As part of YouTube Rewind, our year-end wrap-up of YouTube’s trends of the year, I worked with a lot of local country teams to help deliver year-end lists of their countries’ top 10 trending videos. That means I’ve seen a million Despacito parodies, and it also means that I’ve seen a lot of videos that people in America might not have seen. Given what I’ve seen, I thought it would be fun to compile a top 10 top 11 list of my favorite videos from these countries’ top 10 trending videos of 2017 lists.
Stay Tuned: Next up, my year’s favorite videos.
I’m not the biggest Harry Potter fan. I’ve only read the first three books, and my favorite movie is the fifth one, which isn’t one I’ve ever heard anyone else call their favorite. What I do love, however, is a well-done Harry Potter parody (Hillywood’s So You Think You Can Dance parody is an all-time fave). So when I saw this Harry Potter rap song sitting atop Belgium’s Top 10 list, I was excited to check it out and wasn’t disappointed. Surprisingly, this video by Yung Mavu is the only thing he has uploaded to Youtube.
Canada’s #1 video this year is one of my all-time favorite videos. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it this year. This video, set in a quiet town of Richmond, British Columbia, is one minute and thirty-eight seconds of tranquil Canadian calm before transforming into five seconds of sheet terror when a girl is yoinked off the side of a dock by a sea lion. That terror is leavened by the immediate heroism of a nearby male who dives into the water after the girl. All ends well, which makes me feel less awful for enjoying what had to have been the worst moment of someone’s life.
I don’t know who Manos is, and I don’t understand Greek, but watching this parody of Kyle’s I Spy just fills me with happiness. You know what it is? It’s the joy, the unbridled enthusiasm with which he throws up his middle fingers. This is number two on Greece’s list, but Manos also has several other videos in their top 10, so I take it he’s a popular creator/artist.
This video. The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words was released January 23rd, just days after Donald Trump’s inauguration. It’s an attempt to describe The Netherlands to Donald Trump in language (and a voice) he’ll recognize while making the case for Donald Trump to consider The Netherlands second after America First. This video is the top trending video of the year for The Netherlands and kicked off a whole wave of the #EverySecondCounts videos from different European countries, many of which topped their own countries year-end lists.
I’ve seen so many Despacito parodies. So, so many parodies. A supermajority of the countries releasing lists of their top trending videos of the year had at least one Despacito parody present. We didn’t really have a Despacito parody that caught fire in the US – unless you count Justin Bieber mumbling the words to the song at 1Oak. My favorite of all the parodies I’ve seen is Ese Gringo, which is an excellent bit of satire targeting the policies of Donald Trump. What’s so great about it is it uses a Latin cultural import which has significantly affected American culture to deliver a message to a President who wants to wall us off to prevent the ingress of Latin people and culture. It has closed captioned subtitles to help you follow along.
One of my favorite memories from working on Youtube Rewind 2017 is arriving on set for our first LA shoot date and getting there just as Ranz and Niana arrived. I’ll admit I was starstruck. I absolutely loved their “Hit That Despacito Dance” video. Ranz and Niana are huge in the Philippines where this video came in at #10 for the year. The 18 million views the video received weren’t limited to viewers from the Philippines, though. This viral hit coasted beyond the Philippines borders on the popularity of YouTube’s all-time most-viewed video, Despacito.
This is the second-best animal/human encounter to pop up on Youtube this year. For sheer vicarious terror, nothing will beat the sea lion dragging that girl into the water in Steveston. This is a close second, though. If you’ve ever been chased by a dog on a bicycle, it’s easy to imagine how close your heart must come to exploding when you realize you need to outbike a bear if you ever want to go biking again.
I will admit that this video’s inclusion in the list is due to a completely ironic appreciation for the video. Watching this animated short that was #3 on South Africa’s list was an odd experience. Half the dialogue is in English, and it has English close-captioned subtitles, but I still felt like I was hearing English as a foreign language. As a result, none of the jokes landed for me, but I still felt compelled to subscribe for more.
#5 in South Korea’s top 10 list had me mesmerized off the rip. This video by Josh and Bamui is a cardio hip hop dance video to Iggy Azalea’s Mo Bounce. Because it’s Cardio Hip Hop as you’d learn in a fitness class, there’s a blitheness to the inherently amateur dancing that undercuts Iggy Azalea’s insistent, monotonous rapping. It just works. Looking further into Josh and Bamui’s channel, it appears that they’ve been making Cardio hip hop dance videos for much of the year and appear to be on a mission to lose weight.
Ah, Swedish Fika. You are my favorite video in this list. This video inviting the world’s leaders to settle their difference over coffee (fika) has a US YouTube 2013 vibe to it. It feels very How Animals Eat Their Food. It was #1 in Sweden this year.
This may be the strangest thing on this list. I started watching this trailer that is the most trending video from Turkey this year, and my initial reaction was “Oh boy, Turkey, what are you doing?” It was a deeply emotional facepalm on behalf of the people of Turkey. I stuck with it though, and I began to realize that Recep Ivedik 5 seemed like such dumb fun. I mean, it has all the qualities that I looked for in a movie (when I was 10): It’s a b-comedy that is at least the third in a series of movies. Recep Ivedik 5 was easily Turkey’s top grossing film of the year by an almost two-to-one dollar margin over Turkey’s second highest grossing movie of the year.