Known as a global contender in classical art forms, Russia has suddenly been taken over by a 21st century form of mime that has captured the hearts – though perhaps not the brains – of millions around the globe.
They may be emitting little sound but they are still making waves. Although air guitar has traditionally not been big in Russia, a Moscow competition is helping to crank it up.
“To define an Air Guitar Champion, there is actually a lot of criteria,” Alex Shifrin, organizer of Air Guitar Russia, told RT. “How well you are playing the guitar, the passion you put into it.”
It is also something contestants seem to have in bags – as well as a carefree attitude.
“It’s a joke how – could you take this seriously?” Kirill Blumenkrants, Air Guitar Russia champion, told RT.
There are, however, some more important virtues contestants are being judged on.
“The organizers of the final – to be held in Finland – have asked us to make sure all those involved sell world peace,” Shifrin said.
Peace is something you definitely will not find at this event, glammed up and ready to rock out.
The prize in store for striking the right note with the judges is a trip to the Air Guitar World Championship held annually in Finland.
If Moscow was anything to go by, then in a music competition where sound is muted, swagger style and appearance will be amplified.
“I’ve called it a metal queen mixed with a cosmic space ranger. I have wings; I even have butterfly wings on my eyes,” said Nathalie Saly,a student and competitor, describing her costume to RT.
Taking advice from this year’s Moscow champion, for any budding air guitarists there are some other things to bear in mind if you want to hit the right note.
“First of all, you’ve got to lose any sense of dignity and prepare for a public humiliation,” Blumenkrants told RT.
Air guitar is relatively new to Russia, but participants make up for it with a passion – the only way to success is to just let yourself go!
Unfortunately, on the international stage this weekend that attitude did not seem to translate and Russia’s two-time representative failed to strike the right chord.