Honestly I can't see any way to write about the Kansas City regional of the 2012 US Air Guitar Championships without constantly mentioning what could have been better. So, let's just do that instead:
1) Lights. Air Guitar is a larger than life spectacle. But the GIANT stage at the Beaumont Club was barely lit, and what lights were present were static. It just wasn't fun to watch when someone's off dancing in a dark corner (which was nearly everywhere on the stage).
2) Judges. Our celebrity judges were disembodied, barely audible voices emanating from somewhere in the back of the club. Why? The Beaumont stage is huge. There is room for a panel of judges. Placing them on stage would allow the performers another target for their hamming, and allow the audience to develop their affinities with the celebrities. The judges are half of the show, why are they hidden?
3) Emcee. Our master of ceremonies was disorganized at best. His initial introduction was a shambling mess pulled from scraps of paper that he would occasionally read twice. Furthermore, when he began the night by performing, it stole the focus from the performers. Why not use the role to excite the crowd, and let the performers do their thing?
The fix is easy – find a director. Whether it's someone from alternative theatre, burlesque, or professional wrestling, find a director who knows how to put on a show. Someone who knows how to sell the sizzle, and can make this event feel as big as it should be.
What was good? The performances. Most of the air guitarists were well costumed, choreographed, and sufficiently prepared with entertaining back stories for the audience to infer upon. I'm just sad they didn't get a bigger event to shine at. Also, despite a late start, things seemed to go quickly. Performers were ready when cued, so good job whoever was stage manager. Oh and the publicity. Eric Melin and The Pitch had this event hyped all over the papers, the radio, the television, and the Internet. Great job in getting the word out.
That said, after two hours I couldn't take it anymore. I suppose I was only seeing what should have been instead of what was, and when karaoke acts starting rolling out at intermission, I left. While I definitely wasn't alone in my early departure, others did stay for the second round and the grand finale. They must have been astonishingly drunk – no one can watch karaoke unless they are either blitzed or a 14-year-old Gleetard.
I did snap a few photos, but for a genuine recap of the performers, and the night's big winners, you'll want to visit the official US Air Guitar website link on the right.
PS 4) I never ever ever EVER need to hear "Don't Stop Believing" again, especially if not sung by Steve Perry.