Suuuuuuure, Carrie Ann Inaba — you introduced yourself to Sarah Palin because your dad loves her? If that's your story and you're sticking with it ...
The "Dancing With the Stars" judge fessed up to falling for Bristol Palin's mom's personality, and her possible spray tan.
"She's so charming!" Inaba told "Access Hollywood" on Wednesday. "I was like, 'Girl crush!' "
"One of the crew guys came up and he goes, 'Look at Sarah. Do you think she spray-tanned?' And I looked at her and I'm like, 'I think she did!' "
"It's not that sunny in Alaska,” said co-host Kit Hoover. “I love it!”
That's right, Kit — on Monday in Wasilla, daylight was present for six hours and 37 minutes. Contrast that to sunny Burbank, which enjoyed a 10 hour, 14 minute day. Meanwhile, the Ministry spray-tans only for award shows.
The haters rested easy and the world was safe again for televised dance competitions Tuesday as Bristol Palin finished third on "Dancing With the Stars," heading off dire predictions by the likes of Joy Behar and bajillions of hysterical online commenters about what might happen if Sarah Palin's daughter dared to succeed.
"Congrats Jen, Kyle, Bristol, et al, for proving competition is GOOD!," Sarah Palin said Tuesday night on Twitter. "Remember: 'They're going to criticize anyway, so you might as well dance!'" (See Mom's reaction at a book signing in Arizona, below.)
Bristol's "DWTS" stint started with the challenge of a five-day drive down from Alaska and finished with reports of a man shooting his TV when she held on to make the final three, and a death threat now being investigated by the FBI. Fan votes for weeks had been mighty enough to bump her and partner Mark Ballas past the pairs with the second-lowest judges' scores. Hostility over results found Ballas taking a break from Twitter during the season's final week.
Judge Bruno Tonioli worked with Bristol and Mark during a final-week rehearsal, leading to some comical moments coming from his over-the-top personality juxtaposed with Palin's more shy demeanor. Tonioli said of the couple's "favorite dance" on Tuesday, "This is the dance that showed us Bristol the fighter, more focused, more confident.
"You found your footing in this competition and you earned your place in the finale I think through this," he said. "Because you've always been a clean dancer, but your performance level started to develop with the tango, and it's still here to be seen." The studio audience seemed to agree, giving a standing ovation that included fellow competitor Kyle Massey pumping his hands over his head in support.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba had a theory about "Bristol the Pistol's" fan appeal.
"Dancing With the Stars" has already rolled out on the East Coast, so if you are trying to avoid spoilers you should not click here for a live blog of the show — especially if you don't want to know the scores before watching the dances.
Until showtime here on the West Coast, we will catch up on some "DWTS" housekeeping.
First, Jennifer Grey has told People she will not do the lift that she and Patrick Swayze made famous in "Dirty Dancing."
"Everyone should not expect that," said the actress, 50, who had three neck surgeries a year ago. We doubt anyone would put Baby in a corner tonight for obeying doctor's orders.
Kyle Massey was going into the performance show with an endorsement from Brandy, who was voted off last week.
Meanwhile, on the home-grown terror front, Bristol Palin was indeed the implied target of a threatening letter containing white powder that was found Friday in the CBS Studios mailroom. Los Angeles police, firefighters, hazmat officers and the FBI responded to the call, according to L.A. Now, and a section of the lot was evacuated.
While implementing sweeping changes on "American Idol" in the wake of Simon Cowell's departure, exec producer Nigel Lythgoe has also been sweeping across the dance floor himself, promoting the Dizzy Feet Foundation with fellow "So You Think You Can Dance" judge Adam Shankman and the very animated Angelina Ballerina.
The Dizzy Feet Foundation, co-founded by Lythgoe, Shankman, actress Katie Holmes and "DWTS" judge Carrie Ann Inaba, is designed to help underprivileged young people who aspire to become professional dancers realize that dream.
The public service announcement above was one of two launched Thursday in New York as part of the Angelina Ballerina Stars of the Future campaign.
"We look forward to awarding dance scholarships to such deserving aspiring dancers," Lythgoe said at the event, where three kids -- one national, two local -- were awarded dance scholarships for their exceptional promise.
With Bristol Palin's current dance journey in the headlines, the timing couldn't be better to remind kids about how important a dance education might turn out to be. If nothing else, the "Dancing With the Stars" underdog, under the tutelage of partner Mark Ballas, has turned a spotlight on the learning process.
The spots will be featured online and will be included next year on DVDs of kids programs, including "Angelina Ballerina," "Thomas and Friends" and "Barney."
How did singer Brandy get booted from "Dancing With the Stars" after pulling a perfect score for one of her dances with Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Monday night? And how did Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas survive another week despite coming in last with the judges more often than not?
Allow the Ministry to show you the math.
According to the "DWTS" website, couples are ranked by a combination of two scores -- the percentage of total judges' points they are awarded plus the percentage of viewer votes they get. The pair with the lowest combined total goes home.
(OK, this really is math. Hang in there.)
On Monday, Brandy and Maks earned a total of 57 points for their two dances, with 53 for Bristol and Mark, 58 for Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer, and a perfect 60 for Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough. That's a total of 228 points handed out by the judges, leaving the couples ranked as follows, before viewer voting was done: Jennifer/Derek, 26.3%; Kyle/Lacey, 25.4%; Brandy/Maks, 25%; and Bristol/Mark, 23.2%.
So while in raw numbers Brandy and Maks were a full four points higher than Bristol and Mark in the judging, and separated by 3.6 points -- 51.8% to 48.2% -- when compared head to head, there was a difference of only 1.8 points between the two couple in the context of the entire field. And that was only half the battle.
If the audience votes had broken evenly, with each couple getting 25% of the vote, that order would have held, with each team having 25 points added to their total. But Bristol and Mark really didn't have that much to make up -- obviously getting at least 1.9% more of the popular vote than the eliminated twosome. And viewers, who theoretically vote for their favorites via phone, text message and online, must be motivated to give their support, not lulled into complacency or put off.
Seriously, who's more likely to spark an energetic fan reaction -- Brandy or Bristol?
"We consistently have had Bristol at the bottom or the bottom two and the viewers bring her back, and it's because they want to see her dance again," judge Len Goodmansaid after Monday night's show.
"In this case, you cross the finish line first and somebody barely finishes, and you get a tie because they showed heart," Chmerkovskiy said on "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "It's kind of difficult for me to deal with."
We didn't know we would have paid cash money to see the Situation whip out condoms in front of Bristol Palin — until we got to see it free.
Promoting the Pause Before You Play campaign, the "Dancing With the Stars" costars illustrate there's more than one way to prevent teen pregnancy, with Palin falling on the side of abstinence and Mike Sorrentino enthusiastically talking about practicing safe sex.
Practicing it a lot.
However, "I totally respect abstinence," the Situation informs B Palin. "I mean, it actually has the word abs in it, and I'm the Situation. I love that."
The treat comes courtesy of the Candie's Foundation, which aims to educate young people about the negative effects of teen pregnancy, including a 50-50 fail rate when it comes to graduating high school and a negligible chance of the teen mom marrying her baby's dad.
Bristol Palin is famous for several things. Well, no, she's famous for one thing, which is that she got knocked up as a teenager while her conservative mom was running for vice president.
But now Palin wants to rewrite her image. That process has started with, of course, "Dancing With the Stars." But apparently dipping herself in self-tanner and donning a dress made entirely of bordello lamp tassels isn't working fast enough. Now comes word that Palin has had to take more drastic measures, starting with reportedly banning the cast of the MTV reality show "Teen Mom" from the "DWTS" set.
According to an ABC executive quoted by PopEater, "Bristol Palin has made it very clear to the show producers that she doesn't want the teen moms in the audience cheering her on no matter how much it might boost ratings."
Why? Even though the teen-pregnancy prevention advocate has done events with at least one "Teen Mom" cast member in the past, and appeared as herself, a teen mom, on "Secret Life of the American Teenager, she doesn't want the association anymore.
So. For the record, Bristol Palin is no longer that pudgy hapless person who had a baby with that crunchy-haired kid who then split with her and posed for Playgirl.
Repeat: She is not.
-- Leslie Gornstein
Photo: Bristol Palin poses as she arrives at the 200th episode celebration of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in Hollywood on Monday. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters
Barbara Walters once wrote a book. It was called "How to Talk With Practically Anybody About Practically Anything." That was back in the 1970s. She has not lost her touch.
"You became famous for impregnating a 17-year-old girl," Walters told Levi Johnston on Monday's "The View." "You're 20 years old, you don't have a high school diploma yet, you don't have a trade. Now you're running for mayor.
"Would it not be better for you, instead of just seeking publicity ... to learn a trade, to find a job, to get an education and to support your son?"
Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Get a job, you Palin impregnator, you.
But what kind of profession could our boy from Wasilla possibly undertake? Well, we're members of the media, which means we (a) are experts in positively everything and (b) have absolutely no choice but to get up in this child’s business. You know, to make the world a better place. It's what Murrow would have wanted.
And because we're also members of the entertainment media, we simply must turn this whole exercise into a poll. Otherwise, why exactly did we wake up this morning?
So, what sort of career might fit Johnston best? Be aware that he has a background in hockey, so any career involving bench-clearing brawls may prove quite a fit. Phillies baseball comes to mind. We'll also make a few calls and see if there are any spare rooms in the "Jersey Shore" house.
Those boos heard in the background right before Sarah Palin spoke with "Dancing With the Stars" host Tom Bergeron were for the judges, not the former Alaska governor, an ABC spokesperson told Show Tracker.
Asked her opinion on the judges' performance, "guest commentator" Palin said, "It's like before a hockey game, you're not going to chew out the refs before your team is up to, you know, on the ice."
Throwing a double thumbs-up, she said to the trio, "They're great, you guys are doing great!"
The booing, heard from off-camera in the ballroom while host Brooke Burke was doing a post-dance chat with Jennifer Grey and partner Derek Hough, confused Grey and caused a stir among viewers posting to Twitter. The pair had received a total score of only 24 after their crowd-pleasing performance. (See clips from all the dances in the video below, and see the clip with the booing here.)
If you saw "Dancing with the Stars" on Monday night, you caught some extraordinary surprises, not the least of which involved Bristol Palin. We're not talking about Palin’s mom, who apparently bailed on her daughter at the last minute after sending the "DWTS" studio into a DefCon-1-style security beef-up.
We are, however, talking about the younger Palin's getaway sticks.
Palin certainly is no dancing superstar, but she more or less held her own, footwork-wise. (Her from-the-waist-up shimmy, for the record, was a different story. Some things, as they say, can never be unseen.)
We're not alone in being caught unawares by Bristol's passable legwork.
The Washington Post declared her to be "not the worst dancer." And, while Bristol was certainly no Jennifer Grey, Parade pointed out that Palin’s score of 18 out of 30 puts her in the "mid-level."
Not everyone was pleasantly surprised; Vanity Fair has advised Bristol to take some inspiration from ...