Bristol Palin is raising eyebrows on “Dancing with the Stars” once again by avoiding elimination while better performers go home. And Tuesday night, pro dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani added fuel to the fire as backstage footage showed them laughing at Judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s harsh critique of Bristol and partner Mark Ballas’s routine.
Although critics slammed her dancing, the daughter of conservative former VP candidate Sarah Palin finished an incredible third place with Mark during “DWTS” Season 11. And so far on All-Stars Season 15, Bristol has been resilient again, scoring second to last in Week 1 and dead last in Week 2, only to continue in the competition.
Tuesday night, after Joey Fatone was eliminated, Bristol shrugged to reporters, “I’m just grateful that our fans voted us through to next week.”
The reserved dancing star, whose “Redneck Woman” country-themed routine was widely panned, told xfinityTV their score of 18 out of 30 didn’t make her worry about elimination. “We’ve been in that position countless times,” Bristol said.
Mark noted, “It’s the same story over and over again every season. Sometimes people with the lowest scores make it through. The most important thing is the fan vote. There’s 14, 15, 20 million fans. [And] three judges.”
But Sarah Palin’s daughter said she avoids Twitter comments because “people have such opinions of me — ‘oh, I hate you. I want you dead. I’m going to shoot my TV.’ Or oh, ‘we love you guys.’ So I don’t read any of it. I’m not very engulfed in it.”
Her dance partner agreed, sighing, “There’s so many haters out there.”
Bristol was surprised when Carrie Ann told them Monday night that they had slammed the judges by breaking the rules of hold, and warned, “Guess what, we slam back!”
“She was pretty ghetto!” Bristol told reporters. “I was just like, okay. Whatever. It was pretty laughable.”
Mark thought it was funny that Maks had laughed about the incident. “Slam back! He was like, ‘Ooohhh. Did she say that?!’ ”
Meanwhile, however, Maks had his own ‘splaining to do after “DWTS” cameras showed him laughing with fellow pro Tony and soon-to-be-sent-packing Joey about Carrie Ann’s Bristol smackdown. It appeared to reporters that the show’s resident bad boy was making fun of Bristol, but backstage, Maks stressed he was only reacting to Carrie Ann.
“I think it was just the way it was said [by Carrie Ann]: ‘You slammed us, we’ll slam back.’ It was like, ‘what?’ ”
But Maks admitted he was critical of Bristol when she was on the show during Season 11: “I think this is going to be a controversial story but I was very vocal the last time Bristol was around and [this time when] they got called safe and [my brother] Val [Chmerkovskiy] and Kelly [Monaco] got called in jeopardy, Mark came up and was like, ‘Dude, whatever happens, it’s not my fault.’ I’m like, ‘don’t say it’ because whatever happens, it’s also my 13th season [of "DWTS" and] I’ve learned from my mistakes. Everybody deserves to be here. I don’t want anybody eliminated. It doesn’t matter. I’m not looking at Bristol the way I may have in the past. She’s doing a fantastic job.”