Friday, April 1, 2011

Hooping Idol! Bringin' the Drama

Pictured: the Drama
Welp. Here I was thinking I was the only one with mixed feelings about Hooping.Org's Hooping Idol...haha...not so much. You can see some thoughts people are having here and throughout the Hooping Idol pages on I wrote a post about how I felt about  Hooping Idol sometime ago and decided not to post it because:

1) It is SO easy to criticize without offering solutions

2) It was the first time the hoop community had tried something like this - beta testing people. I mean, is a big website with a small staff - it's amazing that they can bring us all that they do! It can't be perfect for everyone all the time.

3) I know some people in the competition and was impressed and supportive of their work - even if not always of the contest itself.

What I thought when Hooping Idol
was announced

That being said, here is what I originally thought when it was announced:

We are modeling something off of American Idol? That brain candy, exploitive show that thrives on embarrassing people in front of millions? Why? What about 'hooping is not a competition? huh? What about THAT!?" 

But, even I thought I was overreacting so I chose to say nothing and just let this unfold. I mean, this was hooping, not prime time TV - this will be a place of support and encouragement, right? And guess what? It mostly was. 

I think that the biggest beef people had about this years competition was that it didn't seem 'fair' because people with better camera, production and editing skills -not better hooping skills- usually were promoted to the next phase. Also, the judges came off as a bit harsh at times, and people with a larger hoop following could rack up more votes without more skill.

But - let's think about this. How would you have made it different? What would you have said as a judge? Judges aren't there to say "WOO HOO AWESOMESAUCE" every time, right?  I think one of the biggest issues was that there is almost never any negativity or criticism in the hoop world prior to this- so it was quite the departure. However, the judges were being honest and offered a LOT of true words and great advice. 

Still as the competition goes on there are still a few changes I would make:

1) Give people more time! 2 weeks at least! it is ridiculously hard to get something with a theme, good dancing, editing, etc. done in 1 week. phew!

2) Make the parameters more clear. Will videos be judged on editing? hoop skill? How much of each counts in the end - let folks know in the beginning so it's not a surprise.

3) Judges OR popular vote. I may be alone on this one, but I would have loved it if only the judges counted. They had strong opinions - let's do something with them!

Overall - it's Hooping Idol, people. Say it aloud. Realize that it's a competition about people hula hooping - not the end of the world. And hey, It certainly is making things interesting. So, those are my two cents - what are yours? What did you like? What would you change?


Shekinah said...

I agree with the "more time". Even if they gave us until Saturday at midnight to enter the videos instead of Friday, that would have helped SO much.

I know the contest isn't over yet, but I thought there'd be more variety in the challenges. Like- "here the judges demonstrate a fancy new trick combo.. you have 1 week to learn it and incorporate it into a minute hoop dance video" or "pick your favourite hoop move and make a tutorial". Maybe that wouldn't have been as exciting for viewers to watch, haha, but that's the kind of stuff I thought we were in for!

And I also agree that the parameters could have been more clear. For our first video, I asked Philo if it had to be done in one take, as though it were a live hooping show. He was like, "absolutely not!" so I think I had a huge misunderstanding of what it would be like right from the beginning ;)

Reading the judges comments were very refreshing and often said what I was thinking about the videos, but what really surprised me is that the hooping itself was never really critiqued. Song choice, location, editing, lighting, yes... but other than a few comments of "cleaner planes", the actual hooping is not coming up much at all, which really shows the judges are looking for eye catching videos, not necessarily skilled hoopers who are entertaining. I almost choked when the judges were telling some contestants to use a smaller hoop. What the heck? Seemed to go against everything has been writing and fighting for the last few weeks in regards to hoop size.

When they weren't slamming me for filming in a shed, hehe, I got advice to "have more balance, more grace, add dance!" I wish they were more specific. Balance when I'm slipping on the ice? Balance of light and dark? Balance doing a specific move they thought was wobbly? Balance of me in the center of the video vs the side of the screen? I was left lost and not knowing what exactly they were wanting, and it's hard to just start adding dance if you don't have a dancing background or dance training. I wish they gave us more tips on what they were envisioning when saying this stuff.

I know a lot of people were complaining about it being a public vote... I myself was a bit disappointed when I found that out too, because some people can really campaign and have facebook lists, hoop students, and a following to give them an advantage. But it doesn't matter. Annosens, from what I can tell, doesn't have much hoop community behind her, but her hooping and videos have gotten tons of people on board to vote for her :) So it really is about winning the audience over whether they liked you already or not. And if it were solely the judges' vote, people would complain about that too. They'd disagree with the decisions made, they'd write mean comments about how so and so should have stayed, and they'd be crying for their opinion to count.

But you are right- it's a test run. I'm sure if they host this again next year, there will be huge improvements, and now people know going into it what to expect, and they will enter with determination to produce something awesome as opposed to just, "what is this? could be fun! let's try out!" like me :D I just hope next time they hold the show in the summer time so people in Northern communities can have more of a chance to get outdoors and find better locations to film in if that's really important for this.

Shekinah said...

Woah, that was a long comment! haha! The tiny comment box just keeps my words scrolling, and I didn't realize I was going on forever. I'll stop taking over your blog now ;)

Shannon said...

" I almost choked when the judges were telling some contestants to use a smaller hoop. "
Me too. Whenever I do a video with more offbody and than on, I have a 42 inch. Huge to you but small to me and my 48 1 inch piping!

I think the competition should have been more upfront about what the expectations other than being "awesome" is.

I know some people are against it totally and I bet you ten bucks they will say, "It goes against the hoop." Cause those are the same people that have said to me that wanting to hold a teaching training so that I can get educated and so can others can is "against the hoop."

Although I wish there was a list of the participants cause I can't stand watching the results video.

Although if flow is a state, how can you have a "flow week?"

And my favorite (other than Shekinah) is Annonens and that guy with the dress (that I wasn't impressed with till last week). And both their videos this week are amazing! Although I can already tell that the judges A) will tell Annonens not to have back against the audience as much B) won't get Nick's humor.

Shekinah said...

I watched the persona week videos, and I love most of them! This is really what hooping needs sometimes... creative stories and fun videos where we don't take ourselves too seriously. It really lightens up the concentrated practice face that so many of us have :D

HoopingNoora said...

Is it just me or does it feel a bit weird, that every single eliminated hooper (that I've seen) has been relieved to be cut from the competition?
I think we all didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into and that was a bit of a shock. I did it for the same reason as Shekinah, just wanted to try for fun, because I love a challenge.

I had fun in the competition and regardless of what the judges said, I consider my 80s video as one of my hoopvideo masterpieces! Haha :D
I'm happy I got feedback from my own idols and I'll remember it forever. But I was, and still am confused about one thing Christabel said to me, though. She said: "You had a few fun moves, but instead of using them as embellishment for your own unique style, you used them to carry your show." I don't understand what that means and it's so confusing! Because.. the character I made is alive only on the beginning, the end and on the bit where I lifted weights (lol). Not when I'm hooping. I can't pretend to be anyone else when I hoop, that is me. Not a character. Just Noora wearing 80's style clothing. And looking at the floor, not flirting to the camera and dancing unbalanced and being bouncy and awkward! ;) That's me! It's my journey and I'm living it NOW. Who knows where I (or anyone of us) will be in few years?
I'm still such a newbie in hooping, that I really haven't even found my own style yet which is of course a downside in this kind of competition, because talent is important. Maybe I was one year too early? Maybe not. But I'm happy I entered, because now I know these kind of things are not for me. :) I can do challenges, but I wont be entering to anymore competitions.

I love everyones new awesome videos, but like a good hooper friend said to me "Why do we need a competition to make these amazing videos?" Why can't we make them for fun just for FUN? Why do we need these almost 2000$ prize packages? Of course that drives us to do more, but we could do it for free, for the sake of our community and for inspiration. The best thing I have ever heard is someone saying that I inspire them. That means more to me than any amount of prizes. Ever! And from now on, I'm doing everything for me, for fun and for the community.

I'm still going to follow the competition and I love watching the entries, but I hope (from the heart) that the winner is an honest and the most talanted hooper. Not the one who has the most friends, but the one who deserves to win.

Ok now I'm done ( I think), thank you, peace, love and hooooops! <3
(Hope I don't sound like a ranting hooper brat... x))

KymSpins said...

This was awesome feedback all around! I think that if nothing else, it is amazing how much Hooping Idol has inspired in hoopers - good or bad. But, I do think it is telling that there is a lot of relief from cut hoopers. I agree with you Noora - we don't need a competition to make awesome vids. And though I know that's not what Philo or anyone was implying - I think it's good to remember it as a hooper.
@Shekinah - long but great! Wonderful feedback. I LOOOVE the ideas about giving specifics about what to DO in the vid - i think specificity overall would have been an improvement!