Jennifer Grey and partner Derek Hough topped Bristol Palin and Disney star Kyle Massey,, both of whom are more than half her age, to win ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.” Her performances were near perfect throughout, bringing a fitting end to the most controversial season yet — and not in a good way.
Palin proved to be a lightening rod for criticism of the show.
She advanced week-after-week despite being one of the worst performers, carried by voters politically sympathetic with her hard-right conservative mother Sarah Palin.
In the final accounting, Palin came in third behind Massey.
But her advancement to the finals raised serious questions about the show’s format.
On a show that is supposed to reward skill, Palin and Kate Gosselin advanced far beyond their level, because of their popularity.
Palin’s victory over R&B singer Brandy in the semi-finals called into question, once again, the credibility of the show.
The young unwed mother deserves credit for showing pluck and determination and improving week after week in the competition. But Grey also overcame obstacles.
A cancer survivor, the 50-year-old actress struggled with various injuries throughout the season, including a ruptured disc that almost knocked her out of the final episode. She had painful neck surgery last year.
But she also gamely continued against significant odds.
“It’s such a sweet thing at the end of such a tricky tumultuous journey and it was worth every second of it,” she said with tears in her eyes.
“It was the chance of a lifetime and I’m so grateful that I didn’t miss it,” she added.
Palin was less than graceful in defeat, calling her critics ‘haters’ who were waiting for her to fail.
“Going out there and winning this would mean a lot. It would be like a big middle finger to all the people out there that hate my mom and hate me,” she said before the results were announced.
Actually, it would have been a big middle finger to common decency and fair play.