Dressed in tight black jeans, a navy seals shirt, a faux-leather jacket and a Bihawk, Mystery Meat walked across stage Friday to claim his title as Air Guitar Champion.
Meat, senior Brady McReynolds when not in costume, won $100 for his efforts in the 3rd Annual Air Guitar Championship hosted by the Carolina Union Activities Board.
“With a score of 34.1, in first place is Mystery Meat,” said host Dan Crane, whose stage name is Bjorn Turoque.
Contestants were ranked by three judges on a scale of 4.0 to 6.0, and had two rounds of competition.
“I’m going to leave my all in the Great Hall,” said Anish Thakkar, a senior who performed as Skeeter Valentine, before the event. “This has nothing to do with winning or losing; this is my salute. It’s bigger than air guitar.”
As promised, the performances were bigger than air guitar.
Eight students shed their normal clothes and persona, donning costumes from ultra feminine glam rock to heavy metal.
“I got my hair straightened, I got my make-up did, I got my shirt undid. I am ready to rock,” said Drew Millard, who took the stage under the alias Oscar De La Satan.
Contestants used a variety of gimmicks to supplement their onstage personas.
Performer Patient 20314002 spent his time before the show scaring audience members by running up to them wearing a straight jacket and holding a plastic fork in his mouth.
CUAB president Amanda Kao asked the audience to ensure the competition continues after she graduates. She began the program her sophomore year.
Crane also gave UNC a special performance accompanied by an air drummer and an air bassist.
The night’s competitors rocked out in their own ways, playing to music from Prince to Pat Benatar.
Standout performances by Lothar and Mystery Meat impressed both the crowd and judges, and Patient 20314002 memorably took a page from Lady Gaga’s book and had blood pour out of his mouth mid-performance.
Oscar de la Satan, Patient 20314002, Skeeter Valentine, Lothar and Mystery Meat all advanced to round 2.
In the second round, contestants were played a snippet of “Youth Gone Wild” by Skid Row. They had not heard the song before and had to improvise their performances.
Oscar de la Satan started round 2 by throwing off his jacket, and most of his remaining clothes, leaving him in his boxers at the end of the song.
Lothar, Skeeter Valentine and Mystery Meat all rocked in more conventional ways.
The scores were calculated, and Mystery Meat was crowned champion. Months of practice and loss of dignity and pride finally paid off as he was handed his check.
When asked how he would spend it, he replied, “A new haircut.”
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