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Posted at 10:31 PM ET, 11/22/2010

'Dancing with the Stars' penultimate night: We watch so you don't have to

By Lisa de Moraes

Bristol shakes her groove thing Monday night. (ABC)

Just eight judges' points separated "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey from daughter of a famous politician Bristol Palin on Monday night as viewers began voting for their fave in the final round of "Dancing with the Stars" competition.

Studio audience members began to boo when the show's three professional judges gave Bristol just 25 points for her freestyle dance, which she performed to a well-known tune from "Chicago" -- a movie/play Bristol said she has never seen.

Grey, meanwhile, nabbed a perfect score of 30 for her freestyle dance, which she did to a tune from the flick "Dirty Dancing" -- though not the flick's most iconic song, "Time of Your Life" because, as Grey told show sidekick Brooke Burke, that one was all about her and movie co-star Patrick Swayze (who died of cancer a little more than a year ago).

This season has been filled with drama: Steven Cowan, 67, of Vermont, Wis., blasted his television set with a shotgun after watching one of Bristol Palin's dances last week. (AP/Dane County Sheriff's Department)

"By the way, you may have noticed the subject of our voting has become a bit of a news story this week," show host Tom Bergeron told viewers during Monday's show, regarding comments that had popped up on conservative Web sites from people claiming to have gamed ABC's voting system on the show. One commenter on conservative blog Hillbuzz claimed to have cast 300 votes for Bristol, and the blog's creator said he was urging people to vote "creatively" for Palin to pay back Democrats for years of voter fraud at the polls.

"Here's the deal. We tell you every week you have to vote for your favorites to win. If you don't vote, don't complain," Bergeron said in response to the kerfuffle kicked-off by those press reports.

"And please, don't shoot your television," Bergeron cracked -- a reference to a guy in rural Wisconsin who last week pulled out a shotgun and blasted his TV after one of Bristol's performances. The guy's wife told the cops he was upset that a politicians daughter was dancing on the show, even though he felt she didn't have talent, the AP reported, adding that the wife told police, "he scared the bejebees out of me."

Remember when this show was this nice little, kinda quaint, cheesetastic dance competition?

"It sucks people still don't think I deserve to be here," Bristol complained in a taped bit at the top of the show.

"There are a lot of haters out there just waiting for me to fail ... this just gives me that much more motivation to prove them wrong," she added.

And she did -- at least during the first round of dancing Monday night, when each of the show's three finalists was asked to do-over a dance style at which they'd done poorly during this edition of the hit reality show.

Bristol took a second try at the jive, which she'd first attempted this season in a gorilla suit. This time, in a much nicer blue dress, she delivered one of her best performances of the season, for which the judges rewarded her with 27 points.

"Last time you were a gorilla. Now you're a thrilla!" judge Len Goodman raved.

Her freestyle didn't go over so well, as she had forecast during rehearsal in the taped bit, though judge Carrie Ann Inaba enthused, "Did I just see Bristol Palin dancing in a cage!?" Bergeron joked that is exactly what Bristol's mother, Sarah, who was in the audience rooting for her daughter, had said about the number.

Just like last week, Jennifer wound up with a perfect score for the night, including 30 points for her freestyle and another 30 for her do-over of the paso doble.

"It was an evening in sultry Seville. The flamenco dancer and the golden matador, igniting the flames of passion, feeding off each other with relentless pleasure, from dusk til dawn. I don't want this night to ever end!" judge Bruno Tonioli effervesced about that performance.

"You're been consistent, persistent ... like a juggernaut heading for that Mirror Ball Trophy!" Len said after Jennifer's second dance.

Between the audience getting agitated over Bristol's scores and the geyser of love pouring over Jennifer from the judges' desk, poor Disney star Kyle Massey kind of got squeezed out of the drama Monday night, even though he achieved two of his best dances of the season.

For his much-improved Redemption Round re-do of the fox trot, the judges awarded him 27 points.

"You've gone from messy to marvelous," Len Goodman said after the number.

Kyle followed that with an exuberant, exhausting freestyle dance to "Tootsie Roll." Len called it "boogaloo," but Carrie Ann insisted it was "old school hip-hop" but whatever it was, two of the judges -- Carrie Anna and Bruno -- felt it merited a perfect 10 points while Len gave him a 9 for a dance total of 29 and a night's total of 56 points. That's four better than Bristol.

So once again, Bristol the Pistol has wound up Monday night with the fewest points from the judges. Once again, public votes could put her back in the game. This week, we get to see more dancing Tuesday night before the scores are revealed and the high scorer walks off with the hideous-yet-coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.

More on this story:

Full 'Dancing' coverage: News, pics, video and more

Timeline: A look back at the heartbreaks, highlights

Photo gallery: Down to the final contestants

By Lisa de Moraes  | November 22, 2010; 10:31 PM ET
Categories:  Dancing With the Stars  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Dancing with the Stars' math made easy ...
Next: 'Dancing with the Stars' finale: Too close to call?


"...The flamingo dancer and the golden matador..."

flamenco dancer /= flamingo dancer

Hopping around on one leg like a top heavy bird is "The Pistol's" move, not JG's

Posted by: kaminariko | November 23, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice if Jennifer wins, but it would also be great if Kyle took the trophy. Bristol definitely deserves to be in the finals because she's there fair and square. I just don't think she deserves more than third place and with the scoring the way it was, I don't think she will hit higher.

That said, I'm glad anyone will win this thing but Brandy. Her sour attitude ruined any dancing she might have done, and many of us still remember the car accident she was involved in, in which she blamed the victim and was photographed partying and talking on her cell phone while driving, afterwards.

Posted by: 2426 | November 23, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Considering the excessive fakeness of the show this season and the known voting cheating that is going on, Bristol could have fallen on her fat buns, or simply not danced at all, and those people who stupidly want to use their vote to 'payback' someone else for something completely unrelated to DWTS, would have voted for her. Apparently not even those fools think Bristol should be on the show, but they're using her to punish some unknown source of their alleged discontent. Maybe next time those stupid folks simply need to look in a mirror, instead of hijacking a TV show.

Posted by: momof20yo | November 23, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

The wording on the 'poll' needs to be changed. The question is intentionally misleading, to skew the results.

The question should ask, "Who do you think deserves to win solely based upon the quality and skill of their dance performance Monday night?"

We already know who the cheaters and the hijackers intend to vote for, just for their pathetic 'payback'........

Posted by: momof20yo | November 23, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I love Jennifer Grey, but her freestyle did not deserve a perfect score. There were some pretty messy parts in it that were completely ignored by the judges who were dead set in giving her 10s for both dances. I think producers are freaked out at the thought of Bristol winning. It's a shame, because her freestyle was her best dance of the season (IMHO).

And Kyle's freestyle was fantastic, but nowhere near the level of past finalists like Brooke and Nicole.

Posted by: jljardon2 | November 23, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Although I appreciate your attempt to guess at DWTS' s math method, your suggestion doesn't seem valid as you cannot compare percentage of total phone calls with a percentage of rating points assigned, as judges were not picking a winner, but rating a single performance and phone calls are picking a winner among all contestants. Not the same thing. You could rank their performance with judges and audience and combine the two ranks. That would weight each 50%. However, when down to 2 contestants, a tie would be quite easy. Any method counting each method 50% is likely to yield a tie, so who knows what they do!

Posted by: zengard | November 23, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

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