With the unprecedented media frenzy that erupted from Bristol Palin making it to the finals of "Dancing With the Stars," what will the show do for an encore next season?
Hmm. How about a same-sex couple?
Reports have been running rampant over recent weeks that next year’s “Dancing With the Stars” will be quite a quick-step from tradition and feature a same-sex twosome.
The speculation stemmed from the announcement that the Israeli edition of the hit show would pair two ladies, at the request of a lesbian sportscaster who felt more comfortable foxtrotting with a female in the competition. Numerous names started being thrown around, including Ellen DeGeneres’s wife Portia de Rossi.
"They (the producers) have approached Portia to do it. I don't think she is going to do it, but she was flattered that they asked her,” DeGeneres told Zap2it.com, although it was not clear whether they asked Portia to dance with a male or female partner.
Insiders close to the show told Pop Tarts that a same-sex couple will “never happen” in the U.S – at least not yet.
“ABC and Disney are afraid of the negative backlash from viewers after watching a same-sex couple grind on stage,” explained our snitch. “Middle America isn’t there yet – and judging by the conservatives who voted to keep Bristol in the competition, a same-sex rumba won’t happen anytime soon – at least not in the ‘Disney’ funded ballroom.”
A rep for "DWTS" did not respond for comment.
Entertainment industry expert John Ziegler concurred that it would be a bad move on ABC’s part to feature a same-sex dance couple.
“The show just got a huge boost of ‘Middle America’ viewers with the success of Bristol Palin. They are not going to blow that, especially when there is no need,” he said. “The show is on a roll and Margaret Cho's overt lesbianism did not resonate with viewers. [She was the third contestant to be eliminated this past season.] The gay community is already watching, this would be a stupid ratings move, unless of course the same sex couple involved two hot women!”
Not everyone thinks featuring two male or female partners on "DWTS" is necessarily a bad move -- including one of the show's hosts.
"I fully support that and I think America is ready for that,” the show’s judge Carrie Ann Inaba told People.com. “Our country is much more accepting of same sex couples and it would be great for the show to reflect that.”
TheFrisky.com’s Amelia McDonell-Parry agreed that the inclusion of a same-sex twosome tangoing together would make the show “interesting and thought-provoking.”
“Some people may not be able to wrap their heads around the idea that two men or two women could dance together as a couple both in real life or on a competition show. I strongly suspect those people who are vehemently opposed to the idea of a same-sex couple on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ are probably vehemently opposed to same-sex couples doing a lot of things, which makes them bigots in my eyes,” she told us. “The 'DWTS' viewership is made up of everyone from Midwestern housewives to high school seniors to serious dance enthusiasts to gay men and women. People who haven't watched in the past will likely tune in to see what all the so-called controversy is about. I totally think it will resonate with both avid viewers of the show and new viewers.”