Gilles Marini On Why Bristol Palin’s Still ‘Dancing’:‘It Becomes More Like A Popularity Contest’

Gilles Marini made it to the finals on “Dancing with the Stars” Season 8 thanks to his perfectly smooth moves and the help of his partner, Cheryl Burke, but he’s not convinced current contender Bristol Palin is still in the competition for the same reasons.

“My take on the phenomenon [of] Bristol Palin/Sarah Palin… is the fact that it becomes more like a popularity contest than a dance contest,” Gilles told Access Hollywood Live’s Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Tuesday, when asked about his view on how Bristol has made it so far on the show.

Bristol, who has landed at the bottom of the leaderboard four times throughout the season – including on Monday night’s semi-finals round — has faced criticism recently from “DWTS” watchers, who’ve argued she doesn’t deserve to still be in the competition.

“My only thought of if – [if] you really wanna have a dance contest on TV, I think the judges should own a little bit more vote power,” Gilles told Billy and Kit of his ideas on how the show could change to keep it more of a true competition based on skill.

“I would say maybe 70 percent [of] the vote [should come] from the judges… and maybe 30 percent the viewers,” he added.

Gilles went on to point out that other reality shows have faced major upsets due to the power of voters who choose to throw their weight behind contenders who aren’t necessarily the best.

“They can manipulate the show. Remember what happened on ‘American Idol’?” he asked. “[There is] this massive website, Vote for the Worst – and next thing you know, things change and move, and great talent [goes].”

Although the voters may have kept Bristol in, Gilles said Season 11 – and the mirrorball – belongs to another leggy lady.

“I’ve seen everyone and who deserves [it] because she was the best dancer… I think Jennifer Grey has it all,” the Frenchman said.

He cautioned, though, that despite Jennifer and partner Derek Hough’s perfect semi-final round scores on Monday, the two will need to pull out the stops during next week’s finals.

“I [had a] perfect score on the semi-final, it doesn’t’ mean anything,” he said. “In the end, your last dance – it’s more important than everything else you’ve done before, because it doesn’t accumulate the scores for the season. It’s like, ‘You messed up that last dance?’ It’s done.”

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