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Faking it for the win at U.S. air guitar semi-finals

Saturday - 7/20/2013, 1:26pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Only at an air guitar competition can you win by faking it.

Three area "air guitarists" who played their imaginary, invisible, pretend guitars at the 9:30 Club Friday night are going to L.A. to compete in the US Air Guitar Championships. High scorer "Tommy Fretless" Lee Adam and tied behind him "The Thunder" Doug Strook and "The Marquis" Rob Messel.

This was serious fun because the finalists were picked by three judges, each of whom has won either the semi-finals, the U.S. Title or the World Title.

The judges have to base the scores on three categories according to U.S. Air Guitar standards:

  1. Technical merit: Such as making sure the fretwork on the invisible fretboard corresponds to the song chosen. The notes don't have to be the same but it's important to look like you are really play the guitar.

  2. Stage presence: Being able to rock the crowd without an actual instrument in your hands.

  3. Airness: Defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.

Former National finalist Paul "Fender Splendor" Alexander has retired from competition but loves judging because the sport attracts, "really impressive people who do a combination of athletics and dance, professional wrestling, and charades, and costuming, and drag competition. And are putting it all together in this amazing, incredibly fun, artistic, impressive performance," he says.

The U.S. Air Guitar Finals will be Aug. 17.

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Tags: air guitar