KANSAS CITY, MO — After a weeklong siege of Kansas City, where every major newspaper, newscast, and even the Mayor’s Office dedicated themselves to splattering the city with all things air guitar, AIRISTOTLE (Matt Burns, NYC), our child-philosopher-king, took the 2014 US Air Guitar National Title. This will be his second trip as the U.S. representative on the world stage in Oulu, Finland. He will compete against two dozen other countries and his fellow countryman, last year’s world champion, Mean Melin (Eric Melin, KC) in the name of world peace.
In my opinion, the difference maker in last night’s competition can be sufficiently described as “the fourth criterion,” or perhaps Airness Two. Unlike many national competitions held overseas, in the U.S. it is no longer possible to win the title with the traditional three criteria (technical, stage presence, “airness”); gone are the days when we could simply default to “airness” as the tipping point between champion and everyone else because, as any one in attendance or watching the livestream saw, there was no more or less airness at the top of round two than at the bottom – and yet everyone agrees the right guy one.
At competitions around the globe, Airness is a binary: you either have it or you don’t. But some time in the last decade here in the U.S., following extensive testing in venues across the country, we turned that binary into a wave.
And now we’ve blown that wave out of the fucking water.
Airistotle became perhaps the first competitor in the history of US Air Guitar to earn a perfect 6.0 score in consecutive rounds at the National Finals, which is exactly what was needed to fend off the near-perfect offerings by TONY TAPATIO (Anthony Cervantes, Portland), LT. FACEMELTER (Jason Farnan, San Diego), DRY ICE (Aaron Alonso, Juarez, MX), and THUNDERGLAND (Mat Barats, Chicago) and DOUG “THE THUNDER” STROOCK (Doug Stroock, DC).
While we wait on Finland’s official approval to release more video footage, you’ll have to take our word for it that Thundergland and arguably TYRANICUS LORD OF THE END TIMES (Brandon Baker), fell victim to either their taste or bad luck, respectively. Thundergland went with a sports-themed routine which won over countless fans but failed to strike a chord with a judging panel still haunted by memories of getting beat up by people who play sports. As for Tyranicus, he lost the pre-show draw and performed near the top which often all but guarantees a meager score. Had Airistotle drawn the 6th spot as Tyranicus had, he certainly would have advanced to round two; but it’s unlikely he would have received a perfect score. Whether Tyranicus would have slipped into round two had he drawn a better number is now a question for the ages.
Thundergland, with the support of this blogger, miscalculated the judge’s scorn for all-things-sports-themed, even in a flawlessly executed performance. Memories of painful wedgies loomed large as the judges sent Thundergland into round two nearly half a point behind the front-runner.
Doug “The Thunder” Stroock’s best move came in round two after we revealed that local (real) band, ME LIKE BEES, would play the competition’s compulsory song live-on-stage. Stroock, known for his innovation and a crotch resembling “a metal wrapped ham you buy at the grocery store,” entered the stage and tuned his air guitar along with the band’s (real) guitar.
Still, all the innovation and all the foil wrapped twigs and berries in the world can’t beat two rounds of well-earned perfect sixes. Not only did the right person win, but also the perfect person to lead the U.S. to an unprecedented three-peat in Finland.
It’s not that RICKY STINKFINGER (Alex Forbes) or Corp-Air-Ation (Brian Reeves) aren’t ready to do us proud overseas; it’s more that perhaps Europe’s delicate sensibilities aren’t quite ready for them. But like FREDOPHILE always says, “––your kids are gonna love it.”
Additional innovation came from DC Champion SHRED (Lance Kasten) in the form of whatever the hell this thing is:
And it seems recent hall of fame inductee SETH LEIBOWITZ (Justin Hypes) has perhaps at long last circled the square: Seth has now appeared in both rounds at nearly every level: from qualifier, to Semifinals, to both rounds at Nationals, and all over the international stage. One now wonders what new character or style Seth/Hypes can come up with next.
As for Tony Tapatio, who won this year’s Best Performance Award at a black tie barbecue event, he has crafted a routine of technical and sexual perfection to a level that reminds the rest of us just how bad we are at air guitar and fucking. After some pre-performance gum-twirling, condom-unfurling foreplay, he proceeds to a dreamy necrophiliac’s Golden Girls “Thank You for Being a Friend” into the Melvins’ metal/punk hit “Honey Bucket.” Flip the NSFW switch and head over to the Tony Tapatio youtubes for a martini before and a cigarette after.
Emotions are running high as our flights now trickle out of Kansas City, leaving behind all the warmth and generosity showered upon us by everyone here. As we depart there’s two overwhelming feelings coming over us all. First, 2015 cannot come sooner.
And Finland is fucked.