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Dancing With the Stars: Huge Ratings Success Amidst Bristol Palin Controversy

Posted by on November 26, 2010 at 5:30 PM EST

bristol-palin-wins-dancing-with-the-stars-controversyDancing With the Stars 201o was a huge ratings success amidst the Bristol Palin voting controversy.

The dust has settled. The dancing is over. The mirror ball trophy has been awarded and the producers of Dancing With the Stars have to be pleased. They got everything could have ever wanted. The entire season of DWTS was filled with controversy. If it wasn’t Bristol Palin involved in something, it was the sudden, blind side votes that knocked out some of the best dancers early in the competition. That controversy means plenty of free press which translated into ratings and ratings equal money.

An estimated 24.1 million viewers tuned in to see if Bristol could knock off odds favorite Jennifer Grey and crowd favorite Kyle Massey. That is the largest audience the show has had in 3 years since Mel B. Helio Castroneves and Marie Osmond were in the finals of season 5. Most importantly for the producers the show they were #1 in the 18-49 demographic advertisers eat up.

There is no end to the conspiracy theories and controversy that surrounded Bristol Palin on the show. Some speculated that the producers were conspiring to keep her on because she knew that conservatives like her and would be watching. Others suggested that the only reason she was on was because of her mom stumping for votes. When the Vote for the Worst website got involved it only added flame to the fire as some suggested that she was only on because people wanted to sabotage the show.

I feel it might be a little of all of the above. Clearly she was caught in a perfect storm of voting. A lot of people voted for her for a lot of different reasons. That combination of voters kept her on the show for a long time and helped carry her into the finals. I feel the producers loved the shocking results as good dancers went home while Bristol stayed. However, when we got to the final and it looked like she might actually win, they panicked. If she actually won, it could make a mockery of the show and the show could lose its credibility. More importantly it would make it very clear that the judge’s scores were meaningless. I think they made a few moves at the end switched up the final scoring system and the judges made sure to score Palin lower than the rest (as if they were suddenly holding her to the same standard and Kyle and Jennifer which they hadn’t done most of this year). They had to stack the deck against her. They realized that as fun as the ride had been, if she won it could be a catastrophe. So they did what they could to dodge the bullet.

In the end everyone, for the most part, got what they wanted. Bristol Palin supporters can be happy that a non-star, non-dancer made it all the way to the finals and finished third. Jennifer Grey fans can be happy that the best dancer ended up winning and Kyle Massey fans can be happy that the youngest contestant who was a wild card and a long shot finished second and was the last man standing. And the producers can grab their bags of money and run laughingly to the bank.

I wonder what kind of controversy DWTS producers are already pre-planning for next season.



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