Bristol Palin, daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, will be teaming up again with dancer Mark Ballas for the "Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars." The show will give 12 contestants from previous seasons another chance to compete, and will also feature a 13th celebrity, chosen by viewers.
Palin's invitation to join the all-star cast follows a controversial end to her last run on the show. The single mother made headlines two years ago when she advanced to third place on "Dancing with the Stars," even beating out the superior dancer, Brandy, in spite of earning poor scores from the judges.
"While early in the season judges may have been nicer to her because of her inexperience in the entertainment world, it's been the viewer votes that have saved Bristol in recent weeks, and there is no secret that there is a campaign out there of Sarah Palin fans saving her," wrote Roger Caitlin for the Huffington Post. "Pro-Palin blogs, awash in their patriotic bunting, regularly encourage readers to cast multiple votes for the young mother, identified weekly without irony as 'teen activist.'"
When viewers began attributing Palin's continued stay on the show to her more famous mother, many of whose fans drummed up votes and support for Bristol through social media, Bristol famously shot back, saying, "There's lots of haters out there who are just waiting for me to fail."
At a press conference with TV critics in July to promote the coming all-star season of "Dancing With The Stars," most of the questions were allegedly directed at Palin. E! Online reported that Palin became increasingly uncomfortable during the press conference, and blamed the press's need to talk about her as motivation for returning to the show.
"God provides opportunities for me," said Palin. "The press is going to be talking about me no matter what, so I may as well be having fun."
When critics asked if she felt that participating in reality TV had made her more of a target, Palin responded, "Like I said before, this is a fun gig. I'm not whining; I'm not complaining about anything. I'm gonna go out there and I'm going to have fun. You guys, the media, you will talk about me whether I'm in my little Alaska life or doing this."
The other celebrities chosen by "Dancing with the Stars" producers to compete again are Kirstie Alley, Pamela Anderson, Helio Castroneves, Joey Fatone, Shawn Johnson, Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, Kelly Monaco, Apolo Anton Ohno, Melissa Rycroft and Emmitt Smith. "Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars" will premiere on ABC Sept. 24.