Thanks to viral videos, in 2013, we learned how to Harlem Shake, what the fox says and a whole new way to use a wrecking ball. Whether they were music videos or products of late-night TV genius, 2013 brought us some of the best YouTube videos to date. Here's a look at some of our favorites:
1. Wrecking Ball
Miley Cyrus, naked and swinging around on a wrecking ball… How could this video not go viral? Cyrus cries and wields a sledgehammer in the music video, which got more than 397 million YouTube views. Love her or hate her, Miley's video was everywhere.
2. What Does the Fox Say?
If we ever had any questions about what sounds various animals make, our curiosities were answered with the overplayed song “What Does the Fox Say?” Though some of their declarations are questionable (do fish really go blub?) in 2013, everyone learned what the fox says: Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding. The video got more than 275 million YouTube hits. That explains why we saw so many fox costumes on Halloween.
3. Blurred Lines
It may have been because of Robin Thicke’s not-so-subtle way of telling the world to share his music video—hashtags for #BlurredLines and #Thicke flash across the screen as naked girls dance around—but either way this viral vid made him a huge star. It also jump-started the career of nude beauty Emily Ratajkowski.
4. Harlem Shake
There was time in 2013 when every time a group convened with a video camera nearby, they just had to Harlem Shake. Entire universities, professional sports teams and co-workers all shook their bodies, some clad in costumes and strange masks. Yup, it was the year of the Harlem Shake. And we’re glad it’s over.
5. ‘Carrie’ coffee shop
Innocent and unsuspecting coffee-shop goers got the shock of their lives when a “Carrie” promotional team rigged the place to make it look as if an angry woman had telekinetic powers. They squirmed, they screamed… and it was all caught on tape.
6. Taylor Swift goat edition
Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” was a hit on its own, but when a creative YouTube decided to goat-ify Swift, viral magic was made. Soon after, everyone from Miley Cyrus to Adele to Nicki Minaj was getting the goat treatment.
7. Cleveland hero remixed
A day after hero next-door neighbor Charles Ramsey captivated the world with his colorful account of rescuing the kidnapped women trapped in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro, YouTube gave him the star treatment when a comedy/music group have turned his narration into a (very catchy) song.
8. Gentleman by Psy
As the follow-up to his huge hit “Gangnam Style,” K-pop icon Psy released Gentleman. His shimmering outfits and hip shaking made this video a viral hit, just like his last release. More than 500 million YouTubers tuned in to see Psy shake it.
9. Twerking mishap
Jimmy Kimmel got us again. The late-night social media expert posted a video of a girl getting lit on fire during a horrible twerking accident. It went viral, and the world laughed (and worried a little bit). But Kimmel quickly revealed he had set the whole thing up, thus proving that even without his name attached the funnyman knows exactly how to make a clip go totally viral.
10. NFL bad lip reading
It is rarely clear what football stars are saying during heated game day moments, so BadLipReading.com took the time to break down what they're mumbling out there. The hilarious voice-over work earned the site tons of YouTube views.
11. How animals eat their food
Before we learned what different animals say, we learned how they consume their meals. Thanks to a comedy video—that garnered more than 88 million views—we got to see how rhinos, flamingos and gophers eat their food… kind of.
12. Football on your phone
Seriously? You can watch football on your phone? This warrants a song! OK, maybe not really, but one was made for the occasion anyway. The DirectTV ad starring Eli and Peyton Manning in boy band attire quickly went viral. The brothers taught us that “your phone ain’t for calling, your phone's for for footballing.”
13. Fred's tribute to Lorraine
Perhaps the most touching viral video of the year featured 96-year-old Fred singing a tribute to his wife, Lorraine, who passed away. Though Fred had no musical training, Green Shoe Studio helped him turn his lyrics for “Oh Sweet Lorraine” into an emotional music video/ documentary about their romance.