Bristol Palin is returning to Dancing with the Stars’ (DWTS) 15th season as part of their first “all-star” cast. Including Bristol Palin, the cast will feature a dozen past contestants including athletes Emmitt Smith (Season 3), Shawn Johnson (Season 8), Apolo Anton Ohno (Season 4) and Helio Castroneves (Season 5). The winners of the first two seasons, Kelly Monaco and Drew Lachey, will also compete, along with past second-place finishers Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone and Gilles Marini, plus Pam Anderson and Melissa Rycroft. Three other former dancers, Carson Kressley, Kyle Massey and Sabrina Bryan, will compete to be the 13th contestant; one will be selected by online voters in August.
At a news conference after the Friday July 27th announcement, Palin apparently drew most of the questions from the media, on everything from gay marriage to whether she’s making reality television a profession. Bristol was also pressed as to what her main reason to join this season of the show was, even though she had already answered the question several times. Then E! Online reported that Palin grew a bit defensive at times during the briefing. (“Do I like to provide for my son? Yes, I do,” was one line E! reported.) She seems to have her mom’s spunk!
Bristol finally turned the table blaming the press’ overbearing nature as her prime reason for doing DWTS, saying "God provides opportunities for me… The press is going to be talking about me no matter what, so I may as well be having fun."
When asked again if she believes she has made herself more of a target by doing reality TV instead of quietly going home to raise her son after the 2008 election, Bristol replied, "Like I said before, this is a fun gig. I’m not whining; I’m not complaining about anything. I’m gonna go out there and I’m going to have fun. You guys, the media, you will talk about me whether I’m in my little Alaska life or doing this."
The Palin family has certainly done their share of reality TV the past couple years. Mom Sarah had “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” in winter 2010, featuring the whole Palin family. Bristol and her son are featured in “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp” on Lifetime. And dad Todd Palin will be a contestant in “Stars Earn Stripes” this fall, a show featuring military exercises and missions.
DWTS executive producer Conrad Green has revealed that it is "impossible" for the new cast—including Kelly Monaco, Gilles Marini, Drew Lachey, Anderson, Helio Castroneves, Palin and Rycroft — to have the same partners as before. The pairings will be announced Aug. 13. "We are at their mercy!" Pam Anderson joked.
Last time around Bristol was known for being an unwed teen mom turned advocate and not necessarily for her dancing, who brought the buzz last time around. Twitter took off increasing ratings when mom, Sarah, also known as 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor and Dad, Todd, dubbed first dude by many, showed up in the front row of the dance floor. Then a Wisconsin man shot his television in anger over Bristol’s success and there was a police involved scare at the studios. This time around Bristol’s reality TV and life experience may have given her more expertise to apply to the ballroom floor. And she surely will no longer be billed as a “teen activist.”
Last time around the whining left complained that Bristol had an edge with her politico mom campaigning not only for her dancing daughter but for tea party candidates; Bristol finished third. (The tea party did pretty well, too.) So the question is will Palin’s presence revive the controversy — and high ratings — of her original competition in Season 11?
I’d say that is probably a yes and in a year when all eyes are on politics, Palin’s selection is without a doubt a surefire way to get “Dancing With the Stars” plenty of attention… especially if mom and dad stop by again.