How to Watch the 2021 U.S. Air Guitar Championships
The 2021 edition of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships is coming to nationally broadcast television this year. So you'll want to tune in this Friday (Aug. 6) at 6PM ET / 3PM PT to catch the U.S. Air Guitar Championships as part of ESPN2's coverage.
The championships are actually billed under ESPN's annual broadcast of "The Ocho," which showcases odd sports from around the world. "The Ocho" started as a joke in the movie Dodgeball, which pointed out the sports network's thirst for providing non-stop sports programming via a bunch of spun-off channels, but the long-running network loved the joke and adopted the idea of spotlighting odd sports during a yearly programming block.
The 2021 edition of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships has all been leading up to Friday's finale, with the winner claiming possession of the U.S. Air Guitar title belt and receiving a free trip to Finland where they'll represent Team USA at the Air Guitar World Championships.
For those yet to see the grace, the beauty, the frenzy and the fury of the air guitar competitors in action, here's some background on how they got to this point.
The 2021 competitors were asked to submit videos in regional action taking place across the country. The regionals were streamed live on Twitch with judges scoring performers on a scale of 4.0 to 6.0 with 6.0 being the highest score given. There are two rounds for each competitor. The first is the freestyle round, with competitors picking a song of their choice, while the second round, the compulsory round, finds the top competitors from the first round being asked to perform a surprise song. The two round tally is then combined to provide their final score.
The judges are scoring the performers on three key criteria - technical merit (showcasing something close to the original fretwork of the song), stage presence and airness (the extent to which the performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an artform in and of itself).
Each performance consists of one minute of a song and can start anywhere within the given track. The instrument must be invisible and must be a guitar and "air roadies" are allowed but must leave the stage prior to the performance and backup bands (air or real) are not allowed.
If you want to get up to speed and find your favorites prior to Friday's airing, the U.S. Air Guitar Championships has a TikTok account featuring some of the competitors so far this year. You can also learn more via the organization's website.
So be sure to tune into ESPN2 at 6PM ET / 3PM PT this Friday (Aug. 6) for the 2021 U.S. Air Guitar Championships. And check out more of ESPN's "The Ocho" programming here.