Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas' scores on the Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars premiere may not have been anything to write home about, but at least they walked away with one impressive distinction.
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Judge Carrie Ann Inaba called Palin the "most improved" since her last appearance on the show.
"I was thankful that Carrie Ann acknowledged that," Palin said backstage after the show, before Ballas jumped in to echo the praise.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction," said Ballas. "She looks amazing, and I definitely can feel it when I move with her. She's more smooth."
She's also more confident. It's something the judges, her fellow cast members and parents Sarah and Todd, seated in the audience, have all pointed out.
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"She's just excited to see a new confident me, and she's happy to be here to watch," Palin said. "I think it's just my age. I was 19 [the first time] and now I'm 21, almost 22."
Palin also said she got a kick out of having son Tripp be old enough to watch.
"He asked for a cupcake in the middle of the show," she said, noting that his attention span only lasted through the first nine performances.