Nothing this year could quite match Psy’s billion-hit 2012, but whether super-cut, music video, interview, dash cam footage, prank or late-night sketch, there were still plenty of videos that spread across the Internet like wildfire in 2013. Seeing as there are something like 47 trillion uploads on YouTube, narrowing down the best viral web clips of the year was something of a Herculean feat…as far as listicles go anyway. But after combing through the Internet’s archives for months on end, we’ve finally picked our 10 favorite sensational viral vids of the year. Some were annoying, some were inspirational and some were downright hilarious. What all of our selections have in common, though, is that they possess a certain magical Internet panache, an ineffable essence of virality, if you will.
So without further ado, here are our choices for the 10 best viral videos of the past year:
10. David Letterman is Obsessed With Drums
Until this super-cut was put together and released in June, few knew of the long-time Late Show host’s fascination with drummers and their drums. He sees plenty of them in action every week, and has apparently made it somewhat of a tradition to go out of his way to compliment his musical guests’ drummers or, even better, ask them if they actually own the “beautiful” drums they’re playing.
9. Charles Ramsey Eats McDonald’s, Rescues Missing Cleveland Teens, Gives Unforgettable Interview
Charles Ramsey was just eating his McDonald’s when he heard screaming coming from a neighbor’s house in Cleveland this May. He went over to investigate and ended up rescuing Amanda Berry, her six-year-old daughter and two other women who had been held captive in the home of Ariel Castro for over 10 years. We’ll let Ramsey walk you through exactly what happened the morning of the rescue:
8. Astronaut Chris Hadfield Covers David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in Space
In May, astronaut Chris Hadfield covered David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in the most apropos way possible: in orbit aboard the International Space Station. Hadfield recorded the video shortly before turning command of the ISS after a five-month stint in which he became the first Canadian to walk in space. The video is proof that the only way to truly channel the spirit of Space Oddity-era Bowie is to be as far out literally as Bowie was mentally when he recorded it.
7. The Russian Meteor
The many countless videos of the Chelyabinsk meteor striking Russia in February taught us two things: 1) We’re all doomed, and 2) Having a dashboard camera recording at all times is apparently a thing in Russia.
6. #Hashtagging with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake
Hopefully you don’t know too many people—or any people—who choose to remove #hashtagging from its natural habitat on Twitter and Instagram and try to introduce it into everyday speech. It’s 2013, though, and this type of thing happens. A sketch taking this unfortunate trend to its absurd extreme was probably inevitable, and who better to take it down than Fallon and JT? We know about their chemistry together and how talented they are individually, but it was still nothing short of awe-inspiring to see the duo speed-hashtag back and forth without so much as a hiccup. #killedit #bringingsexyback #morehashtag #wecantstop #JTandFallon4Life
5. “What Did The Fox Say?”
We really, really, really want to hate this video. But just as comedy duo Ylvis’ “What Did the Fox Say?” is in the running for dumbest viral sensation on the Internet, it’s also pretty damn hilarious, particularly the intro, where an overly earnest Bard Ylvisåker runs through all the animals fortunate enough to have a signature sound before reaching the tragically silent fox. It gets weird from there. Regardless of what you think about it, it wracked up almost 300 million YouTube views in 2013, and was even parodied by SNL.
4. Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms, Will Forte and Jason Bateman Parody Mumford & Sons
With their suspenders, vests, loosened ties and grandiose sense of earnestness, Mumford & Sons are practically caricatures to begin with, so its no surprise that a quartet of some of the funniest men in America decided to parody the English folk rockers with an over-the-top video for “Hopeless Wanderer.” Props to Mumford & Sons for having a sense of humor and signing off on the video themselves.
3. Jimmy Kimmel Teaches Kids Not to Mix Twerking, Alcohol and Fire
Part public service announcement, part masterful prank, this fall Jimmy Kimmel taught us all a lesson about safe twerking, as well as that we should probably trust our instincts when they tell us that a little whiskey and a few candles aren’t enough to set a person on fire.
It started with a video uploaded to YouTube that featured a girl botching a twerking session with some already-poured shots and a few burning candles present. When her roommate opened the door she was bracing herself on, the girl collapsed on the fire and alcohol combo and came up in hysterics, her stretch pants on fire. Two months after the video was posted, Kimmel posted the extended cut in which he enters the apartment room with a fire extinguisher, revealing that the girl was a stuntwoman and that the whole thing was another of Kimmel’s pranks on the nation. Well done, sir.
2. Bap Lip Reading Takes on the NFL
We realized the brilliance of Bad Lip Reading during last year’s Presidential Debates, but the group’s best and most popular video is an NFL version they released in January. Even though these are all overdubs, We’re going to go ahead and choose to believe that Andy Dalton was invited for homemade Mai Thais at mid field after the Bengals played the Ravens.
1. “Bound 3”
Kanye’s insane music video for “Bound 2” still fresh in our minds, James Franco and Seth Rogen achieved unprecedented levels of virality when they released a shot-for-shot recreation with a flannel-clad Franco barking lyrics as Yeezus and Rogen and his back hair playing the part of Kim Kardashian. You decide which one is sexier.