Only one of these 10 videos — “Facebook Parenting” — was made by an average Joe; the other nine were all professionally produced. “There are more and more people who know how to build an audience, how to use YouTube,” YouTube trends manager Kevin Allocca explained to the Wall Street Journal. “There are companies who spend millions and millions of dollars trying to do create these videos.”
So yeah, that’s kind of horribly depressing. But watching these videos might cheer you up — even if many of the entries won’t surprise you at all. (Spoiler alert: Yes, Virginia, “Gangnam Style” made No. 1.)
10. Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128K — Mission Highlights
Red Bull gives you wiiiings! Unless you’re jumping out of a frickin’ helium-filled balloon that’s flying 128,100 feet above the surface of the earth. Then Red Bull just gives you a parachute and hopes for the best.
9. Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen
In light of recent events, this eight-minute clip that concludes with a disgruntled dad shooting nine bullets through his daughter’s laptop is even ickier than it was when it hit YouTube in February. But hey, 35 million views couldn’t be wrong… right?
8. Dubstep Violin – Lindsey Stirling – Crystallize
Dreamy visuals, balletic dance moves, and a thumping beat combine to make violinist Lindsey Stirling’s music video a winner. This is what you want to be playing when you’re making a dramatic entrance into an opera house after faking your own death, or something.
7. WHY YOU ASKING ALL THEM QUESTIONS? … #FCHW
Yo, men and women are DIFFERENT? Relationships are HARD? Thank you, SpokenReasons, for breaking the comedy world wide open.
6. A DRAMATIC SURPRISE ON A QUIET SQUARE
An idyllic town in Belgium. A big red button. A sign: “PUSH TO CAUSE DRAMA.” The result? You’ll have to watch to find out, though knowing that the whole thing is a publicity stunt for Belgian TNT might partially ruin the effect.
NEXT: Presidents rapping, KONY 2012, and the year’s biggest songs
5. Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney. Epic Rap Battles Of History Season 2.
There’s only one clip on the top 10 list that relates to the American presidential election: a goofy rap battle between an Obama impersonator and a Romney impersonator. In these post-election days, it’s lost some of its punch — but you’ll still cheer when Lincoln swoops in to show those two how a real president spits rhymes.
4. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen — Feat. Justin Bieber, Selena, Ashley Tisdale & MORE!
Carly Rae’s official “Call Me Maybe” video has been viewed a staggering 361,625,417 times, but it wouldn’t have earned a fraction of those views without this “home video,” featuring Biebs and friends horsing around as they lip-synch the song. Congratulations, kids: You launched a phenomenon. And before this song came into our lives, we missed it so bad.
3. KONY 2012
Before Jason Russell’s bizarre naked rant, there was the filmmaker’s online campaign to raise awareness about Joseph Kony’s brutality in Uganda. It’s the only serious video on the list, as well as the one with the weirdest aftermath.
2. Somebody That I Used to Know — Walk off the Earth (Gotye — Cover)
Five musicians + one guitar + one insanely catchy tune = a viral video that could be defeated only by a certain well-dressed Korean rapper.
1.PSY — GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V
Yup. You knew it was coming. Hey, sexy lady!