NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stripping off an office power suit, the daughter of conservative politician Sarah Palin performed a short parody of her mother in launching her bid to win television’s “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday.
Bristol Palin shimmied across the dance floor as the dancing contest launched its 11th cycle, accompanied by a version of Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come.”
The 19-year-old single mother explained she had not always taken the advice of her mother, a Republican political powerbroker who ran for vice president in 2008.
“My life has been told and spread out in the tabloids. But I am just a regular girl and this is definitely the most frightening thing I have ever done in my life,” Palin said.
Her sparkling grey office suit imitated the style worn by her mother, but it was soon stripped off to reveal a short, red dress with tassels.
Sarah Palin did not attend the taping on a Los Angeles soundstage. Instead, she hosted a viewing party at her home in Alaska, and declared on Twitter that she was “over-the-moon excited and happy” for her daughter.
Bristol Palin is following in the reality TV footsteps of her former fiance, Levi Johnston, who has publicly criticized her mother in U.S. tabloids. She said on the show if she brought “some sexy to the cha cha and don’t embarrass my mom, I will be thrilled,” she said.
The judges rated her performance as promising, but far less impressive than “Dirty Dancing” actress Jennifer Grey’s Viennese waltz to Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine.” The soul ballad appeared on the soundtrack to “Dirty Dancing,” the smash movie in which Grey starred opposite Patrick Swayze.
Clips were shown of Grey breaking down crying in rehearsal as she recalled Swayze dying of cancer last year. The 50-year-old actress has physically changed since “Dirty Dancing” after a botched nose job left her less recognizable.
“‘Baby’ is back where she belongs,” said judge Bruno Tonioli, referring to her character in the 1987 film, while actress Jamie Lee Curtis applauded in the audience.
At the other end of the scale, former “Baywatch” actor David Hasselhoff and “Jersey Shore” reality star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino tied for the worst performance.
Other contenders included singer Michael Bolton, reality starlet Audrina Patridge, former “Brady Bunch” mom Florence Henderson, former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, retired basketball player Rick Fox, comedian Margaret Cho, and teen actor Kyle Massey from the Disney show “Cory in the House”
“Dancing with the Stars” was the second-biggest show on TV last season, behind “American Idol,” averaging 20 million viewers. Reigning champ is Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger who teamed with dancer Derek Hough.
Each of the contestants had three weeks to prepare, except for Sorrentino who had only five days to rehearse after finishing shooting the third season of “Jersey Shore.”
The judges scores count for only half the total vote, with the public voting to decide who will be the first to be kicked off the show on Tuesday.
editing by Dean Goodman