We’ve all seen it. Maybe you’ve even tried your hand at it. But this is no late nite drunken Karaoke. No, this is not an embarrassing morning after realization that you proved to your friends that you know every word to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” and the approximate location of all the guitar chords. This is for honor. This is for a title. To be crowned the US Air Guitar Champion and qualify to defend your country’s honor at the World Air Guitar Championships, well that’s the stuff that dreams are made of. And tomorrow, seven of the most skilled air shredders in America will bring their nimble fingers and high kicks to LA for a chance at worldwide glory. And if you really want to puff your chest out in pride, suck on this: this year the US is on the verge of making global air guitar history. Oh yeah, that’s right. In ’05, the USA is going for its third win in a row at the World competition, held in Oulu, Finland. That’s right America. We’re on the verge of a “three-peat.”
What makes this competition so darn exciting is that contestants don’t have an entire song to prove how completely rad they are. If you’re skilled enough to be invited to perform at the US championships, you have to whittle down “November Rain” to one mind-blowing minute in which you will be judged on a combination of technical prowess, stage presence and “airness.” Co-founder of this global event Cedric Devitt clarifies “airness” as “that really elusive quality of transcending the imitation of an art form – ie playing guitar – and creating a new art form – air guitar.” But beyond the creation of a new art form through a one minute re-interpretation of the guitar solo in “More Than A Feeling,” it’s the human stories behind the cut-throat competition that really get you. Last year, Brooklyn native Miri “Sonyk-Rok” Park defeated the world’s best in Finland, including, in a particularly moving and emotional guitar-off, her mentor and 2003 US champ David “C-Diddy” Jung. “In a time of global uncertainty, we are demonstrating that there is at least one area in which the USA can dominate without controversy – air guitar,” enthused fellow founder Kriston Rucker. We shall see if this year’s US champion can pull off the “three-peat” and continue America’s reign as air-guitar dominators, and by extension, the coolest country in the world. USA! USA!