When Audrina Patridge was booted from ABC's Dancing With the Stars on October 26, head judge Len Goodman called it "ludicrous." One week later, former L.A. Laker Rick Fox shared her fate, while the judges looked on in disbelief. "Shocking elimination tonight," Tweeted judge Carrie Ann Inaba. "I think the most shocked I've been in all 11 seasons." Both dancers were near the top of the leader board, and Fox would've tied for first had his group's cha cha won. Still in the competition: Bristol Palin, who received the judges' lowest scores on November 1.
It's not her fault, of course. She's well-liked on set, a hard worker and has earned high praise for holding her own as the only cast member without performing experience. But Palin, daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah, is also the only competitor tied to a media-savvy politician whose chosen Tea Party candidates made an impressive showing on Election Day. On websites such as MotivationTruth.com and Conservatives4Palin.com, they weren't just stumping for politicians. "To get some practice for tomorrow's big elections, cast your votes for Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas!" read one home page.
Nothing has changed in the scoring; it's still a mathematical formula of 50 percent judges' scores and 50 percent viewers' votes. Even Fox is philosophical. "It's America's show," he says. "It's out of our control." But if Palin is getting a boost from conservatives for the second half of her scores, she's not doing the stumping herself. "I have no idea if the Tea Party is voting for me," she tells TV Guide Magazine. "I think people are voting for me because I'm a normal person, and they can see I'm improving."
But Goodman isn't having it. "The American people — and the British — we like the underdog," he said. "But we like justice more. And there is no justice."