Neon spandex, fake blood, dick bulges, and such luminaries as "Cold Steel Renegade" and Peter "Stiff" Dickens were all in effect at the U.S. Air Guitar National Finals on Saturday night. There was also plenty of head banging, jumping in the air, pelvis thrusting, and, of course, invisible guitars.
This was the 11th national finals of its kind, and over 200 people competed for one of the 21 finals spots in L.A. The winner would get a real guitar and the chance to go to Finland for the Air Guitar World Championships, where the competition originated and has been held since 1996.
See also: Our slideshow of the event
The proceedings were hosted by the now retired, former perennial contestant Dan "Bjorn Turoque" Crane. The judges included comedian Kristen Schaal and former 2006 and 2008 national air guitar champ Craig "Hot Lixx Hulahan" Billmeier.
There were banners with past champions hanging from the rafters and a bunch of red, white, and blue decorations. Given that the U.S. is still considered an outsider in the young sport of air guitar, we get it. And we're all for national pride. But it was a little frightening at times.
In the first round contestants have 60 seconds to perform any song they wish, and in the second those who've moved on must perform to a song which is a surprise. Contestants are judged on technical merit, stage presence, and "airness." Lastly, of course, all instruments must be invisible and a guitar.
After an introduction and short collaborative performance from "Turoque" and "Hulahan," the competition began.
First up was the oldest competitor to have ever entered, a 63-year-old dubbed "Smart Old Broad." Though she wasn't the most acrobatic or the most mobile of all the competitors, we give her a lot of credit for showing up and giving it her all.
After that was "Your Mother," who came on stage with a cooler bag and proceeded to toss juice boxes out to the audience. During her song she detonated confetti explosives, one of which nearly took us out. Then "MathRomancer," with the "Pi" symbol shaved into his chest hair, executed a perfect stage-dive into a screaming audience.