09.27.10

Palin Steals Dancing Spotlight

Bristol may have shimmied her way to another round of raves on the hit ABC show Monday night, but it was her mother that caused chatter when the audience appeared to boo her. Shushannah Walshe on Sarah's big prime time moment.

Sarah Palin made it to the Dancing With the Stars set Monday night after much speculation that she was going to come last week, but it’s unclear if it was a warm welcome or not. When last week’s winner, Jennifer Grey and her partner were getting their scores, audible booing was heard. Co-host Brooke Burke said, “There’s booing in the ballroom. We don’t know why.” Grey then asked, “Why is there booing?” The camera quickly cut to co-host Tom Bergeron, who was sitting next to Sarah Palin, sporting a stunned look on her face and shaking her head.

However, as soon as Palin appeared the crowd erupted in loud cheers—making it unclear for whom the boos were for—or if producers were instructing the crowd to switch their jeers to applause. Bergeron called the former Alaska governor and current proud Mama Grizzly a “guest ballroom commentator” and teased her, saying, “I know usually you’re very bashful about giving your opinion on things.” (An ABC publicist told The Daily Beast that the boos were a response to the low scores assigned to Grey's routine.)

Palin, in her signature hairdo and rimless glasses, wore a leather jacket and sat next to youngest daughter, Piper. Palin replied with a beaming smile, “This is amazing. It’s so exciting. Great to see all this courage and joy and exuberance by every dancer. It’s awesome.”

This week, Bristol’s partner, Mark Ballas, went home to Alaska with her to practice and meet the former governor. They earned some headlines when they boogied at a local bar in Anchorage and Ballas tweeted about meeting Bristol’s famous mom.

On Monday’s episode, Ballas was shown meeting Mrs. Palin, and she got laughs trying to imitate her daughter’s shimmy from the previous week. Asking, “How does she do that then?” the former vice-presidential candidate tried a move of her own. She was clearly bursting with pride at her eldest daughter’s dancing skills and “energy and confidence.” She also thanked Ballas for taking care of Bristol and told the two-time Dancing With the Stars winner that she was “all star-struck.” The clip ended with Bristol showing Ballas their view of Lake Lucille—and Bristol telling her partner how Alaska compared to L.A. and Hollywood is a “night and day difference.”

Reihan Salam: Palin’s Secret RivalFans of Sarah Palin’s eldest had to wait the entire show to see her dance and close the show. She and Ballas danced the quick step to Diana Ross’ “Can’t Hurry Love.” The song about “mama’s advice” was another play on her mother’s influence like last week’s “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).” The judges praised her performance, though all of them urged Bristol to bring more of her own personality to her moves.

Watch Sarah Palin’s Appearance

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Another solid performance for the “teen activist,” but a clear message that her mom is the star—and even some booing doesn’t change that.

DWTS Ends Sarah Palin Boo-Gate Rumors

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Shushannah Walshe covers politics for The Daily Beast. She is the co-author of Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. She was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.