A dark horse wins the air guitar title 2012: American Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard (startphoto) convinced both judges and the audience at the 17th Air Guitar World Championships final at Rotuaari Square in Oulu, Northern Finland.
Second time was the charm for Nordic Thunder who competed at the world final as US Champion in 2011, and got through to the final this year from the Dark Horses Qualifying Round the day before the finals.
Nordic Thunder’s countryman Matt “Airistotle” Burns scored the second,
and the third place was taken over by Theun “Tremelo Theun” de Jong form The Netherlands.
On the stage the 5 most successful Dark Horses and the official Air Guitar Champions from Japan, Great Britain, United States, Estonia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, and Finland challenged the 2011 World Champion Aline “The Devil’s Niece” Westphal. On the first round the contestants played a self chosen song and the ten to score highest were admitted to the second, Compulsory Round, where everyone rocked to Loose My Soul by The Flaming Sideburns. The Grand Final witnessed the 18 contestants, one fierier than the other, fought for the ultimate command of the air. The Final night gathered altogether 5000 people who filled the Rotuaari square.
The World Champion goes home with an electric guitar impeccably handcrafted by Matti Nevalainen of Flying Finn guitars. The top three were also awarded with Air Guitar World Championships products.
Air Guitar World Championship Final 2012 results:
1. Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard, 34,6 (US)
2. Matt “Airistotle” Burns, 34,4 (US)
3. Theun “Tremelo Theun” de Jong, 34,3 (NL)
4. Andro “The Void” Urb, 34,2 (EE)
5. Jaakko “The Colossal” Härkönen, 33,5 (FI)
6. Takehito “Choco Bat Ukai” Saito, 33,4 (JP)
7. Ephraim “The Fame Flame” Noer, 33,3 (DK)
7. Veronika “Like Ever Gin” Müllerova, 33,3 (CZ)
7. Corentin “AirGus” Fermont, 33,3 (BE)
8. Aline “Devil’s Niece” Westphal, 32,8 (DE)
9. Vincent “V-Snyder” Bekaert, 16,4 (FR)
9. Jonathan “Juan Nightstand” Morales 16,4 (UK)
10. Quinten “The Great PretendAir” Rutgers 16,3 (NL)
11. Jan “Geeky Gisbert” Fischer 16,2 (DE)
11. Marie “Moldy Peach” von Borstel 16,2 (DE)
11. Artem “Olympian” Chernov 16,2 (RU)
12. Raphaël “Willy Wantmore” Monnanteuil 16,1 (BE)
12. Bryan “Telerockbies” Antoine 16,1 (BE)
The Final Jury consisted of the legendary Finnish guitarist Juha Torvinen, TV host Heikki Paasonen and Air Guitar World Champion 2000, Markus “Black Raven” Vainionpää, and two national championships’ organizers from the AGWC Network Alexander Gott from Russia and Filip Cerny from Czech Republic. As the Air Guitar tradition has it, after the winner was chosen, all the contestants took the stage once more and encouraged the whole world to play Air Guitar to Neil Young´s “Rockin´ in the Free World”. The purpose of the Air Guitar Championships in to promote world peace – according to Air Guitar ideology, wars will end, climate change stops and all bad things disappear if all the people in the world play the Air Guitar.
The night also included performances by Finnish pop star Olavi Uusivirta, French airband Airnadette, contemporary dance piece “Vimmaa” and a children choir that starred the traditional Declaration of Air Guitar Peace. The final was hosted by American air guitar guru Dan ”Björn Türoque” Crane.
Photos by Matias Partanen