson treatment, many slow steps mixed in the with quicksteps for an average speed at school-zone levels, plus a couple pauses for nose rubs. Anyway, she's adorable -- particularly the "is this really happening?" look on her face. Judges love her ,too, and she dances off with 22 points.

By Lisa de Moraes  | September 28, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Dancing With the Stars  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein out, HLN topper Ken Jautz in
Next: "Glee" episode has Britney clapping her little hands -- ka-ching!


I think I will trust those who were actually there (if the crowd was "booing" the former Governor off camera, why did they suddenly applaud when she was actually introduced on camera?).

It should be noted that the false reports written about this were all written by people who were not there. However, a reporter who was there told a much different story. Mikey O'Connell from Zap 2 News reported:

"That was booing you heard after Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough got their scores, and though Internet conspiracy theorists would have you believe it was directed at Sarah Palin (Really, Internet? Really?), it was definitely aimed at the judges. We understand it's too early to dole out the really high numbers, but a 24 for that incredible jive didn't make sense to anyone in the studio."

Posted by: clawrence12 | September 28, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: mooncusser | September 28, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

The leader of the New Black Panthers hate group, Malik Zulu Shabazz, name appeared in the White House visitors log around the time that DOJ (Holder) dropped the voter intimidation charges against the hate group.

Posted by: Pembroke60 | September 28, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The celebrity harlot Palin family, may be best ignored, and hoping their 15 minutes will soon be over.

Posted by: jama452 | September 28, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

mooncusser: Knowing you even exist makes me want to nuke Earth to dust.

Jama452: And when will that Bolshevik criminal, Barry Huessin Obama go away and leave us alone? Or better yet, he and his hideously fugly wife should be put in jail and the key melted down.

Posted by: RichTheEngineer | September 28, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

The Alaskan hillbillies. Featuring Pistol, spunk, muck, phlegm and the conehead!

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | September 28, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

If Sarah wasn't booed she should have been, She is a quitter. She seems to obviously be more interested in popularity rather than the people of her State. She really doesn't even deserve to be called governor, as she quit to get her book written, make some serious money, become a "celebrity" This ego manic is so damaged, she makes even the most mentally challenged person sick.

Posted by: suec2 | September 28, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this show being aired on part of the "lamestream media"?

Sarah Palin = hypocritical scum

Posted by: Observer691 | September 28, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

suec2, she says the reason she quit was because she was unable to get anything done as a lame-duck targeted by haters like mooncusser. At the very least, State politics have returned to normal, and that's a good thing.

Posted by: clawrence12 | September 28, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, we finally found something Palin is qualified for... member of a TV audience.

Posted by: wideblacksky | September 28, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If she doesn't like being booed, she can stop showing her smirky face in public. Problem solved.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | September 28, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I can understand why the Situation is considered a celebrity. Why is Bristol?

I asked Mr. Lurker if fame can be had if you are the daughter of a VP candidate and get knocked up before you're married while your mom is preaching abstinence and "family values"?

Posted by: anonymouslurker | September 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think they were chanting "boob."

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | September 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

RichTheEngineer, off of your meds? Hi, this is reality calling, you've been gone a long must be a tea-bagger.

Posted by: gr8fullted | September 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Liberals "sweet & loving" strike again on Dancing with the Stars booing Sarah Palin with her daughter at her side. I hope they are all so proud!! I was so embarrassed! It was appalling!

Posted by: dragginbaitz | September 28, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Some of the commenters here have a serious case of Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS).

What a bunch of hateful people you are.

Posted by: Sajames7 | September 28, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting that the heading and text of this article keep getting changed. I still take exception to "As Brook's doing her blah, blah, boos begin to be heard from out in the stage area." Apart from spelling Ms. Burke's first name incorrectly, go back and review the tape. The first boos are actually heard DURING the revealing of scores, with Bruno looking around wondering if they (the judges) were being booed. Len also shook his head at it. If Gov. Palin was being booed, that's fairly rude behavior from the audience against a mother showing up to simply support her daughter (no one booed John Michael "Ozzy" and Sharon Osbourne ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

was Bristol wearing a pink burqa?

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | September 28, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Darn, I did it again! I actually read this article on sleazy Sarah. Why do I care if she shows up, gets a hand or is booed. she is such a publicity hound, here she is again using her kids for her own publicity!

Posted by: janetal2004gmailcom | September 28, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The leader of the New Black Panthers hate group, Malik Zulu Shabazz, name appeared in the White House visitors log around the time that DOJ (Holder) dropped the voter intimidation charges against the hate group.
What in the hell does this have to do with Sara Palin being booed? You felt that the world needed to know this information (if it’s true) because?? Did you know that anyone can visit the WH?

Try to stay focused on the topic next time.

Posted by: letsgetreal | September 28, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to believe they were booing the judges (which is still rude) rather than Bristol's mother, which would be incredibly rude. At the time I did think it was the latter. However, these are the types of folks who voted Donny Osmond to win over the more talented but less wholesome Joanna What's-Her-Name, so I'm pretty sure they're a conservative lot.

On another note, why is Jennifer Grey eligible to compete? Didn't she star -- and dance -- in a movie about dancing... which would make her a professional? I do enjoy watching her, but it seems a mite unfair.

Posted by: kmsb42 | September 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I knew it!

"Given the negative reaction to those boos heard during last night’s telecast of Dancing With the Stars, the producers will go the extra mile during this evening’s telecast and show that the crowd was directing their disdain toward the judges, not the visiting Sarah Palin."


Posted by: JakeD2 | September 28, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

c'mon people. everyone who has watched the show before knows that the audience always boos the high scores because they think they are not high enough, and they do it after the judges give the scores, you know- when the dancers have gone backstage to do the interview with brooke when brooke asks them what did you think about the scores. after the judges show the scores once for the camera, they show them again and it's the second time when the audience will boo. you know- that's why dereck and brook were not surprised to hear the booing- they've heard it so many times. case closed.

Posted by: johnlv12 | September 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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