Welcome to Hooping Idol 2, Hooping.org’s revolutionary contest that is leading us all on an ever spinning journey in our search for the planet’s next big hooper star! For those of you just tuning in we started off by introducing our 20 selected finalists for Season Two. Then we all put on the polyester for Hooping Idol Disco Week. We said our Disco Farewells to 4 and announced Circus Week, then the 16 remaining finalists spun it up under the Big Top for Hooping Idol Circus Week. 6 were eliminated and we introduced Slow Jams Week. Our Top Ten spun up some soft rock and slow jams for Slow Jams Week, but 3 more were eliminated and the Performance Week details were announced.
Our Performance Week challenge was as follows: perform in front of real live human beings, not just in front of a video camera. Over the course of Hooping Idol our judges have been helping each of our finalists fine tune their hooping and performance skills and the time has arrived to put them to the test. The first part of the challenge this week was for each our of finalists to find an audience or bring one together. They could assemble their own or perform at a community event or gathering, just as long as there was a minimum of ten people on hand to enjoy the show. And this week we wanted to see an unedited video of their performance, posted with the camera view perspective of an audience member so that what takes place in the video can be seen by all of us just as if we were there with everyone else witnessing it first hand.
Performing can be more complicated than people think and to help facilitate that reality, we also gave our finalists some additional directives. It’s not at all uncommon to have to wear something specific for a performance. Sometimes the directive comes from ourselves, like wanting an outfit that works with that Middle Eastern song you are going to use. Other times it comes from the party that hired you wanting you to work a theme, or the colors of a party or wedding, or perhaps the promoter who put the show together wants all the performers in something to unify all of the pieces – like clothing, for example. Given that performers don’t always have control over what they’re going to wear we told our finalists to pretend they were performing at a benefit for a non-profit promoting green living who wanted all performers to wear green in solidarity. Their performance outfit didn’t need to be monochromatic – just as long as they were wearing something green.
Performers often, as well, do not have control over their music. Hoopers are often hired because event planners want that certain something extra to happen to take that music performance to the next level. Hoop dancers and performers often need to get in synch with whatever that music is and make it work. While we might prefer performances where we supply our own soundtrack and someone hits play and we can just do our own thing, the reality of performing doesn’t always work that way. Just ask Hoopsie Daisy, Hooping.org’s Assistant Editor who has performed with practically every big name DJ on the planet. Whatever is spinning when it’s time for you to go on stage has got to be your hooping inspiration and to facilitate that experience our finalists were given a performance soundtrack that all seven of them were to perform to this week. What song was it? Well keep reading and find out.Grammy award winning music artist Macy Gray recently took up hooping and we invited her to not only be a special guest judge for Hooping Idol 2 Performance Week, we wanted her music to be the soundtrack for it this year. Our song selection was her cover of “Sail” (on iTunes – originally by Awolnation) from her new album “Covered” (on iTunes) featuring a collection of cover songs hand picked by Macy herself. Speaking with Macy last night by phone, however, we learned that she was unable to watch the performances due to a scheduling conflict, she looks forward to seeing them all soon and she wished our finalists and hoopers everywhere the very best.
Seated at our judges table this week are our four outstanding judges with incredible credentials, as well as another special guest. Our regular judges are, of course, Anah Reichenbach of Hoop Revolution, Rich Porter of Isopop, Canadian hooping legend Babz Robinson of Wild Girl Hoops, and the amazing Marawa The Amazing of MarawaTheAmazing.com in the UK. Joining them this week is none other than Sam Resnicow who took 2nd place last year on Hooping Idol Season One. Our seven Hooping Idol finalists are presenting their videos for Performance Week and our judges will once again be sharing their thoughts and comments. So without any further ado, in a randomly generated order, Hooping.org proudly presents our Top Seven Finalists for Hooping Idol 2 Performance Week!
Anah: Digitalis, I loved that you got such a good size crowd to watch and cheer you on. It really added to the energy. It seems to me like you allowed your adrenaline to take you over a bit, which is easy to do. You stayed more or less in the same pace the whole time and there was not enough “dance” in your movement for my taste. There was one moment at 2:59 that you drew me in. I wish there had been more of that. As a performer you really have to claim your stage, calm yourself and take your time.
Rich: You only had one shot and you chose infinite black? Seems a little like you tried to make this week easy on yourself this week. Your hooping is solid but the video didn’t excite me.
Sam: I’m glad you left the audience’s cheers in there; I can feel how they motivate you through your smiles and body language. I think you did a great job connecting the music with your moves and it really felt like a hoop dance as opposed to just a string of moves. Not sure if this was intentional, but I liked how you went “into the dark” at the end, nice connection with the lyrics.
Babz: Well if you were nervous it certainly didn’t show! You looked like you were having a great time! You really could have used more lighting so we could see more of your body moving. You also seemed to get yourself into a bit of a forwards weave, isolation, forwards weave, isolation pattern. And I would have liked to see you vary the speed of your hooping more. When I do a freestyle type performance I like to write down 5 or 6 moves that I really want to showcase so that if I find myself hooping repetitively it’s easier to break out and keep it interesting.
Marawa: Great setting! Great smile! Didn’t notice your sinuses at all! (ok maybe a bit at the start. Wink. But that’s the ugly side to paid performing sometimes, if you are sick – the show must go on! I loved the change of pace in the middle, when you speed things up a bit. Your hoop and the setting really complimented each other. Did you have someone lighting your face or was that just the hoop? Either way, it was great that your face wasn’t lost as is usually the case with dark videos. And whoever was filming you did a super job! I really enjoyed watching this – and so many spins with your flu – must have been hard work, but you didn’t let on at all! NICE ONE!!
Anah: Aidan, this was a good attempt, but I have more constructive criticism for this performance than any of your others. I didn’t get how the costume related to your performance. You didn’t really connect to your audience and I felt like you kind of did the same moves over and over with no dynamic changes of pace or mood. I don’t expect you to have all this at the age you are and in this sense it isn’t fair to you to be up against older and more experienced hoopers, but here we are. Keep it up, you have a lot going for you. You just need a little time and seasoning!
Rich: Once again your video is shot excellently. I like how your choreography paid attention to the energy of the music. When it stepped up the intensity, so did you. That’s great. I would like to see you commit more with your movement. During the first minute you hadn’t quite found your flow yet and your energy seemed a bit low. I’m very impressed with how many moves you have down!
Sam: Well you definitely rocked the costume aspect and your setting seemed very appropriate. I wish I had a green man suit like that. Overall, you showed a good variety of on and off the body moves. I think that you could improve by connecting the music with the moves more and trying to engage the audience. With a performance, the viewers expect a progression of difficulty with some grand finale. Although I liked your final move, I was expecting something with more of a bang.
Babz: Wow! Awesome suit Aidan! Spandex is NOT the easiest thing to hoop in! It was really nice to see you putting some nice extensions on some of your moves this week and some great accentuated spins as well as varying the speed of your hooping. Not only that, but you also used certain moves to punctuate the dramatic parts of the music. However, I think a lot of this weeks videos will come down to skill level and those who’ve had the flight time to smooth out their hooping. I know polypro is all the rage these days, but I really think your hooping could really benefit from a slightly heavier hoop. I still haven’t made the leap to polypro and that’s after 9 years of hooping. I was really happy to see that you’ve been really using our feedback.
Marawa: The green monster! Such a great start! I still wanted to see your face more, quit looking at the floor already! I get that you have amazing skills, but you are still so shy – ah! But so young, I know you will improve this with time. And you should! You have such great skills you should be sharing them with an audience! When you have an audience it is great to put a few stops or pauses in after big tricks to give them a chance to show their appreciation – don’t be afraid of pauses in your routines I think this would also help when you are changing planes and swapping from horizontal circles to vertical spins etc. as these can be messy to swap between. Go green monster!!
Anah: Yay, a real stage! I liked the beginning, but I think you could have milked it a little longer before you started hooping. This is a really long song so if you hoop the whole time without any stops it just can’t help but get mind numbing. Just because you have a hoop doesn’t mean you have to use it! I think you should feel free to use your emotionality more and really take up room on the stage with just YOU. Another way to keep things interesting is to organize your movements more. Instead of going back and forth between on body and off body often (or switching planes often), it will make more impact if you say, hoop ONLY on body for a full minute or so, THEN go off body, etc…
Rich: Finally someone found a stage for performance week! Your movement is elegant and precise.
Sam: You did a really great job this week in embracing the challenge of performance week. Your setting, costume and progression of moves seemed very appropriate and you connected with the music really well. You seem really comfortable on a stage. I was wondering how that back piece would work with the hoop and it did seem to catch at one point, but you didn’t let it drop – really nice job.
Babz: Nice to see a beginning and an end to your performance and with such smooth and beautiful hooping that always stayed interesting including lots of changes in speed and specific movements emphasizing the changes in the song. Your whole body language seemed to capture and convey a feeling and the mood of the music. Not to mention some really applause worthy moves in there! But please work on that chest roll. Just for me? Pretty please? It can turn an ok move into a “Oh my god!” move. This was definitely one of my faves this week! Thanks Margaux!
Marawa: Ha! Glad you had a great weekend and met awesome people – but what about Hooping Idol?! Don’t forget it is getting to the serious rounds! Gotta keep up the high standard! It was a great video as always, but there was a distinct difference in the quality of this video compared to your others – and it is getting to the final stages – you need to be pulling out all the stops! The tricks were great, of course, and smooth, but I found the backdrop a little distracting. Given that you perform regularly I was surprised not to see you connecting with your (albeit small) audience. I hope your fans pull you through though because I feel you can give a lot more than this video demonstrated!
Anah: Chad, there is no doubt that you are a RAD hooper. I love your moves and groove for sure. I would have liked it if you had gathered some of the many people that were walking there to watch so it would feel more like a performance. And I would have LOVED it if, as has been said for many of your videos, you paid more attention to your clothes. You can wear what you like ultimately, but for a performance piece I would have liked to see a snazzier outfit.
Rich: The shot’s not doin anything for me. As I’ve said each week, your hooping is sick, but I’m getting bored of the wide angle go pro static shots. Step up the video aspect! If you need to do a single shot video like this week, that one shot should be well composed. I’m still rooting for you because of your hooping, but the video didn’t do much for me and they’re feeling repetitive. I’m gonna make a prediction… next week, Chad is going to throw down some sick moves in front of a wide angle camera shot. The moves will be impressive but the video will be so so… limited scenes, long shots, very little editing, camera is always static. Don’t fulfill my prophecy.
Sam: Your style is super impressive with an amazing understanding of plane changes and how to connect them seamlessly. I really like your escalator variations. You had a few hiccups, but I thought you recovered well. I really liked the idea of doing a street performance (Is that Pearl Street?), but I think the lights in the background were a bit distracting. Your costume, although green, didn’t really make it appear that you were doing a formal performance; it seemed impromptu which I actually liked. Great job.
Babz: Well Chad it seems as though it’s your time to shine this week. I think one of the things we all enjoy in watching you hoop is that you go so smoothly from one move to the next with out the “what move am I going to do next” syndrome – with some really awesome and unusual moves in there. However, that can also make one prone to falling into the pattern of doing the same combo of moves again and again. Maybe look back into some older videos you might have taken of yourself from a year ago or more and dig out some of those “oh! I remember when I used to do that!” moves/combos. It always amazes me how much I’ve forgotten! I want to make sure you keep things fresh!
Marawa: Ah Chad, forever casually moving between amazing tricks. Now you have massively dropped the ball here! Listening to music on your ipod and standing in a dark corner of a public place .. I’m not sure if I think that qualifies as performance! Until the end I didn’t think you were performing for anyone. You don’t make any attempt to engage them and all the people walking behind you are just getting your back and the hoodie makes it even more difficult to connect with you as your face is obscured. There is no denying that you are one of the best hoopers around, but I’m not sure how much you have adapted to the different themes each week.
Anah: Thank you Hannah for Bringing IT! I liked your stage, you connected with the audience really well, you DANCED throughout and changed up your pace quite a bit. Truly lovely. Even though you dropped your hoop a couple of times, your energy was great and you worked it! In my opinion you won this week hands down!
Rich: Nicely done. The video is gorgeous. Your hooping is solid and you really seem to lose yourself. And you’re on a stage! Performance week win! Good job on the context audio intro too. Those few seconds of audio place you in front of a crowd when the video otherwise would not have. That also let you overlay clean music instead of recording live audio, which always sounds like crap.
Sam: Although this is a very cool setting and seems like a fun place to hoop, I think the lights at times took the focus away from your hooping. The moments when you were in front of those lasers were when it looked the best. That being said, you looked like you were having a really fun time and your smile really drew me in. It also made me crack a smile when you’d lose the hoop because you didn’t seem frazzled or upset by it at all. Great connection with the music. I really felt the energy in the room and loved the moments when you would change the speed of the hoop dramatically.
Babz: Yeeeaaahhh girl!!! That was frickin awesome! I’m so glad you came back this week so you got to make this and I got to watch it! I could feel so much power and almost a fury coming through your hooping here. Loved the distinct pauses with deliberate looks at the audience. I would much rather seen a hoop go flying for a brief moment than to watch someone hold back for 5 minutes and you my dear DID NOT! I think my only criticism would be to leave out the linear isolations until you’ve got them nailed because unless they’re crisp they end up looking a bit weird. I think it’s fair to say that your audience and I ADORED it!
Marawa: Ah. I really like where you shot this – great backdrop and so nice to see all those smiles! I feel like you choreographed this really well with the lifts of the music and it really worked as a performance. Very pretty feet too! Nice point! It makes such a difference when you work with the song and this week was really interesting to see how some people seemed to ignore that – so it really shows that you worked with the song, Thank you! A really sweet ending too – you are so adorable! I love how you held the moment!
Anah: Laura, maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but the untied strings just dangling from your shorts were super distracting. I didn’t get the outfit in general, but at least the strings should have been tied and tucked away. I love your hooping and you have some nice dance flow, but I think you cold have changed the pace up quite a bit more and added some stops for more drama and to match the song better. I liked your beginning, but the ending needs some work. Don’t worry, I have had to work hard also to get my endings clean! Don’t be afraid to just stay put for a minute. Claim your stage!
Rich: Laura, your hooping was exceptionally precise and dynamic this week. I appreciate that you took the time to properly light yourself. This weeks challenge was hard, but most of the videos this week, including yours, don’t quite seem to rise above the challenge. Your hooping was great though.
Sam: I really liked this. Cool progression from seated to standing at the beginning. Overall I think you showcased a lot of really impressive moves with grace and fluidity. Great recovery with the knee hooping – I’m glad you used your feet as opposed to grabbing it with your hands. Also, that iso to the side of your body was sweet. The only comments that come to mind would be to make sure that you finish strong by staying in your final pose a bit longer if you aren’t going to bow and keep the camera at a certain distance (was pretty up-close around 2:30). Nice work!
Babz: Really appreciated that you included a clear beginning and end to your performance, something quite a few of the others seemed to forget about. Your hooping was well timed to the music and you had some great plane changes going on and a fabulous smile on your face and you seamed to be really engaging your audience. I’m now going to ask you a personal favor Laura. You don’t have to include it in your next video, but please for the love of cod and all that is holy PLEASE work on that chest roll of yours! It’s my ultimate hooping pet peeve of allll time! Think of it not as a chest roll but as an arm to arm roll.
Marawa: I was interested to read that you found this a challenge musically. I actually thought you had the best interpretation of the song. Your movement really worked with the track, the highs and lows, it’s really great! I looked back at your other videos and this is a major improvement! I feel like you have really stepped it up this week so much. Your musicality – the tricks looked great and you put them in the right places – you didn’t fight with the music you moved with it – this is so important in performing and especially in a round where everyone is using the same song – so important. For me this was by far the best use of the song and I really hope you go through because I feel like you have really stepped your game up. So impressed.
Anah: How awesome that you got to do this at Kinetic with your fellow artists! I do wish you had found a more stage-like spot, or at least one without tents in the background. For a song this long you really have to milk the silent moments and the beginning and ending. Because you started hooping right away and didn’t stop, all the motion got boring, even though your hooping is far from boring. I would suggest really taking your time getting on stage. Just because the music is playing and you have a hoop in your hand, doesn’t mean you have to jump into action! Same goes for the ending. Just because the music is still playing, doesn’t mean you have to keep hooping. It can actually be quite poignant to stop before the song does. Also, I think you could have interacted with the crowd a lot more.
Rich: That’s awesome that you shot this at Kinetic fire. Your hooping is solid, but I can’t help but wonder if this really was the most attractive location you could have found there.
Sam: I think this challenge was good for you because it really illustrated how fluidly you move with the hoop. I didn’t mind when you repeated certain combos, but I wish they would coincide with the music a bit more. The moments when you really connected with the counts seemed the most effective (0:51). Making more of those connections with the music could have made this performance even more powerful. Nice work – hope Kinetic Fire was a blast.
Babz: Good Lord! That cartwheel move was off the hook! And it sparked spontaneous applause from your audience! Well done! Unfortunately I felt your hooping this week lacked some of the flow and imagination that I saw in your last video. As well as the hooping was just not as clean as I’ve come to expect from you. But I love the way you move your whole body when you hoop and incorporate the non-hoop hand to create more interest. Just the way you move in general always makes your videos interesting to watch!
Marawa: You move so nicely with your hoop. I feel like you took notice of what was happening with the song in terms of pace and moved accordingly. But don’t forget your audience! In the middle I feel like you fell into the music, but maybe forgot your audience a bit! They are the most important thing when it comes to performing – less about doing it for yourself and much more about doing it to ‘entertain’. You definitely worked with the theme this week though – what a nice crowd!
There you have it, your Hooping Idol 2 finalists and their Performance Week video submissions. The time has come to cast your vote(s) and you can vote for as many as 2 of the finalists you want to see continue on in the competition. You can only cast one voting ballot. Are you ready? Let’s Vote!
Sorry, Voting Has Closed: Watch the Performance Week Results Show Here.
Your Hooping Idol 2 Peformance Week ballots are being accepted for the next 24 hours only and voting will close on Wednesday, May 16th at 4:30pm PST. Three finalists with the least amount of votes this week will be eliminated from the competition and the remaining four will be moving on to our finale and a shot at winning our ultimate Hooping Idol 2 Grand Finale Prize Package. Stay tuned for the voting results from Performance Week here on Hooping.org along with all of the Grand Finale Prize Package details and our announcement of our final Hooping Idol 2 Finale Challenge.