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Posted at 8:51 AM ET, 11/22/2010

Bristol Palin dancing up a political storm on 'DWTS'

By Lisa de Moraes

With just one more night of competition to go before we find out if Bristol Palin wins the hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy, the executive producer of "Dancing with the Stars" insists the show's security system is catching and expunging all those votes for her that are being cast by people using bogus e-mail addresses to game the voting system.

On the other hand, the executive producer, Conrad Green also insists he's shocked - shocked - to discover the Palin family could have such a polarizing effect on the American public, over a simple little dance-competition show.

Meanwhile, a conservative blogger who's taking credit for the e-mail voting shenanigans, says he orchestrated the whole thing to pay back Democrats for years of voter fraud at the polls.

And Bristol's mom, Sarah, last week tried to capitalize on the size of her daughter's audience to boost ratings for her own, far less popular reality series, TLC's "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

These are just the latest headlines in our ongoing coverage of "Dancing with the Stars": Decision 2010: America at a Crossroads: The Final Countdown.

"I had no reasons to believe this would happen," Green told the TV Column late last week of the kerfuffle that has erupted over Bristol Palin, who is the weakest dancer in the competition according to the scores she's receiving from the show's professional ballroom dance judges but who has outlasted far more accomplished performers in this season's competition.

"It's been illuminating," Green said, adding: "A lot of this is timing - it's a particularly bad time in American politics. I love that people are being passionate but sad so many people are angry. . . . I don't want to anger our audience."

"That was never my intention" in casting Bristol on the show, he added, exuding sadness.

Take away Bristol's family name and her journey on the show is similar to that of underdogs who have been unlikely survivors in seasons past, Green insisted. "But this year "everybody got a bit mad about it."

"I feel sorry for Bristol - she shouldn't have to be doing this under this scrutiny," continued Green - the guy who is, in fact, orchestrating a lot of Bristol's discomfort.

Just last week, for instance, Green decided Bristol would be one of the last two "stars" to learn whether they had survived to the final round of competition on Tuesday's results show.

Show host Tom Bergeron or his sidekick Brooke Burke are careful each week to tell viewers that the two final dancers awaiting their fate on stage toward the end of results night are not necessarily the two lowest scoring competitors. The producer decides who will be left standing up on stage with the dancer about to get the hook.

Green could have arranged for "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey, or Disney star Kyle Massey (the other improbable survivor in this edition of the show, only no one's writing about him), to stand on stage with pop singer Brandy Norwood when Brandy got the hook one night after the judges gave her a perfect score for her tango.

(Scoring for this show is determined by a formula that gives equal weight to points awarded by the show's three professional judges, and votes cast by the public.)

Except, of course, having Bristol declared safe at the very last minute on Tuesday's broadcast created so much more drama - and Green's crew was there to record the studio audience booing, while Brandy was left speechless and Grey's partner, Derek Hough, hitched up his jaw which had crashed to the floor.

"She's a 20-year-old-girl - give her a break," Green complained in a phone interview two days after he orchestrated that bit of made-for-TV drama at Bristol's expense.

"That's my only sadness about it," he said, a bit too having-his-cake-and-eating-it-too-ily.

Green wants viewers to know the show's security system is weeding out all those votes being cast for Bristol overnight through bogus e-mail addresses.

"I'm confident we're able to spot if people are trying to game the system," he said Friday in response to commenters on the conservative blog Hillbuzz.org, claiming they had figured out how to game ABC's online voting system by creating fake e-mail addresses. One person claimed to have voted for Bristol 300 times that way in just three hours.

"You would have to be a rather strange person to sit up all night doing that," Green said dismissively.

Friday, Hillbuzz.org blogger Kevin DuJan wrote, "The real aim of Bristol's Pistols: to expose Democratic hypocrisy on voter fraud and ask why the media is so obsessed with the voting on a reality show but doesn't care about Leftist tampering with actual elections.

"The Left is angry whenever I teach conservatives the tricks the Left consistently employs against Republicans. . . . The media and the Left are engraged [sic] right now because 'Bristol's Pistols,' as they are calling us, have been creatively and energetically voting for her on a reality TV show. It's what I call 'Voting like a Democrat' . . . voting early . . . voting often . . . voting as cartoon characters . . . voting under aliases . . . ," DeJan wrote.

Also weighing in on the brouhaha late last week: Bristol's mom, Alaska governor turned Fox News Channel commentator turned reality TV star Sarah Palin.

"Ah yes. . . . Bristol-the-diva! Silly critics! See her diva-ish-ness Sunday, 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' 2 learn truth, before assuming.Thanks & enjoy!" Sarah Palin tweeted Thursday afternoon.

In its unveiling, Sarah Palin's new TLC reality series had attracted that basic cable network's biggest series-debut audience ever - 5 million viewers. But that's a drop in the bucket compared to the 20-million-ish who have been watching this season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in which her daughter is the star.

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 22, 2010; 8:51 AM ET
Categories:  Dancing With the Stars  
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Comments

I'm an unengragiated liberal. Totally perplexed by all of this, though.

Posted by: molsonmich | November 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bristol Palin will no doubt use her DWTS experience as a springboard to secure a US Senate seat. All she has to do is run.

Posted by: cjbass55 | November 22, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't even know how people are still tuning into this trashy show. Probably 5 or 6 years ago, I was embarrassed by the lack of clothes on the performers and deleted that show as must see TV. As far as what's going on with this Bristol thing, I do feel sorry for her but I will always be highly irritated at McCain and his ilk for turning that family loose on an unsuspecting public.

Posted by: MILWI | November 22, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

DWTS is now teaching our kids that getting a F weekly will automatically give you a trophy.

Makes me sick to my stomach that TV is promoting popularity over performance.

Like mother like daughter: Both Palins expect a reward for being retarded in their respective events.

Adam of CA.

Posted by: AdamYoung2 | November 22, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The problem I have with the show is one that I have had since the show started letting the viewers call in votes, and that is many viewers do not vote based to talent and I do not think that is fair to the contestants.
Also when I tried to vote through ABC.com, I could not get logged on. I even checked to make sure I was entering the correct password and I still was unable to logon. I then tried calling in and was only able to call in twice, which you are given 5 votes. The lines were busy. If others had this problem, it may be the reason people think something was not correct.

Posted by: collegebound1 | November 22, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Palin supporter nor do I support Republicans in general, but come on folks, nobody said you anyone has to be a "dancing fool" to win.

All it takes is votes. If she's got the votes, then she deserves to win.

However, I don't support cheating.


Posted by: lindalovejones | November 22, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The only thing to feel sorry for Bristol Palin about, is that she is taking advantage of a competition that she obviously does not belong in. She has a Lindsy Lohan type mother who is an opportunist herself and does not care what is takes and who it hurts to get
what they want. And as for as TV competition,
they should all be taken off the air. There is nothing fair about them. It is a business of entertainment. Just another thing this society should be ashamed of.

Posted by: akiramusic | November 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

My question is how is that most of the people that are actually dancing and taking it seriously are firming up and and losing weight and good lawd Bristol P is getting fatter by the minute? Even the guy that had his own show "Corey" has lost weight and firmed up. Come on from what we have seen when taken seriously its hard work and a great workout.

Says to me that something is not right when it comes to Bristol P. She is definitely slow as heck and keeps falling over her feet. I would say there is some shannighans going on plain and simple.

I just want this show to be over and done and to leave the ballroom dancing to the professionals. JMO

Posted by: msruby36 | November 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yup, good ole tolerant libs... Dissing a 20 year old who said yes to a call from dwts. You guys are low lifes who would be up in arms if say Chelsea Clinton were oh the show getting half the flack that Bristol is getting. Further, Ms. de Moraes, you should be ashamed for fueling the fire with your hype and sarcasm.

What's so sad is that the show is set up to take audience input. Bristol is not the only contestant to gain rounds through this process. More capable dancers have failed to advance in previous seasons. Why do these so called purveyors of tolerance come out with teeth and claws now. Hypocrits!

Posted by: sagedutch | November 22, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: reshas1 | November 23, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

SO, what bothers you about "liberal voter fraud"... is that it's so amateurish and insignificant? Protesting bugfart and/or imaginary voter fraud by committing massive, scale-tipping voter fraud?

Hmmm. Kind of like protesting abortion by killing a bunch of people. The Right really has it together.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 24, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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