If you ever indulged in a spot of air guitar as a kid (maybe you still do), it’s a safe bet you never played your imaginary instrument quite like Nanami Nagura does.
A jaw-dropping performance that combined extreme athleticism with a heavy dose of wackiness helped Japan’s Nagura walk away with the top prize at last weekend’s Air Guitar World Championships.
Taking place in Oulu, Finland, Nagura’s dazzling effort helped her comfortably see off 14 rivals from the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Now in its 23rd year, the global air guitar contest does what it says on the tin, offering the best performers in the world to strut their stuff — and then some — with an imaginary guitar.
At this year’s competition, each air guitarist performed a song of their choice before improvising to Hopeless Case Of A Kid In Denial by Swedish rock band The Hellacopters. Despite pulling moves that would wreck most bodies, there were no reports of hospitalizations among the finalists.
Nagura, who was also crowned best air guitar player four years ago and performs with the artist name “Seven Seas,” astounded both the audience and judges with her extraordinarily athletic performance, which comprised her own take on the Cinderella fairytale. “Wow, wow,” were the first two words to come out of the stunned emcee’s mouth at the end of Nagura’s first set. The vigorous routine scored her a perfect 6.0 score from two of the judges, 5.9 from two others, and a 5.8 from the fifth judge.
American efforts included last year’s winner, Matt “Airistotle” Burns (below), who this time around placed second, Jason “Lt. Facemelter” Farnan, Rachel “Agnes Young” Sinclair, Kate “KitKat” Rose, Brittan “Georgia Lunch” Diaz, and Andrew “Flying Finn” Finn.
Commenting on the performances, Anssi Ikonen, the event’s assistant producer, said, “I believe it’s their desire to perform and to vent their artistic visions,” adding, “The Japanese take this quite seriously, training to their heart’s content. It’s a combination of drive to compete and artistic delivery.”
And what prize did the air guitar world champion receive for her fabulous effort? Why, a real guitar, of course! It’s a Flying Finn electric guitar, but given Nagura’s particular talent, it’s unlikely she’ll ever use it.