Trending This Week: Cat Calls, Ten Second Songs, and PewDiePie

Halloween is one of YouTube’s favorite holidays, and this year on the Spotlight channel, we celebrated with some of our hallow’ed traditions: cool DIY costumes and scaring the heck out of people. This week was also doubly special as we celebrated the birthdays of two of YouTube’s greatest raisons d’etre: the Internet and Katy Perry.

Street Harassment Video - 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman

This video, commissioned by an advocacy group called Hollaback, started with a simple concept: follow a young woman for a day, capturing all the cat calls, “hey baby’s,” and harassing remarks that come her way (more than 100 after 10 hours, as it turned out). But it had a complicated response – sparking controversy, conversation, and a lot of close reading. Editorializing aside, the buzz made for a blockbuster view count (over 18 million in 48 hours).


There are two types of people in this world: people who know about PewDiePie and people who don’t. And never the twain shall meet. For that latter group, here’s the deal: the Swedish gamer is the current sine qua non of YouTube, holding the top slot for number of subscribers (his channel has had just shy of 3.5 BILLION views so far this year). But even if you’re not a member of the #BroArmy, you can get down with this charming chat sesh with Pewds’s mom, sister, and a pair of pugs. Shall we raise our hands in brofist (editor’s note: a Brofist is a friendly greeting or farewell and the main symbol used by PewDiePie to his bros)?

Ten Second Songs - Michael Jackson - Thriller

Impersonator impresario Anthony Vincent has a reliable formula: cover songs in 20 different styles, ten seconds a pop. (Improbably, he can pull off everyone from Kurt Cobain to Frank Sinatra, the Spice Girls, and DMX ). He hit it big with a “Dark Horse” cover in March, and has had over 35M views since then. This week he threw on some facepaint and covered "Thriller" to rapturous Internet praise. We think this YouTube commenter put it best: “dude. subbed for eternity.”

Abby Holcowitz - Kelly Clarkson “Shake It Off” Taylor Swift Cover

With the world in the vice-like grip of Swift mania, we were surprised to realize that the most-viewed Taylor Swift video on YouTube this week doesn’t exactly feature Ms. Swift herself. Fan-shot footage of country-pop singer Kelly Clarkson putting a stripped-down, soulful spin on the ubiquitous hit at a recent concert got the coveted Swift stamp of approval. And if you – like us – can’t get enough of celebrities covering celebrities, feast your ears on this playlist.

-- Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week: Nun Covers 'Like a Virgin'

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s meme? This week’s vid crop was so bountiful as to make us forget that over here at YouTube Trends HQ, winter is coming. On the Spotlight channel, we tackled some of our favorite subjects: tattoos, feelings, and famous pets.

And here’s what else brought sunshine to our pallid, computer-nerd complexions:

Sister Cristina - Like a Virgin

Who could forget the Voice of Italy's singing nun, one of this year’s most formidable memes? Well Sister Cristina is back with her first real single, and we’ve got to admit that our first reaction was: scusi? Yup, the pious songbird has chosen to cover the ... less-than-pious Madonna classic. The video, which has the nun galavanting around Venice and cavorting with lions in full habit and crucifix, is nothing if not an intriguing watch, and for that … we are blessed.

Rob Cantor - Shia LaBeouf Live

Every now and again the Internet produces something very special and important. Rob Cantor, aka the guy who duped us all with his "29 Impressions," was behind this week’s meme miracle, and it’s called “'Shia LaBeouf’ Live.” Come for a mini-musical about a cannibalistic version of the actor, stay for the L.A. Gay Men’s Chorus, the 3-D papercraft Shia LaBeouf heads, and a truly surprising twist ending. We give this one a standing ovation.

Dachshund’s Creek

Halloween season always reignites our passion for marveling at small animals in costumes. So picture our delight at coming across this video from filmmaker Michael Immerman, a re-imagining of the '90s teen melodrama "Dawson’s Creek" ... but with dachshunds. Need we say more?

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Bradley Cooper and Jimmy Can’t Stop Laughing

They say that laughter is the universal language. So it’s no surprise that this footage of late night kahuna Fallon and Hollywood juggernaut Cooper in the midst of a giggle attack was a hit this week. So popular was this video of two silly geese that Fallon released a second uncut version that is basically just four more minutes of them yukking it up. Not exactly the high comedy hit of the year, but it’s definitely worth its weight in hehe's.

--Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week: Audacious Adi

Welcome back to YouTube Trends HQ, your unofficial sherpas through the mountains of online video. This week on the Spotlight channel, we went back to shop class, devoted a day to nature’s underdogs, and celebrated people revealing their true selves.

And when we weren’t putting the final touches on our Apparently Kid costumes, we were unearthing the following valedictorians of the viral video landscape:

“Audacious Adi” #1

Audacious is right. It isn’t just the sick moves from 11-year-old Adi Malcolm or that this was her first YouTube video, but what really grabbed us is the following from her About page: “I have NEVER taken a dance class in my life……….I learned from watching (YouTube) videos!!” Shut the front door! All we know is this is no dubstep dilettante.

The Empire Strikes Back Uncut: Full Movie (Official)

The greatest of the six “Star Wars” films so far (we won’t be convinced otherwise) is so beloved by its legion of fans that more than 1,500 of them submitted 15-second reimagined scenes, in the hopes of being featured in a shot-by-shot remake of the film. More than 480 submissions made the cut, but we feel like the real lucky ones, since we get to set aside the two-plus hours to watch it.

Perth Train Party Video 2014!!!

You’re on the train, minding your own business, staring intently at your phone, when some guy in a tuxedo stands up and makes an announcement. Just another mass transit experience, right? It would be if you were in Perth, Australia, on Saturday, August 23. That’s when Peter Sharp decided to spread a little happiness, dance party style. Almost two months later, hundreds of thousands more people are that much happier. Good on ya, Peter.

Glen Campbell - I’m Not Gonna Miss You

Country legend Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Instead of packing it in, the singer embarked on a farewell tour in 2012. The poignant music video for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” his final song recorded in 2013, spans his five decades-long career and also features home videos. Here’s to you, Mr. Campbell. Now there isn’t a dry eye at Trends HQ.

-- Marc Hertz

Trending This Week: God Only Knows

This week on the Spotlight channel, we fully bugged out over hyperlapses and drone cinema and non-committedly declared 10 cover songs that are (maybe kinda sorta) better than the original.

And here’s what else filled our viral horn of plenty:

CompassionChoices - The Brittany Maynard Fund

29-year-old Brittany Maynard is planning to die next month. This incredibly affecting piece, which documents why she chose the controversial (and not widely available) medically assisted suicide end of life option, made for one of the most viewed and talked about videos of the week.

BBC - God Only Knows

The BBC’s formula for this hit of the week seemed to go as follows: pick a beloved pop classic, take 20-some odd music celebrities–each one more eye-poppingly major than the last–back them up with an 80-piece orchestra, then toss in some whimsical special effects. The result: you’ve got yourself a timeless tribute to ... well, we’re still not exactly sure. But, yeah. Boom.

Anna-Maria Hefele - Polyphonic Overtone Singing

File this one under things you didn’t think were humanly possible. In this viral clip, a young German musician demonstrates overtone singing, a voice technique where one person sings two notes simultaneously. It’s a fairly technical video, but just skin-tingling enough to strike a chord. And strike a chord it did: more than 5 million views in a week is really something to SING about.

Dancing with the Stars - Alfonso & Witney Do The Carlton

With YouTube’s own “It Girl” Bethany Mota in this year’s "Dancing with the Stars" competition, we’ve got to confess we’re Team #MOTOUGH. But that didn’t hold us back from absolutely relishing this exuberant bit of entertainment which sees "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" star Alfonso Ribeiro resurrecting his Carlton dance to the smooth sounds of “It’s Not Unusual.” You won this round, bro.

-- Claire Stapleton