The 10 Most Popular Viral YouTube Videos of 2016

3 minute read

When it comes to viral videos, it’s YouTube’s world—we just live in it. The top ten trending videos of 2016 have a collective 550 million views, and people watched them for more than 25 million hours. From professional comedian segments (thanks to hosts like John Oliver and James Corden) to candid pranks (for instance, a faux zombie apocalypse), people were hooked on these mini-masterpieces. Excluding professional music videos, here are the platform’s most-watched clips:

1. Carpool Karaoke with Adele

James Corden’s smash-hit viral series reached its peak with singer Adele’s legendary pipes in the mix. The fellow Brits took a drive through some rainy English streets, and the video garnered 135.8 million views, making it the most-viewed video on YouTube’s list.

2. Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen/PIKO-TARO

At 95 million views, this zany song and video was hailed as the “Gangnam Style” of the year.

3. What’s Inside a Rattlesnake Rattle?

The father-son “What’s Inside?” duo takes on one of the curiosities of the natural world—for 59.5 million views.

4. Nike Football Presents: The Switch ft. Cristiano Ronaldo

In a Freaky-Friday-like twist, soccer’s biggest star and a young wannabe player switch places. The Nike ad puts the power of hard work in the spotlight, and received rave reviews, catapulting it to 57 million views.

5. Grace VanderWaal: 12-Year-Old Ukelele Player Gets Golden Buzzer

On an America’s Got Talent audition, ukulele wunderkind VanderWaal made a breakout performance that earned her a shoutout from Taylor Swift—and 46.4 million views.

6. Water Bottle Flip Edition

Popular YouTube pranksters Dude Perfect throw water bottles at various surfaces—and they land perfectly, right-side-up, every time. It’s got 41.9 million views.

7. Channing Tatum vs. Jenna Dewan Tatum’s Lip Sync Battle

We’d never seen Channing Tatum dance quite like this before. Then his wife busted out a wildly impressive rendition of Tatum’s iconic Magic Mike “Pony” dance, and all bets were off. It’s at 36.9 million views.

8. Donald Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

John Oliver’s weekly HBO show had a number of popular and politically-scathing segments in 2016, but none bested this twenty-one-minute segment from February on now-president-elect Donald Trump, with 30.8 million views.

9. The $21,000 First Class Airplane Seat

YouTube video personality Casey Neistat traveled in expensive style—and then let his viewers in on the experience, calling his first-class upgrade on Emirates one of the greatest days in his life. His peek into the lap of mile-high luxury has 26.7 million views.

10. Brothers Convince Little Sister of Zombie Apocalypse

Prankster brothers took advantage of their sister’s compromised mental state after her wisdom tooth removal to convince her that zombies were coming for them all. The elaborate hoax—all candidly filmed—got the siblings 21.9 million views.

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