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Rocking the air guitar: Competitors take to the stage in crazy costumes to play imaginary instruments for championships
- The air guitar world championships was held in Finland yesterday
- Eighteen competitors from all over the world took the stage for the annual competition
- Justin 'Nordic Thunder' Howard from Chicago won the title
- The competition promotes world peace
By Alex Ward
Usually limited to the confines of a bedroom, playing the air guitar means flailing arms and energetic miming but when it comes to the world championships the most important trait is ‘no shame’.
That was what helped Justin Howard aka ‘Nordic Thunder’ out-mime ‘Airistotle’ and win the title of Air Guitar World Champion at the 17th annual competition in Oulu, Finland.
From all over the world they came, dressed to impress in leather straps, bright pants and fake blood, for their 60 second solo performance, imaginary guitar in hand.
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Rock star act: Raphael 'Willy Wantmore' Monnanteuil from Belgium was one of 18 competitors who performed in the 17th annual Air Guitar World Championship in Finland yesterday
Nordic Thunder from Chicago won over 18 finalists from countries including Japan, Britain, Russia and Czech Republic.
He said before his winning performance: ‘My strength is that I have absolutely no shame.
‘I’m not concerned by looking like a fool. I embrace that and I plan to look like that today.’
Claiming his title he said: 'I feel amazing, I feel loved, I feel like crying and laughing and hugging.'
International competitors: Air guitarists came from all over the world including pictured performer Vincent 'V-Snyder' from France, Japan and Britain
For world peace: In third place was Theun 'Tremelo Theun' de Jong in the competition that promotes 'world peace' with the ideology that 'all bad things disappear if all the people in the world play the air guitar'
The competition aims to promote world peace.
On the championship website it says: ‘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.’
Following air guitar tradition, after the champion was announced all competitors took to the stage once more to encourage the whole world to play air guitar to Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’.
He narrowly beat Matt ‘Airistotle’ Burns from New York and Dutchman Theun de Jong who came in second and third.
No shame: Winner Justin 'Nordic Thunder' Howard now holds the title of air guitar champion. He said his greatest strength was that he has 'absolutely no shame'
Former world champion Aline 'The Devil's Niece' Westphal from Germany came in eighth.
She said of her solo: 'The performance this year is very different from the performance last year, it's more girlie style, it's wild, it's rock n roll style and it's not so dramatic as last year and yeah, a little bit more crazy, I think.'
Competitors are marked on their technical expertise and stage presence with air guitarists jumping, sliding and crowd diving to impress the judges.
The judges include Finnish guitarist Juha Torvinen, TV host Heikki Paasonen and Air Guitar World Champion 2000 Markus ‘Black Raven’ Vainionpää.
Torvinen said: 'I for myself, I like improvisations. That is the main thing for me, but of course you have to look at the whole performance and I think my heart decides who is the best one.
'It's that simple and difficult at the same time.'
Finland is known to host various unusual events including an international mobile phone throwing contest and a wife carrying competition.