'DWTS' Dirty Politics? Rage Behind Bristol Palin's Success Intensifies

Critics say politics are behind Bristol's success on "Dancing With the Stars."

November 16, 2010, 8:16 AM

Nov. 18, 2010— -- Forget "Dirty Dancing."

Dirty politics are behind Bristol Palin's success on "Dancing With the Stars," some viewers and critics contend.

Palin still has a chance to win it all, despite being consistently at the bottom of the leader board.

And that has some people suspicious, or even angry.

Wisconsin police say a man was so enraged after watching the ABC reality show Monday night that he shot his television set with a gun.

The incident sparked an all-night standoff with a SWAT team. He was in police custody during the results show Tuesday.

The daughter of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin went toe-to-toe Monday with singer Brandy for a spot in the finals.

Dance and celebrity couples advance each week based on the combined total of judges' scores and votes from the public.

Brandy's performance was breathtaking with judges' scores to match, a sharp contrast to Palin's performance.

Brandy's not making the finals when the voting results were announced Tuesday came as a surprise to many people.

Many viewers have flooded ABC station phone lines and posted their dismay by the thousands online.

With comments noting that Palin's success is a "joke" and that the "tea party must have voted her in," many of the critics have vowed to stop watching the show.

Critics almost immediately accused Tea Party supporters of ballot stuffing.

Readers claimed on a conservative website that they had figured out a way to bypass ABC's e-mail-voting feature because of a technical glitch on the site.

But producers have defending the results and a show spokeswoman pointed to security measures that catch and remove fraudulent online voting.

"Half the vote in this comes from professional judges who really know about dance and they have their say, the audience always votes in response to that," Conrad Green, executive producer of "Dancing With the Stars," said.

"So sometimes they'll vote for people who they don't feel are getting a fair crack of the whip from the judges."

Palin's dance partner, Mark Ballas, seemed stunned by all the outrage. "It's not that big of a deal to cause all the hatred," he wrote on Twitter.

Palin said earlier in the week that the "right-wing" conspiracy is unfounded.

"I'm tired of hearing it," she said on the red carpet. "People are voting for us because I'm relatable. They see the consistent improvement in my dancing and that's why people are voting for us."

Palin thanked supporters on her Facebook page: "The haters are already pulling out all the stops this week to destroy."

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