"Red Solo Cup"--you're not just a cup.
Ain't that the truth. Love it or hate it, the wildly infectious party anthem by Toby Keith is arguably the earworm of the year. When the video hit YouTube in October 2011--a masterpiece of ridiculousness featuring star cameos ranging from Carrot Top to Ted Nugent--it caused an immediate sensation, as well as millions of folks banging their skulls trying to get the chorus out of their heads.
Then came the hilarious Glee treatment in December: Chord Overstreet strummed a guitar and glibly noted one's lack of, er, manlihood "if you prefer drinking from glass." Cue millions more innocent folks humming "proceed to pa-aaarty!" while going about their everyday business.
And now, Keith's ode to the humble plastic receptacle is up for video of the year and male video of the year at Wednesday's 2012 CMT Awards.
Keith himself--who actually had no hand in writing the hit--should be surprised by the tune's massive popularity, considering he's repeatedly described it as "the stupidest song I have ever heard in my life."
The country superstar was presented the song for possible inclusion on his 2011 full-length Clancy's Tavern by his songwriter friends Brad and Brett Warren. He told them right off the bat that it was dumb, but also "freakin' awesome."
"It's like you're almost embarrassed to say that you like it," he told CMT. "I love it."
Clearly, plenty of people agree: Despite the clip's un-P.C. elements--including strong language, scantily clad women, and a cup transformed into a poorly disguised bong--it's escaped serious criticism. In fact, as of this month, Keith's video has racked up close to 16 million views (the official Glee version has nearly 2 million).
The song itself hit No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, No. 15 on the all-genre top 100--Keith's highest on this chart to date--and is certifed platinum for sales of more than 1 million.
It's even wormed its way far out of the country and pop worlds. When the single began attracting viral attention, fans of Texas hip-hop artist Carlton Zeus cried foul, saying Keith was ripping off Zeus's earlier composition "Sharpie Solo Cup." (Zeus himself was not concerned, and no legal action was taken.)
"What's great about this song is it does everybody the same way it did me," Keith explains of his hit's popularity. "I can't get it out of my head. I laugh every time I hear it. Sometimes it's good for the world to hear something like that."
As Keith himself serenades his favorite party accessory in the song, "Thank you for being my friend."
Let's all raise our cups to that!