Is Palin cheating to get votes for daughter in ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES - For the seventh consecutive time, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol has been voted by viewers into the finals, raising doubts that ‘tea party’ activists are scheming to get the show’s ballot box stuffed in her favour.

The 20-year-old beat her opponent for the seventh time despite having lower scores from the judges on the reality show.

The trend highlights the power of popularity over talent when mostly unregulated public voting is involved and to some extent, the polarizing effect of the Palin family name, which received prominent attention earlier this month in one of the most heated elections in recent memory.

When the results were announced, celebrity websites like declared that “Palin Conservatives are Cheating” ABC’s voting system and late night talk host Jimmy Kimmel called Brandy, a popular singer and entertainer, the victim of “Hurricane Bristol.”

“All these shows are open to this kind of thing. It doesn’t have to be necessarily for political reasons,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Leo Braudy, a professor at USC who specializes in mass media and pop culture, as saying.

“Part of the tea party message and part of the Sarah Palin message is about ‘normal people.’ So let’s have normal people go on the show. Let’s have people with two left feet win a dance contest. She represents people who couldn’t participate in this show. So she’s a kind of a Doppelganger surrogate for people who could never get to this level,” she added.

Meanwhile, the “Dancing with the Stars” executives dismissed the criticism of the show’s voting system. The hit dancing series relies not only on judges’ scores, but also public votes, which are averaged together to determine winners.

“Who knows if the process is ideal? But what you can say is it’s fair for everyone,” said the show’s executive producer Conrad Green, during a phone interview.

“We’ve had shocking eliminations before on this season and other seasons. The voting system is exactly the same,” he added.

But critics slammed Palin supporters, saying that they exploited the network’s e-mail voting system by creating a flood of false e-mail addresses that allowed them to grossly over-vote.

The show permits only five votes per phone line and five per e-mail address.

ABC officials stood by its results Wednesday.

“We are confident that the checks and balances system, which has been in place since the show’s inception, accurately and fairly reflects the sentiment of the show’s viewers,” the network said in a statement. (ANI)

Filed under: Entertainment

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