Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas

This season's cast of ABC's Dancing With the Stars is a mix of the kind of contestants viewers have come to expect: the singer (Brandy); the football player (quarterback Kurt Warner); and the tabloid magnet (Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino). But one name came from left — or is it right? — field: single mom Bristol Palin, 19, daughter of Republican lightning rod Sarah Palin.

"I wanted to get out of Alaska for a little while," she tells TV Guide Magazine of her decision to join the show.

"She literally spent five days driving down in her pickup truck," says executive producer Conrad Green. "I think she was astonished" to be asked, he adds.

Palin, who's partnered with two-time winner Mark Ballas, thinks she has the chops to be competitive. "I'm a hard worker," she says. "I've always stayed in shape, jogging and lifting weights. But this is a whole different ball game. I'll show people who I am."

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