Dancing with the (All-) Stars Week 9: 2011 Hughes de Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France

 

Well, it’s the next-to-last week of Dancing With The Stars: All-Stars. It’s been quite a ride. Who will be competing for the “new and improved” Mirror Ball Trophy next week? The Rib and I agree on 2 out of 3. Ooh, conflict! Makes for better reading, right? You be the judge…

The Dances

Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani

Caveman Hustle (Judges’ Score: 27.5)

MJ Tango (Judges’ Score: 30)

Combined Semifinals Score: 57.5

Melissa and Tony

The Rib: I have to say that kicking off the show with a CGI’ed dinosaur did not give me much hope for a great performance, especially when dancing to “Walk the Dinosaur.” However, it kind of killed—a great blend of theme and technique—whacky though it was. The Dirty Diana Argentine Tango was fantastic. Melissa slithering down Tony’s body as the first move was brilliant. That said, I thought it lacked sharpness of movement. Most importantly to a tango, Melissa lacks the “ass” to pull off sexy angry. That dance is meant for a woman with curves and an attitude, and Melissa has neither. It was a fabulous dance, but I think a perfect 30 smacks a little of stacking the deck for her to get to the finals, since she is the only one who has not won in a past season.

Stub: Melissa’s first dance of the evening was hands down, and without question, the best “Caveman Hustle” I’ve ever seen. Melissa looked amazing and hit some nice lines. The whole “theme” thing was weird, but I loved this opening number. As for the Argentine Tango, The Rib is mostly wrong—that was one great dance. Melissa is a sexy, seductive little minx! Her lines were amazing! This dance was the epitome of beautiful human movement. Melissa’s legs were perfect (and go on for like a week and a half). And Tony did all those amazing lifts while playing hurt? This was absolutely my favorite dance of the night. Melissa may be a little light in the “sultry” department in “real life,” but she brought the sexy tonight. My pick to win is coming on strong when it counts…

Shawn Johnson/Derek Hough

Knight Rider Bhangra (Judges’ Score: 30)

MJ Argentine Tango (Judges’ Score: 29)

Combined Score: 59

Shawn and Derek

The Rib: This little firecracker is unstoppable. Dancing the Bhangra to the theme from Knight Rider was pure badass Bollywood! But the Argentine Tango to Bad—now that deserved a 30!  The shapes, the precision and sharpness, the outfit…WOW!!! This tango whooped Melissa’s tango by a mile. Carrie Ann was clearly smoking crack to find fault with the emotion. For some reason, Shawn’s costume put me in mind of Princess Leia’s slave outfit when she was held as a pet by Jabba the Hut. Many a young man’s innocence was shattered by that scene from Return of the Jedi featuring a bikini-clad Carrie Fisher. It was like watching Leia tango with Han Solo. This competition is Shawn’s to lose. It’s pretty much a lock!

Stub: I must have missed something. While I admit I don’t know the finer points of Bhangra, I feel like Shawn and Derek were a bit out of sync at times. And other than Derek wearing a leather jacket, I’m not sure they did a great job of incorporating the Knight Rider theme. Wasn’t my bag. Their Argentine Tango, however, was awesome! Looks like our sexy little chipmunk has become a woman. That said, Carrie Ann was right about the lack of precision here and there, and Shawn and Derek’s effort was nowhere near as good as the Argentine Tango that Melissa and Tony put on the floor. I’m not sure Shawn is the lock to win that she may have been just two weeks ago…

Apolo Ohno/Karina Smirnoff

Big Top Jazz (Judges’ Score: 27)

MJ Rumba (Judges’ Score: 30)

Combined Score: 57

Apolo and Karina

The Rib: As off-base as Carrie Ann was about Shawn’s tango, she was spot-on assessing Apolo’s “Big Top Jazz” number. It was disjointed, out of sync, and gave the impression that Karina was unsteady. The Rumba to Man in the Mirror was an odd match, but the dance was beautiful—lovely fluidity and shapes. Apolo deserves to make it to the final.

Stub: Man, that Big Top Jazz routine was a huge mess. I felt like the cast of Fame had been kidnapped by a small, yet dedicated fan base of the short-lived HBO series Carnivale. The Rumba was a whole other story: this dance was smokin’ hot and both Apolo and Karina looked like they were enjoying it, which made it that much better. On a side note, Karina’s costumes have served to rev up the action on the not oft-discussed “Stage” at CorkEnvy. Thank you, Karina!

Emmitt Smith/Cheryl Burke

Espionage Lindy Hop (Judges’ Score: 27)

MJ Tango: (Judges’ Score: 27)

Combined Score: 54

Emmitt and Cheryl

The Rib: The concept of the “Espionage Lindy Hop” was fine enough, but I thought Cheryl looked a little unsteady at times, and some of the transitions out of the lifts were awkward. I was just plain bored by their Tango to Leave Me Alone—in fact, I think that’s exactly what the fans are going to do to Emmitt this week. Emmitt’s charm seemed lacking tonight, which is the key to his survival, as he clearly is not as good a dancer as his competitors. “Good day, sir…I said Good Day.”

Stub: I totally disagree with The Rib—Emmitt’s Lindy Hop was very good. The concept was cool, the dancing was great, and the lifts were virtually flawless. Not sure how Emmitt’s Lindy Hop scored the same as Apolo’s disaster of a Big Top Jazz dance. Emmitt’s Tango was pretty nice, too. I loved the opening, and those synchronized kicks were perfect. Emmitt’s footwork was a little lacking at times, though. I’m a huge fan of Emmitt, but he’s out of his element a bit now against the competition. If his charisma and popularity get him through to the finals, he’ll have a great opportunity to impress in an extended Freestyle dance.

Kelly Monaco/Val Chmerkovskiy

Surfer Flamenco (Judges’ Score: 25.5)

MJ Rumba (Judges’ Score: 28.5)

Combined Score: 54

Kelly and Val

The Rib: The “Surfer Flamenco” lacked precision and was more Paso than Flamenco. The best thing they did during that dance was strip Val to his trunks. The Rumba was much better—both in song and in dance. It was not quite as fluid as Apolo’s, but the light and shade of the dance were very well done. The only trophy Kelly will be going home with is the one on her arm—Val. She will be leaving the ballroom tonight.

Stub: I liked the “Surfer Flamenco,” even if it was light on “Flamenco,” since it was also a little light on “Surfer.” The Rumba that ended the night was absolutely the best Rumba of the evening. Kelly has come on strong throughout the season and has absolutely proven herself to be one of the best dancers on the show. I’m not sure she has the fan base to win (or even get to the finals), but she can absolutely hang with her dancing competition technically.

The Wine

2011 Hughes de Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France

2011 Hughes de Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet

Picpoul de Pinet is a white grape and wine grown and made in the Languedoc region of France.

The Hughes de Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet showed some nice, bright notes on the nose—most notably green apple and a hint of flower blossom.

On the palate, the fruit came across as pear until it warmed a bit, when the green apple really came through. There were nice mineral notes on the palate, which also displayed a nice acidity. Simple, easy drinking, but also complex enough to make you think about it while enjoying its mid-long finish.

Overall, this white wine from Languedoc would please wine novices and experts alike. For $8-$10, this is a nice little wine to sit back on the deck and enjoy on a sunny afternoon. With winter looming, however, it also pairs well with an entrée chicken salad while dreaming of Spring temperature rises and watching the Travel Channel. Probably would be a nice white wine alternative to serve with turkey at your holiday gatherings, too…

Takeaways

The Rib: Despite the outstanding dancing, this whole show was one giant gimmick…crazy dances and mismatched themes followed by the Michael Jackson Bad celebration, for which the Mouse even dragged out his moms into the ballroom. I think DWTS is stretching it a bit, but then again, ABC is just riding its best horse for all it’s worth! I believe the final should and will be the two Olympians and Melissa Rycroft. In the end, I don’t think the chipmunk can (and probably shouldn’t) be beaten. She is truly one of those people who is just the best at everything she does. Gold medals don’t lie!

Stub: I absolutely agree with The Rib on the gimmick-y-ness of the whole week. As for the finals, The Rib and I disagree. The finals will and should include Shawn and Melissa, but the third competitor should be…Kelly. Yup, Kelly has come on strong enough to compete for the new and improved mirror ball trophy. That said, whichever celebrity dancer makes it to the finals with Shawn and Melissa will be dancing for third before the lights come up in the ballroom next Monday night. With The Rib’s pick to win already out of the running, I’m hoping that Melissa can pull off the dances and enough audience votes to take the whole thing. Household bragging rights are on the line…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next week…

Cheers from the Ballroom at CorkEnvy,

Stub & The Rib