Welcome to Performance Week on Hooping Idol 4! It’s our fifth exciting week in our quest to find the planet’s next great hooper star and our five remaining finalists are ready to perform for you, and your votes. So far this season we’ve seen our contenders hip hop their hoops, rock them out, get all fancy with ‘em, even spin up some musical theater. This week, however, the playing field has been leveled. All five were given the exact same directives, the same music to perform to, and we’re about to see each take the stage and show us what they got. Whatever they do, they really need to make it count because at the end of Performance Week two of our final five will be eliminated – and the remaining three will be moving on to the Hooping Idol 4 Finale and a shot at winning our Ultimate Hooping Idol Prize Package!
For those of you who are just tuning in, here’s what has happened so far this season on Hooping Idol. We met our 21 contenders who all spun up something amazing for Hip Hop Week and six were eliminated. Then our remaining 15 rocked out for Classic Rock Week and five more were sent home, bringing us to our top ten. They spun things up with jet set style for High Society Week and though three were to be eliminated, only two were sent home as the result of a tie. Last week was Musicals Week and three were eliminated, leaving us with the five fantastic finalists you’re about to see perform tonight.
Our five judges for season four all have the most excellent credentials and they are Sharna Rose of Sharna Rose Hoop Dance in Maidstone, England, UK, Stefan Pildes of GrooveHoops in New York City, Lisa Lottie of LisaLottie.com from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and London, England, UK, Ayumi Mitake of Hoop Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan, and Katie Sunshine of Katie Sunshine Hoops from Conway, Arkansas, USA.
This week Ayumi won’t be joining us due to a scheduling conflict and sitting in her seat is our first guest judge for Performance Week. It’s none other than than our very own Hoopsie Daisy and in addition to being the Susan Lucci of the Hoopie Awards, and Assistant Editor here at Hooping.org, she’s performed for major companies and events, as well as with practically every big name DJ on the planet – Mark Ecko, Yelp, Lululemon, Benny Benassi, Josh Gabriel, Dave Dresden and so many others. If anybody knows the ins and outs of hoop performance, it’s her, and it’s great to see her in a seat at the judges table this week.
Our second special guest judge for Performance Week is no stranger to everyone as well. It’s none other than Hannah Flett of Exeter, England, UK, the winner of Hooping Idol 2! Hannah knows exactly what it takes to win Hooping Idol, because she did it herself! While not a favorite to win that year, Hannah took what she learned each week and spun it all up into nothing but awesomeness, and she’s been doing it ever since. We’re very pleased and excited to not only have her back, but to have someone who has hooped a mile in their shoes, as it were, joining us to share her thoughts this week as well.
But that’s not all, we also have one more very special guest this week.
Basement Jaxx, one of the few perennial favorite music artists of hoopers everywhere, also happen to be the masterminds behind the soundtrack for The Hooping Life, the popumentary film documenting the rise of the modern hoop dance movement. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an absolute must for hoopers and non-hoopers alike. That’s why we’re super psyched and honored to have Amy Goldstein, Director of The Hooping Life, not to mention the kickass Basement Jaxx music video above, joining us as a special guest judge – who also happens to have a very special present. The winner of Hooping Idol is not only getting themselves a copy of The Hooping Life on DVD, they’ll be getting a very special copy autographed by Basement Jaxx themselves! How cool is that? Amy is an American director, producer and screenwriter of music videos, television series (HBO, Fox, CBS, Showtime, MTV), and feature films. Her discerning eye, attention to detail and intimate knowledge of filming hoopers makes her an excellent addition to the panel this week and we couldn’t be more delighted to have her here.
Speaking of what our Idol will win this year, our Ultimate Hooping Idol Prize Package has never been bigger! It’s worth more than $3000 and includes a Hoop Revolution teacher training, a pass to the biggest hooping event of the year – Hoopcamp 2014, and a pass to the big event in Europe this year – Hoopurbia in Berlin. Our Idol will be getting their hands on the Atomic Evoke 4 from Astral Hoops, two months of free advertising from Hooping.org, a $200 gift certificate from HoopSupplies.com, the fire hoop of their choice from Synergy Flow Arts, gift certificates from the good folks at OceanChildOrganics and Hoopclothes.com, as well as the brand new DVD of The Hooping Life and a deck of hooper playing cards. The total value is worth more than $3260!
A great big thank you to all of those in our community who have generously donated prizes for this season, and to all of our judges for taking time out of their hectic schedules to share their thoughts with all of us this week. So, are you ready to see them spin it up? Good, because it’s Performance Week on Hooping Idol.
The challenge: perform in front of real live human beings, not just in front of a video camera. Performance Week videos needed to be filmed from the perspective that the camera was an audience member, so that what takes place can be seen by all of us just as if we were sitting right there in the audience with everyone else. They were to find an audience to perform in front of or create one of their own, providing there was a minimum of ten people in attendance to enjoy the show. They could film something for the beginning or ending to show this, but the performance itself needed to remain unedited from start to finish. Our contenders were all given a copy of The Hooping Life song by Basement Jaxx to perform to and were told that their outfit needed to be colorful, just as the music video itself is an explosion of color. There you have it and here we go. We proudly present the performances by our final five in an order that was randomly drawn out of a hat.
Sharna: Esmeralda, this is a wicked performance video which was presented beautifully. I really enjoyed the mixing up of the music for the video audience: from pumping stage view to audience perspective, it was a great way of keeping it real. It was superb to see you mixing up the levels on the stage during and using a multitude of hoops with skill, beauty and humility. The small movements of the camera were a little distracting, but the use of your hoop family/audience was still a sweet touch. You have a sweet connection to the music via your physicality. Score: 9.
Lisa: What I just adore about you is your personality Esmeralda, you really shine in your videos, so much so that I feel like I just want to hang out with you and have a coffee. It’s not just because of your obvious confidence in your art form, but because it is so clear that you just love what you do, and that is exactly what an audience wants to see when they see a performance. Technically, I absolutely adored the four hoop isolation illusion thing you do at 2.40! So simple, yet so effective! Something that could have been better is the stage lighting – having moving coloured lighting isn’t great for hula hooping, A) because the hoops become harder to see, and B) if you try and do a balancing move, where you are standing on one leg and looking straight ahead with a hoop on your foot for example, you will find that it is 100x harder to do the trick just because your entire focus is disabled ’cause of the lighting. I am SO happy you thought about when to fade in the sounds of your audience reactions though!!! I think you have done a fantastic job. Score: 8.
Stefan: Way to engage your audience in your performance. You really let them know when to be excited for you and that is a sign of a great performer. I also liked that you started the performance with some floor hooping too, something no one else did. I really got a hooping story out of your performance. Score: 10.
Katie: Esmeralda, I had to catch myself when I first began to review your video because you are such a natural performer, I think I automatically had higher expectations of you. However, I realized that wasn’t fair! You are so wonderful in a live performance setting. You’re comfortable, you dress the part, you smile, you incorporate your audience, and what’s more, you never miss a lick! If that southern idiom doesn’t translate well, it means you never make a mistake. It’s incredible. I mean, I saw a couple of wobbles, but you reacted and adjusted so well I’ll bet your audience never noticed. I think the best part of your performance was moving steadily from one to two to three hoops and so on to keep your audience guessing what was going to come next. You’re a pro. I’ll deduct just a half a point the tiny little wobbles I noticed. Score: 9.5.
Hoopsie: You are born show(wo)man! The floor hooping section was awesome, and you had a fantastic energy throughout. I wish the lighting had been a little bit better so we could see your cute costume and facial expressions. It was fun to see some of the audience members hooping too – great way to involve the audience. Score: 9.
Hannah: I though some of your previous videos were a bit slow, but I am happy to say I though this one rocked! I thought you had a great outfit, great smile and lots of enthusiasm. You have a natural performance style and pulled off some tricky moves, well done. Score: 9.
Amy: What fun! You really engage the audience putting on a staged show. Great introduction, great outfit, love that you greet us to your show like a true MC. Really challenging moves, which you did with such contagious energy. You have captivated us. But you are losing us by not being lit better. You seem very aware of the beat, but getting from one hoop move to the next is not very integrated. It feels like a succession of moves instead of a whole that’s fluidly choreographed from one move to the other. Love that you included other hoopers hooping at the beginning and at the end, I felt like I was there. Score: 7.5.
Sharna: Flavie, you look comfortable on that stage, your whole body movement is subtle, yet powerful in its shapes and lines. However, I felt that the introduction of the other hoops needed a little more dynamism, it lost the pace of the track. Some beautiful double hooping nicely timed to the beat and a really great finale. Seeing your children in the background reminds me how far you have come in this competition and how far you have grown. I am not sure how much performance you get in, I too have children and I am committed to them, so this gets in the way of my freedom to perform. Score: 8.5.
Lisa: Hey Flavie, you really DANCE with your hoop and it’s great to watch! I love that thing you do with your knees where they buckle in and out as you isolate the hoop down and up. A couple of things you could improve on here: When you have a stage hand throw you a second, third or fourth hoop: make sure that they KNOW when its coming. I hate to see someone on stage communicating with someone off stage! You shouldn’t need to beckon. You should be able to stop, focus on the assistant and they should know that THATS the time the hoop should come! Also, I’d like to see you work in time to the beat a bit more, you know where the music goes: ‘work that hoop’ at 1.56: you could have that hoop pop out exactly on ‘work’. It will just impact the audience that little bit more and the magic is certainly in details like that. Thank you for giving me a multi-hoop finale! The best way for any hoop performance to finish in my book! Score: 7.
Stefan: Great choreography to the song. Your poses and extensions were really clear. You maintained your expression of joy for the whole performance and that goes a long way. Score: 10.
Hoopsie: I can definitely see the dance in your hoop dance! I liked the less formal costume – it was fun without being too overdone. Really nice double hoop work with precise, deliberate isolations. I would have liked the transitions when adding hoops to be a little faster, but overall great job! Score: 7.5.
Katie: Great job this week! You were spectacular at incorporating more and more hoops into your performance. That is a great way to keep your audience on the edge of their seats. And what’s more, not a single mistake! There were a couple of tricks that could have used a little more finesse. The one leg hooping, for example, would have been much more attractive if you could have straightened your free leg. But you had a lot of attitude in your performance which I loved and your costume was great! I’ll subtract a couple of points just because I think it could have been a little smoother. Score: 8.5.
Hannah: I love how theatrical you are Flavie and your storytelling throughout Hooping Idol has been fantastic. I don’t think you are as skilled as some of the other hoopers, but you smiled and danced your whole way through with so much energy. Your personality shines through and I can tell you are giving it all you’ve got. Score: 7.5.
Amy: It really feels like you are performing for an audience, you are reaching out to them with your gestures and your smile, love it! Very cool move at 0.52. Your choreography does not emphasize enough the changes in the song though, it feels too much the same throughout. At “it’s a revolution!” I was hoping to see your hooping build to something, but you are getting another hoop. Your upper body can really groove, but your feet feel a bit planted to the ground. You are well lit, we can see you popping out of the background and we can see your expressions, which is great! Score: 6.5.
Sharna: Crikey Heather, this is an awesome performance and your presentation of it is really heartwarming and exciting. This is the first time I have really noticed how alert you are, like a sprightly goat – meant in the nicest possible way, nimble and light. I was very engaged with you as an audience member, with a smile on my face eager to see where you would go next. I do have a suggestion that you should start using your left arm, try to mix up your leading arm. I notice it because I also am guilty of this, but it did not interfere with my reception of your performance. Your single hoop work was never boring and you handled the loss of the second hoop really well. Score: 9.
Lisa: Hey Heather, what a beautiful training space you have to work in! I’m jealous. One thing I really wish would have been different in your video is the music. I find it almost impossible to watch something when people are wooping and cheering over the top. It also distracts a performer hugely while they are on stage. It’s great you have a supporting community behind you, but applause and appreciation should come at the end of a trick at a rest point, and primarily at THE END of a performance! It’s not your fault, but you could have muted them out and stuck the music over the top of the video for greater watchability. I watched this once with the sound low, and once with the sound off. Your hooping is sublime, I love the way you manipulate and I love that straddle jump you do at 1.07! You are suffering a little bit from ‘hoopers arm’ though, where we are so busy focusing on what we are doing with one hand that we totally forget about the other one and usually it means a limp elbow and a slightly curled hand. Pick up on that and make sure your whole other arm is always doing something pretty. I don’t mind at all that you dropped your second hoop right before the end, it happens to the best of us! I would have preferred to see you without all the ambient woops though. Score: 7.5.
Stefan: Once again great work involving your community into your piece. Great way to start the performance and end it. I really enjoyed your skill and presentation. There are two problems I had with your performance. First, I didn’t get much emotion from you. At times you were smiling and other times your were bewildered. Second, a few times I could see you “thinking” about your moves and that is why I can’t give you a ten. Pick one story/emotion and hold it for the performance. Otherwise great work . Score: 9.
Hoopsie: Very smooth. That Russian over the hoop was amazing! I liked that you included a lot of core hooping which still requires a lot of skill! I really liked that you had some level changes too. It’s such a blessing to have a large stage area that I would have liked to see you move around that space a little more, but I know you were trying to stay in frame for the camera. You had a couple of hiccups, but you kept on going which is the mark of a true performer. Score: 8.
Katie: Wow, you really gave this performance everything you had! I love that you packed so many tricks into such a short song. You’re palm spins are perfect and I notice you add those in a lot as filler, which is wonderful! They’re a great move that is visually stunning so good choice, plus it really gives your performance a lot of energy. That hoop never slows down, not even for a second! You did have a couple of mistakes, but geez, that’s so hard NOT to do when you’re giving it all you’ve got. I feel so bad docking you points for those because I certainly would have made them myself, but I feel it’s my role as a judge to do so. Great energy, great connection to your audience, and I loved all the hoop love at the end! Score: 8.5.
Hannah: Heather, this was great! Clean, smooth hooping with a really wide range of tricks. That between the leg thing you did was awesome and your audience loved it too! I think you moved really well to the music, although quite a lot of the time I couldn’t really hear the music. Did you make the track quieter for the cheers when editing? But anyway, you looked like you were having lots of fun, well done. Score: 9.
Amy: Wow. You’ve got a great vocabulary to your hoop moves. Awesome move at 1.07. Well lit. Fantastic energy and shifts to the beats of the song. You sustained my interest for the entire performance. Your hoop moves are very well choreographed to the music. You lost a hoop towards the end, but you stayed with us, that’s true performance. Overall, you are really engaging with your audience, drawing them in. Score: 9.5.
Sharna: Are you sure Sheri that you have only been hooping the short time you have? You really are ridiculous you know! You are so inspiring with your zesty smiling self. You are so comfortable up there silkily dropping the next trick, on the beat. After eight years the stage still kind of terrifies me, and I watch superstar performers like you in total rapt wonder. The transitions from single to double, and then double to quads, are epic and this song also seems like it was made for you. Score: 10.
Lisa: Sheri, you did a fantastic job. One of the things I loved most about this performance was your sublime use of 4 hoops. Those manipulations are very tough and you nailed them! Also that transition of 1 to 2 hoops with the little foot-kick into the isolation is a JOY! The way to make this better is by using the space you are in a bit more. You are very static, confined to your one floor space. It would be worth exploring the rest of the space to mix things up and keep your audience interested. Your ending was beautiful and different, but I do wish that you would have caught all your 4 hoops on your arms in one go before you went into your ‘hoop fold’ final pose. Last thing: you chose GREAT colours for your hoops, they are so visible and compliment all your moves just perfect. You did fabulous! Score: 9.
Stefan: Fun costume and great skills. I really liked your transition from one to two hoops, and then from two to four. Very inventive. You were in the hoop zone for 90% of the performance. I did not get much of a story from your performance, but your skills, your start, stop, choreography and extensions were wonderful. Your skill level is bar none. Score: 9.5.
Hoopsie: The bright colors of your costume and hoops made a vivid contrast against the gray background. I loved the transitions when adding hoops, and I liked that you had variety in both your tricks and the speed of your hooping. Great multihooping skills! Score: 9.
Katie: Wow, Sheri. I’ve said it before and it’s worth saying again: I think your technical skill is the best in this competition. This weeks unedited performance was spectacular. You know, all competition long I’ve been reserving my “10′s” for any performance that just really blew me out of the water and showed me something I have never seen before. I have to say, this week it was your performance for me. That combo you did with the 4 hoops from 1:28 to 1:38 was awesome! I have to deduct one half a little point for the one tiny mistake you made which I almost feel hypocritical for doing, because I certainly could not do a live performance like that and not make a mistake! But it’s my duty as a judge. Almost perfect! Score: 9.5.
Hannah: Sheri, you are like a pop star in all your videos. I mean this in a very good way – and I love your style. The outfit was great, the 4 hoop stuff was great, you make difficult tricks look really easy. I like your transitions, the way you picked up your hoops was really smooth. The only thing I would say is its almost too perfect (I know, you can’t win), but I want to see you really getting into the music, really enjoying yourself and letting go too. Score: 8.5.
Amy: You have a fantastic artistic sense. Love the choice of the location, the attention to detail like the color coordination between your costume and your hoops, it’s absolutely lovely. Extraordinary moves at 0.20 and 0.38 and the shapes you make with the hoops are beautiful. You get from one move to the other in a very fluid way, your entire performance feels choreographed to the music. You are the only contestant who added hoops to the choreography in a graceful manner. Unfortunately, it does not feel that you are engaging with an audience and it would be great if you could integrate the lower half of your body into your hooping. Very elegant ending, love the fold with the hoops. Score: 8.5.
Sharna: I love fire hooping Lisa, the whoosh of the fire, the shadows on the face, the glitter of the candles that mark the circle. Audiences love fire and they are always dazzled by a fire hoop performance. Your audience was indeed having a marvelous time. I would have liked to see you use another fire hoop, because your double hooping is sweet and it would be epic on fire. I was happy to see you came close to engage eye contact with your audience, fantastic. Even though we, the video viewer, may have struggled to see you, I know for a fact the audience had an enchanting time and that is the remit after all. Score: 8.5.
Lisa: Hey Lisa, there is a problem here unfortunately. You chose a fire hoop in the dark and I don’t think your camera was able to register enough information. The footage is jittery, I can hardly see what you are doing! I’m able to see that you had a good listen to the music and I like your tempo very much as you are really with the music. You and the hoop are fully syncing to that, but man, why do you use a fire hoop for performance week? Fire hoops can’t roll, they can’t touch your skin from the outside of the hoop and that takes out about 90% of the most fun things you can actually do with a hoop! Also I wish that you would have muted your audience and given me the track over the top of the video because oh – I find the woops and cheers so distracting from being able to watch you with joy. Score: 5.5.
Stefan: Nice way to put a fiery spin on it. However, a performance should be a story with a beginning a middle and an end. Instead I just got a list of tricks from you. As impressive as they were, I felt very little connection to the story of your performance. Score: 8.
Hoopsie: Really nice use of the performance space. I liked that you choreographed the changes in tempo in your hooping to match the music. You are a brave girl to do a few breaks on the core with a fire hoop! I wish there had been a little bit more light so the audience could see your beautiful face, but you did a great job expressing yourself with the hoop. Score: 8.
Katie: I love the fire hoop! I don’t think I’ve seen that from you yet in this competition so great choice to break that out during performance week. I liked that you sped up or slowed down your hooping to mimic the mood of the music. It definitely shows that you know the song and you know what’s coming next and are invested in performing to your music. For me, that’s a huge factor in whether or not an audience remains engaged or not. Aside from the fire hoop, though, I didn’t see many new moves from you. I know from your past videos you’ve got a lot more tricks up your sleeve. I would suggest with a live performance you squeeze every last trick you can possibly get into that 2:30 minute song. Maybe you were just trying to be safe, always a precaution you take with a fire hoop! Other than that, you looked totally comfortable, you completely rocked it, and your audience obviously was mesmerized! Great job with the breaks too, I know those are pretty scary with a fire hoop! I’ll dock just one point from a stellar performance for not seeing as many tricks. Score: 9.
Hannah: Well I find fire hooping terrifying and rarely do it so you get lots of points from me for that, especially as you came across as really confident. I find hooping quite limiting with fire, but you managed to get loads of tricks in there and you really listened to the music and adapted your style and tempo with it. It felt like a proper performance too, great job! Score: 9.5.
Amy: It’s very bold of you to fire hoop. I know how hard it is to master, and I feel I never get to see enough fire hooping. But by fire hooping, you picked something that is in essence difficult to light well. I can barely see you as the only light on you is coming from the hoop; you need to be lit to give the full experience of a live performance. The shutter speed on the camera has not been adjusted for the fire, which makes the fire hooping jerky. Your moves are a bit repetitive, but I do feel that you are grooving out to the song. Score. 5.5.
There you have it, your Hooping Idol 4 contestants and their Performance Week submissions. Our judges have submitted their scores that will comprise 40% of our final vote. The remaining 60% of the vote comes from you – and the time has come to cast your ballot. Vote for the one finalist you want to see in the Hooping Idol Finale, and please keep it to one ballot per person so our server doesn’t crash. Thank you! If by some chance you get a message that says you’ve already voted and you haven’t, clear your browser cache and/or close your web browser entirely, and reopen it in a few minutes and try again. Thanks.
Are you ready? It’s time to make your choice. Let’s vote!
SORRY: VOTING FOR PERFORMANCE WEEK HAS CLOSED
Your Hooping Idol 4 Performance Week ballots are being accepted only until Wednesday, May 14th at 4:00pm PST. The two finalists with the lowest scores will be eliminated from the competition and the remainder will be moving on to the finale and a shot at winning Hooping Idol 4 and our Ultimate Hooping Idol prize package. Stay tuned for those results and happy hooping everybody!