Although she's gotten "consistently mediocre scores" from the judges, Bristol Palin will be taking to the floor in next week's "Dancing with the Stars" final — thanks, some say, to an army of Sarah Palin supporters who have voted her through. Her success has outraged fellow contestants and viewers, some even to the point of violence. "It's just been one of those seasons when surprising things happen," says the show's executive producer, Conrad Green. But after Bristol's controversial run, will the beloved reality show ever be the same again?
She's destroyed DWTS's credibility: "The show's going to suffer and very likely will have to rethink its rules going forward," says Scott Huver, an entertainment journalist, as quoted by Fox News. "Many dedicated viewers take the competition quite seriously," and the idea that one motivated group can "radically alter" the results will annoy those viewers, fuel media criticism, and likely drive the producers to look for "ways to keep the process 'pure.'"
"Bristol Palin's 'DWTS' success: Right-wing conspiracy or improved dancer who deserves to win?"
And she's made it harder for producers to hire real stars: Asking Bristol to participate probably seemed like a "brilliant idea" at first, says Rob Shuter at Pop Eater. "Now the joke is on the show's producers." If a Tea Party-endorsed two-stepper can win, no real Hollywood celebrities will sign on. Even worse: "It's now painfully obvious that the judge's scores and opinions mean nothing."
"Insiders: If Bristol Palin wins, 'Dancing' Is Ruined"
Are you kidding? This is exactly what reality-TV producers want: Fans and fellow contestants may be shocked and dismayed by Palin's success, but the producers have "got to be loving this," says Richard Huff in the New York Daily News. The uproar is precisely the reason she's on the program. "Part of the appeal of reality shows is watching an unexpected star emerge," and, let's face it, "would anyone be talking about [this season] if Palin were not in it?"
"Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas might win Dancing With the Stars, and if so, good for them"