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It’s been a little more than a year since Cornelison’s previous public display of what fellow air guitarists call “airness”; he was last seen around these parts competing in the July 2011 national championships at Metro, where Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard took the prize. (Justin Kendall wrote a B Side cover story about Howard at the time.) Cornelison spent the intervening months away from the bright lights and fame that come with being an air guitarist. “I had gone into hiding and grown a huge beard and started writing in a cabin in the woods for a while, just contemplating life,” he says.
Not long ago Cornelison heard that the folks behind America’s Got Talent wanted potential contestants to send in YouTube footage of their special skills. So he submitted a clip from an air-guitar performance of Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock” and wound up one of a dozen contestants scheduled to perform tonight.