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Air Guitarists Compete For Fame And Glory At World Championships

Nanami Nagura of Japan won first place in the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland on Friday — with her "surprising Cinderella-themed performance."
Eeva Riihela
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AFP/Getty Images
Nanami Nagura of Japan won first place in the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland on Friday — with her "surprising Cinderella-themed performance."

You couldn't exactly call them high strung.

On Friday, 15 contestants from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia brought their A game to a rainy stage in Oulu, Finland for the Air Guitar World Championships.

Each contestant performed part of a song of his or her choosing, then had to improvise to "Hopeless Case Of A Kid In Denial" by the Swedish rock band The Hellacopters.

Alexander Roberts, aka "The Jinja Assassin" apparently for his mane of red hair, came out in a studded denim vest, riffing and falling to his knees as the crowd cheered.

Vincent "Lord Scrat" Roussel of France wore cheetah print leggings with knee pads, a tie and a crown. He let some balloons loose, blew the crowd kisses and plucked the air to "Maniac."

But it was all over when Japan's Nanami Nagura, the 2014 champion, transformed from a Cinderella-type character to a raging, head-banging star.

She took home first prize and will get a spot in next year's World Final. She also received an actual guitar – a hand-carved Flying Finn electric guitar.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

German air guitarist Patrick Culek.
Eeva Riihela / AFP/Getty Images
/
AFP/Getty Images
German air guitarist Patrick Culek.

Sasha Ingber is a reporter on NPR's breaking news desk, where she covers national and international affairs of the day.