When Bristol Palin
premieres on "Dancing With the Stars
" next Monday, she'll be fighting the odds, costume criticism and rumors of troubled practice sessions.
Sports bookies (really? really!) have put Bristol above
"Brady Bunch" mom Florence Henderson, who's picked to finish last. But that's not saying much. The teen mom, who was thrust into the spotlight two years ago when her own mom (you know, Sarah Palin
) became John McCain's running mate, is predicted to finish 11th out of the 12 celebrity contestants by two different bookmakers. Her odds of winning: 20-1
. ("Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey is the early fave.)
Meanwhile, there are reports that Bristol and professional partner Mark Ballas missed several practice sessions
last week because of a variety of conflicts.
Why is Bristol doing "DWTS"? Good question. Cynics might posit that her brief re-engagement to Levi Johnston
last summer was a gambit for a reality show. When that didn't happen, the couple parted ways
. He's trolling for his own reality show
with a run for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. "DWTS" is clearly the better deal here.
Of course, neither of these kids would be in the spotlight if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin hadn't put them there. Palin's run for vice president, accompanied by the announcement of Bristol's pregnancy and engagement to Johnston, the father of the baby -- put the couple in the national limelight.
Bristol must see this foray into reality television as an opportunity to fan the celebrity flames, pick up some cash and perhaps parlay a positive performance into something even more lucrative.
But there are plenty of potential pratfalls to the dance competition, which requires both skill and charisma.
Does Bristol have it? Can she learn it?
We'll have to wait a week to find out.
In the meantime, here are do's and don'ts based on past "Dancing With the Stars" performances.
Do avoid the skin-baring
costumes if your moral code dictates (though that black number looks plenty hot). But don't
let the designers dress you up like Monica Seles in some hideous Pepto-Bismol
-colored coverall. That's when you agree to show skin instead.
put on a happy face and have some fun, like past contestants Kelly Osbourne, Kenny Mayne and, yes, Tom DeLay
. (Who knew The Hammer could shake it?) A sense of humor and a bit of self-depreciation goes a long way with the judges. Meanwhile, don't
get your grouch on, as Kate Gosselin last season when she acted out during rehearsals
and looked miserable
during the competition.
take some lessons from your elders. Watch some of Cloris Leachman's performances
(sure, she was 82, but she gave it her all and then some) and her sharp wit had everyone rolling with laughter. But don't
be all stiff and fakey like elder astronaut Buzz Aldrin
take the fitness aspect of the dancing seriously, as Marie Osmond
and others have. You don't
want to be described as "deceptively unfit," as was Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Josie Moran
, whose muscle tone in Season 5 appeared to be that of a wet noodle.
be gracious, as Cheetah Girl Sabrina Bryan
(Ballas' former partner and flame) was when she was surprisingly eliminated from the show. Don't
be, again, like Kate Gosselin
embody your mom's enthusiasm and perkiness. But don't
follow her lead when it comes to being defensive
or overly strident
Because we'll be watching.