A 26-year-old German woman has won this year’s World Air Guitar Championships in Finland. Aline ‘The Devil’s Niece’ Westphal won over the jury with a “seductively energetic performance”, say organisers of the event, which is now in its 16th year.
Westphal beat America’s Justin ‘Nordic Thunder’ Howard into the silver medal position, while Veronica ‘Like Ever Gin’ Mullerova of the Czech Republic finished third.
The 15 finalists were assessed by a jury led by Juha Torvinen (‘The Godfather of Air Guitar’) and were judged on technical merit, stage presence and the curiously vague criteria of ‘airness’. Each contestant had to perform to Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Without a Face’ as well as to a song of their choice. Westphal chose the fittingly titled ‘The Pretender’ by the Foo Fighters.
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The World Air Guitar Championships are held as part of the annual Oulu Music Video Festival with an aim “to promote world peace. According to the ideology of the Air Guitar, wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear if all the people in the world played the Air Guitar.”
Westphal – who is writing her univrsity dissertation on the subject of air guitar – walks away with a hand-made electric guitar and plenty of respect within the closely-knit world of Air Guitar.