Competitions are simply about determining who does any given thing best. If not so much as a single note is played in air guitar, why would an air guitar competition require competitors to play notes? The question seems silly.
Like Lt. Facemelter said, though, these are as much performance art as competition, so it doesn't really matter. No one is forced to attend these shows. Air guitar is not taking money out of the pockets of musicians (in fact, many air guitarists play there guitar or other instruments in real bands). It's just good, clean fun. Maybe not clean. But fun. That's why these shows regularly sell out.
You're not the first air guitar skeptic. I've heard from plenty of folks who were dragged to their first air guitar show expecting to have a bad time, only to be converted and return year after year. Videos don't do it justice.
Besides...people have been playing air guitar for decades. Taking it to the stage was a natural progression. I don't know of anyone who air cooks, but if it catches on, I'm sure that'll become a competition, too.
Come check out a show. I guarantee you'll have a great time!
The first mistake is to think of it as only a competition. The US Air Guitar Championships is an experience. It's a sexy, awkward three-way between a rock concert, performance art and comedy. Sure - you would certainly judge a competitor on their technical chops, but would you be entertained watching them sit quietly, hard focused on hitting every "note"? Absolutely not. You want them in that blue sequined jumpsuit jumping all over the stage. You want a confetti cannon to explode as the final cymbal crash hits. You want what in all honesty, is lacking in a lot of real live music performances today - ENERGY.
It's an individual 60 seconds of fury from each air guitarist, followed by the witty banter of the judges, as they sling liquor coated insults and compliments alike to those brave enough to get on stage. It's a brotherhood of idiots who don't take themselves too seriously. And for many of us, it's the only opportunity we have to perform on a stage we otherwise have no business being on. To say that I've played in front of a sold out crowd at The Troubador is pretty damn cool, if you ask me.
So are you wrong? I won't say that you are. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Are you missing out on a good time? Absolutely.
And don't even get me started on my air cooking. My AIRroz con pollo is delectable.