A DARK HORSE WINS THE HIGHEST TITLE IN AIR GUITAR

American Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard convinced both judges and the audience at the 17th Air Guitar World Championships final at Rotuaari Square in Oulu, Northern Finland on Friday 24 August. Second time was the charm for Nordic Thunder who competed at the world final as US Champion in 2011, and got through to the final this year from the Dark Horses Qualifying Round that was battled on Thursday 23 August in Oulu. Nordic Thunder’s countryman Matt “Airistotle” Burns scored the second, and the third place was taken over by Theun "Tremelo Theun" de Jong form The Netherlands.

The AGWC results 2012:

1. Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard, 34,6 (US)
2. Matt "Airistotle" Burns, 34,4 (US)
3. Theun "Tremelo Theun" de Jong, 34,3 (NL)
4. Andro "The Void" Urb, 34,2 (EE)
5. Jaakko "The Colossal" Härkönen, 33,5 (FI)
6. Takehito "Choco Bat Ukai" Saito, 33,4 (JP)
7. Ephraim "The Fame Flame" Noer, 33,3 (DK)
7. Veronika "Like Ever Gin" Müllerova, 33,3 (CZ)
7. Corentin "AirGus" Fermont, 33,3 (BE)
8. Aline "Devil's Niece" Westphal, 32,8 (DE)
9. Vincent "V-Snyder" Bekaert, 16,4 (FR)
9. Jonathan "Juan Nightstand" Morales 16,4 (UK)
10. Quinten "The Great PretendAir" Rutgers 16,3 (NL)
11. Jan "Geeky Gisbert" Fischer 16,2 (DE)
11. Marie "Moldy Peach" von Borstel 16,2 (DE)
11. Artem "Olympian" Chernov 16,2 (RU)
12. Raphaël "Willy Wantmore" Monnanteuil 16,1 (BE)
12. Bryan "Telerockbies" Antoine 16,1 (BE)

The World Champion goes home with an electric guitar impeccably handcrafted by Matti Nevalainen of Flying Finn guitars. The top three were also awarded with Air Guitar World Championships products.
On the stage the most successful Dark Horses and the official Air Guitar Champions from Japan, Great Britain, United States, Estonia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, and Finland challenged the 2011 World Champion Aline “The Devil’s Niece” Westphal. On the first round the contestants played a self chosen song and the ten to score highest were admitted to the second, Compulsory Round, where everyone rocked to Loose My Soul by The Flaming Sideburns.
The Final night gathered altogether 5000 people who filled the Rotuaari square. Despite being free entry event the gates had be to shut down occasionally due to the security reasons.

The Final Jury consisted of the legendary Finnish guitarist Juha Torvinen, TV host Heikki Paasonen and Air Guitar World Champion 2000, Markus “Black Raven” Vainionpää, and two national championships’ organizers from the AGWC Network Alexander Gott from Russia and Filip Cerny from Czech Republic. As the Air Guitar tradition has it, after the winner was chosen, all the contestants took the stage once more and encouraged the whole world to play Air Guitar to Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World".

The night also included performances by Finnish pop star Olavi Uusivirta, French airband Airnadette, contemporary dance piece “Vimmaa” and a children choir that starred the traditional Declaration of Air Guitar Peace. The final was hosted by American air guitar guru Dan ”Björn Türoque” Crane.