By Keisha Allisse
Don't believe me? Look back at the very first season when the little known soap star, Kelly Monaco, won over John O'Hurley. The brouhaha over her win led to primetime show coverage, interviews and publicity that an 'expected' win would have not delivered. The outrage led to a dance off, which O'Hurley won, and the fan base widened and carried over into the next season. Bristol Palin's continued success in the competition is a ratings bonanza for ABC (don't mind that man who shot is television after Palin survived yet another round and Brandy got the axe). People are talking about the show; the controversy is a part of the national dialogue and as we fume and get pissed off at the results, ABC is reeling in the dough.
There's no such thing as bad publicity. People are watching to see if the person considered the worst will actually win. Chances are she won't. Enough blood has boiled that naysayers will vote in droves making a win unlikely. Although if people flood the lines for Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey, the lines will be busy making calls easier for Bristol…hmm… I don't want to plant the seeds to grow more suspicion, but you can bet voting will come up if the ending isn't a 'happy one'. Faithful fans will swear off the show, promising to boycott the next season, but you can bet butts will be in the seats when the famous intro is played and the announcer introduces another season of Dahn-cing with the Starhz!
Viewers have suggested that the voting system is questionable and the results, rigged. Bristol's longevity in the program is evidence of that, they claim. But a good point made by a colleague of mine is that unfavorable results are evidence of honesty not proof of impropriety. Nothing in life always works out in a way that is fair and just. George W. Bush was a two-term president, after all. We all remember how the elections in 2000 went; who's popular isn't always who's chosen. That's reality and as disappointing as that can be, I would be surprised if a couple of decisions didn't go the way I expected.
Sometimes the unforeseen can be exhilarating. The Giants weren't expected to win the 2007 Super Bowl; the Patriots were thirteen to fourteen point favorites and entering the game undefeated. Despite the resume, the unbelievable happened. The underdog won (and as a NY Giants fan) it was thrilling. Would it be so bad if the more gifted person didn't always get the crown? I can hear the protests now: 'But that's not fair!' "The best dancer should win!'. We have a very limited view of success. Someone who improves vastly over the course of a competition has just as much an argument to win as the person who's been coasting on being good.
Bristol's surprising underdog run is no different than Master P's confusing success in season two and Brandy's elimination the previous week was shocking but perhaps not more so than Sabrina Bryan who was season five's frontrunner and was eliminated in week six. My point? Life repeats itself. What's happening in this season has happened in season's prior and I think Bristol's been getting the brunt of media scrutiny due to a dislike of her mother('s politics) rather than her dancing. The same people that complain about tea partiers pushing Palin into the finals would have no problem voting against Palin by choosing other competitors (whether they deserved the support or not).
Palin's success comes down, not to some convoluted conspiracy theory, but to the fact that the outraged aren't out voting. DTWS attracts a lot of family viewers, many in the heartland, who will vote to support their favorites. Many city cynics don't pick up the phone. Are you one of them? I am and if we outnumber those viewers who call or text in their choice, brace yourself for a jaw dropping finale one that will have the execs at ABC jumping for joy.