Tonight’s cuppa: Irish breakfast tea (good anytime!)

Bristol_Palin_Mark_Ballas_Dancing_With_the_Stars_results.jpgA few weeks ago, I interviewed Sarah Palin for her TLC series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” and since then a lot of controversy and comment has swirled around that show, but certainly no more than has been swirling around the fact that her eldest daughter, Bristol, has made it to the final round of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (the last performance show and the last results show air Monday and Tuesday, respectively).

As I talked about in a previous blog post, this isn’t the show’s first time dealing with a controversy — far from it.

Also, in a story in the New York Daily News, “Dancing” executive producer Conrad Green explained some of how the voting, particularly the online voting, is managed.

According to Green, there are internal controls that prevent multiple voting from the same computer, no matter how many e-mail addresses the user registers at

Green told the Daily News: “It is possible to register lots of email addresses, but the IP address identifies which computer sent it. If that does happen, we wipe out [those votes].”

(UPDATE: In another interview, this time for, Green reiterates many of the same points about the voting, plus talking about Palin’s dancing ability and possible fan base).

So, however many votes Bristol Palin is getting, “Dancing” believes she’s coming by them the usual way.

Tonight, I got an email from Sarah Palin, stating: “Bristol’s work ethic and dedication to improving, as led by the most patient and competent partner — Mark Ballas — have combined to illustrate a compelling and inspiring story. Viewers have voted to see that journey continue each week, and Bristol is humbled by the support.”Thumbnail image for mark-cuban.jpg

Mrs. Palin also clued me in to a fascinating blog post by former “Dancing” competitor and retired Internet mogul Mark Cuban, called “How Dancing With the Stars Voting Works — Why Bristol Pallin (sic) Could Win Easily.”

Beginning with the statement, “First, let me say that the scoring process for Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) is fair. It is honest. It’s just not obvious,” the post goes on, with great mathematical precision, to detail how the judges’ scores are combined with the viewer votes to determine who advances.

Using quotes from the “Dancing” website that outline the voting formulas, Cuban goes on to examine the process in depth.

I’m no math whiz (which is why I’m a writer), but Cuban seems to know what he’s talking about.

I doubt that Cuban’s post (or a mother’s support) will change the minds of many who believe the voting has been unfairly influenced, but Cuban offers an illuminating glimpse into just how the numbers add up, from someone who’s been on the ballroom floor.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare