Every year has its slate of music videos that engage, amuse, and attract hordes of viewers--and spurs them to share all over social media and blogs--but 2012 stands out as one that had a particularly eclectic slate of clips. From acerbic political humor, to superstars in mustaches, to galloping Korean rappers...it's safe to say this year has not been boring to watch, listen to, or dance along with. Here's the top 5 most viral videos of 2012, as determined by YouTube's top trends report for the end of the season.
#5 Dubstep Violin: It's hard to figure out what exactly to focus on when watching violinist Lindsey Stirling's "Crystallize" clip. The ice sculptures? The dubstep score? Uh...the girl in a furry hoodie doing interpretive dance steps and ballerina twirls while she nimbly fingers a fiddle? At any rate, it's quite the sensory overload, but the winsome 26-year-old (who competed on America's Got Talent in 2010) certainly has earned herself a fanclub. Stirling's YouTube channel--which asks the enigmatic question "Have you ever seen a violinist really rock out?"--contains a variety of her other dramatic videos; all of which have been watched millions and millions of times. "Crystallize" is by far her most popular, however, with close to a whopping 41 million views.
#4 Equals of the people, for the people, by the people: As in any election year, tensions ran high between Republicans and Democrats in 2012--but this year was particularly ugly due to the increased influence of social media (hey, it's much easier to call someone a dope on Facebook than to his or her face, right?). So perhaps that's why the parody video "Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney" was so popular--a spark of humor in the fray always helps to smooth things over. This clip, part of the itself wildly successful YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, was bi-partisanly hysterical, with a pair of Romney and Obama imitators throwing equally clever disses at each other.
"Romney" comes out swinging, warning "you're all Barack and no bite," and that he'll be "knocking you harder than front doors in my old mission days." Meanwhile, "Obama" retorts "You're so rich and white it's like I'm running against a cheesecake" and "I'm 47% through kicking your a--." The result? Abraham Lincoln ends up parachuting in on bald eagle's wings, screaming exactly what was on many undecided voters' minds: "The President shall not be the shiniest of two turds!" Word. We all know now who won, of course, but nearly 49 million viewers to date remain amused by the fight.
#3 'Stache Me Maybe: There's no shortage of "Call Me Maybe" parodies on YouTube, but one in particular managed to take Carly Rae Jepsen's hit and make its own viral sensation out of it. Not surprisingly, the mastermind responsible for this phenomenon is one of pop music's biggest stars, Justin Bieber--who, by merely inviting some friends over (including then-girlfriend Selena Gomez) and prancing around acting silly with fake mustaches on, racked up more than 56 million views of his singalong version. Yes: This is crazy. But Bieber's clearly got everyone's number.
#2 All hands on deck. We've all seen the boardwalk performers who can play 10 instruments solo and single-handedly all at once. In the case of the indie group Walk Off The Earth, however, this concept was turned inside out when the five-person collective managed to play one instrument with 10 hands. As demonstrated in their cover of Gotye's smash hit "Somebody That I Used To Know," the entire band lines up and participates on a single guitar, with amazingly synchronized results. The deceptively simple idea--which required a good deal of preparation before execution--charmed civilians to celebs, earned the band a spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and has racked up more than 142 million views since its initial upload in January.
#1 You knew it already: Close your eyes for a minute and try to comprehend just how enormous a number one billion is. That's how many views PSY's "Gangnam Style" has surpassed, and it's the first video in history to do so. As they say in Korea, that's "Keun" (big).