Will the fans save Bristol Palin again?
That is the question on the minds of "Dancing With the Stars" viewers as the show waltzes toward its 11th season finale Tuesday night with Palin in a familiar spot -- last place on the judge's scorecards.
Over two dances during the first installment of the season finale Monday, Grey earned a perfect total score of 60. Massey's two dances placed him second, with a total score of 56. Palin scored 52 -- despite a second performance that won her praise for daring to dance in a cage.
"Did I just see Bristol Palin dancing in a cage?" judge Carrie Ann Inaba asked before awarding Palin and her partner a 9 out of 10. "Get your sexy on!"
Palin's presence on the show has been a bone of contention among viewers who wonder why she's come so far despite being consistently at the bottom of the "DWTS" leader board. Viewers have suggested that voters -- especially those "mama grizzlies" who support Sarah Palin -- have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.
Only 14 percent of people in an ABC News/Washington Post poll out Monday evening thought Palin earned her place in the finals through dancing ability, while 54 percent credited a voting blitz by Sarah Palin supporters.
Both Palins, mother and daughter, have denied any organized vote-getting tactics, and Sarah Palin was in the audience cheering on her daugher during Monday night's performances.
"It sucks that people still don't believe I deserve to be here," Palin said during a taped segment before her two dances. "We're continuing to improve week by week and people don't acknowledge that. ... Now it's my turn to step it up and prove that I deserve to be here."
Still, some fans are upset. Very upset. Last week, a Wisconsin man shot his TV with a gun, saying he was fed up with Palin's subpar dancing skills and politics. Tuesday's finale could provoke an equally explosive reaction from "DWTS" devotees.
On Monday, however, Palin roared out for her first dance, a jive, earning straight 9s.
"You were, last time, a gorilla and now a thrilla," judge Len Goodman told her, referring to a past episode in which she and her partner danced in gorilla suits. "Vast improvement. Well done."
Later, Palin earned two 8s and a 9 for her freestyle performance to a song from the musical "Chicago" that she began while dancing in a cage.
"I have to give you credit for aiming so high," judge Bruno Tonioli told her, echoing the other judges. "You did very very well, but not quite at the level that this song required."
Grey, who consistently has been among the top scorers, earned two perfect 30s. For her second dance, she picked a song from "Dirty Dancing" -- "Do You Love Me."
"'Time of Your Life' was always a song that was for me and Patrick," Grey said afterwards, referring to her late film co-star, Patrick Swayze. "I wanted to do something fresh with Derek" Hough -- her partner on "Dancing With the Stars."
As Goodman awarded the first of Grey's two perfect 10s, he stood and applauded her. Grey approached the judge's table and gave him a kiss.