Calling in on Friday from an airport in Sacramento, Calif., between political speeches to talk about her upcoming TLC documentary series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” premiering Nov. 14, the former governor of the 49th state and 2008 GOP vice-presidential candidate also takes some time to sing the praises of her eldest daughter, single mother Bristol Palin, who is currently competing on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” in partnership with pro dancer Mark Ballas.
“We’re so excited for Bristol,” Sarah Palin tells Zap2it. “This is so Bristol, challenging herself, getting out of her comfort zone. She had told us just a couple of weeks before the show started, she said, ‘Mom, “Dancing With the Stars” just called me and asked if I wanted to be on the show.’ I said, ‘What did you tell them?’ ‘I told them I’m not a star, and I don’t dance. Sure, I’ll join the show.’
“What she did, she loaded up her truck, and she drove it from Wasilla, Alaska, to Rodeo Drive [in Beverly Hills, Calif.], parked it there. She’s in a little apartment there, she and Tripp [her son, born in Dec. 2008], and one of my good friends is helping her with Tripp.”
Thus far, Bristol Palin has survived through week four of the competition, most recently outlasting “Jersey Shore” star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
“She’s having a ball,” says her mother. “What she said — and it’s kind of a life lesson for all of us, I think — she said, ‘Mom, no matter what I do, I’m going to get criticized, so I might as well go dance.’ I’m like, ‘Right on, go dance.’ She’s having a ball.
“Bristol loves [fellow competitor] Florence Henderson, and she says she relates to Florence more than anybody else. But she has not one complaint about anybody. Everything is positive, and she’s just amazed how helpful and kind and gracious everybody is. It’s been really good for her.”
The young mother — who turns 20 on Monday, Oct. 18, the night she hits the floor for the fifth time on “Dancing With the Stars” — has earned some positive comments from the judges for her dancing technique while also negative ones for her performance skills.
“It’s just fine,” says Sarah Palin, “for never having danced at all, in her life.”
Apparently, Bristol’s little sister Piper, who has been in the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom with her mother and father Todd Palin, had some advice for her older sibling.
“As Piper was listening to Bristol explain to me,” says Sarah, “how difficult the steps were — because a lot of these dances, we had never heard the name of the dances, much less knowing the steps of them — Piper said, ‘I know how you can learn those steps — just write them on the palm of your hand.’
“I’m like, ‘That’s exactly what I would do!’ I told Bristol she should do that for one of the songs.”
(By way of explanation, Sarah Palin was criticized in the press a while ago for having notes written on her palm during a speech and has since made references to that and jokes about it in public appearances.)
Earlier this month, CNN reported Sarah Palin mentioned during a speech in Houston that “Dancing With the Stars” producers initially wanted her husband to do the show.
Asked about that, Palin says, “I know, that’s what I heard. That’s what Todd has heard, too, through the rumor mill, that they called Todd. Didn’t they call you, Todd?”
In the background, he answers in the affirmative. “Yeah, they called Todd. Oh …” she pauses to listen, “they contacted the governor’s mansion, the manager there, to try to get to Todd to ask him.”
As she boards the flight, Palin hands the phone to her husband, who says, “It was a good thing that I declined, otherwise we wouldn’t be watching Bristol today. Because, after my performance, they would ban any other Palins.”
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Photo Credits: Getty Images, ABC