After a week of controversy, Bristol Palin scored 52 out of 60 points on Monday’s finals week edition of Dancing With The Stars, atoning for her monkey suit tomfoolery from earlier this season in the process.
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Monday's agenda consisted of two dances: a freestyle number and a redemption dance, in which contestants were to re-do a low-scoring number from earlier in the season.
Bristol, with her partner Mark Ballas, re-did her ill-fated monkey suit jive (this time, she wore a dress), and a freestyle set to Cell Block Tango, a number from the musical Chicago. While she didn't set the world on fire, her improvement was taken into account from the judges.
"Last time you were a gorilla," judge Len Goodman told Bristol following her jive. "Now you're a thriller!"
Now, about that controversy: The show addressed the whispers that its' voting system has been manipulated by conservatives not swayed by dancing merit, as many considered ousted dancer Brandy to be clearly better on the dance floor than Bristol - just not as politically connected.
"By the way, you may have noticed the subject of our voting has become a bit of a news story this week," said the show's host Tom Bergeron. "Here's the deal: We tell you every week you have to vote for your favorites to win. If you don't vote, don't complain.
"And please - don't shoot your television," he said, referencing the Wisconsin man who did just that last week in protest of Bristol's success.
Bristol said in a practice clip that aired during the show: "It stinks people still don't think I deserve to be here. There are a lot of haters out there just waiting for me to fail. This just gives me that much more motivation to prove them wrong."
Bristol's mother Sarah Palin was in attendance Monday to cheer her daughter on, and the politics-meets-pop culture superstar told Fox News she’s helped her daughter develop a thick skin to deal with the critics.
"Bristol has said, 'Mom, it doesn't matter what we do, we're going to get criticized anyway, so we might as well dance,'" Sarah told Sean Hannity Monday. "For me, it's, 'You're right, honey, you might as well dance and fly and soar and surf and speak about issues that are important to this country.'
"We might as well do it, and we'll take that criticism, because we know that, at the end of the day, truly, being committed to a cause is worth it," the former vice presidential nominee said.
As for Bristol's competition, Jennifer Grey and partner Derek Hough racked up their second prefect week in a row with 60/60, while Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer were solid with 56/60 points on the night.
Can Bristol do the unthinkable? We'll find out when Dancing With The Stars' eleventh season champion is crowned on the results show on ABC Tuesday at 9/8c.
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