Ever since OK Go first stepped onto a treadmill or that one guy memorized the entire history of dance, viral videos have dominated the pop sphere. Some might say they're even more influential--or at least more entertaining--than record labels' actual big-budget "official" music videos. And 2010 was no different. It was a viral year of epidemic proportions!
And so, without further ado, here are the top 10 videos we were tweeting, Facebooking, and IMing in 2010.
10. Atomic Tom iPhone It In During Subway Jam - Riding the New York City subway system got a little more pleasant in 2010, thanks to a Brooklyn buzz band named Atomic Tom that took B Train busking to a whole other level with a handful of iPhones and whole lot of ingenuity. Footage of them entertaining subway commuters with their iPhones and a battery-powered portable speaker system, playing their single "Take Me Out," made for a "phoned-in" performance that actually worked.
9. Comic-Con Gurls Spoof Katy Perry - Greetings, fellow nerds. Let's take a journey...back to San Diego, where Comic-Con took place July 22-25. There, Dungeonmasters, Trekkies, and all sorts of fanboys converged for a long lost weekend of unabashed geekery. To celebrate, the funny folks at Screen Team Show released this parody of Katy Perry's "California Gurls," with enough Wonder Women, Supergirls, Slave Leias, Xenas, Hogwarts schoolgirls, and Lara Crofts to fulfill every dorkboy's basement-dwelling fantasy.
8. Death Metal Rooster: A Real Rock 'N' Roll Animal - Move over, Keyboard Cat. There was a new viral video star in the animal kingdom in 2010, and he came through LOUD and clear. This cocky rocker became an Internet sensation after Ewan Parry (of the British metal band Talanas) combined his original composition and some found footage of a cackling feathered fiend, then uploaded the riotous result to YouTube. Within hours, Parry's "Death Metal Rooster" clip had more views than any previous music video by Talanas. Something to crow about!
7. Jewel Goes Undercover At L.A. Karaoke Bar - We always assumed Jewel was a serious poetess type, but the singer-songwriter showed off her silly side when she agreed to don a prosthetic disguise as "Karen" and sing incognito karaoke versions of her hit songs for a confused and amused bar crowd, all caught on camera by the folks at Funny Or Die. It was quite possibly Jewel's best concert to date.
6. Baby Boogies To Florence + The Machine - Attention, harried parents. Next time your little one is acting up, reach not for those Barney or Yo Gabba Gabba DVDs. Just pop in Florence + The Machine's debut album Lungs, and Junior should stop crying his own lungs out in no time. Just check out baby Embry here. The moment he heard the lilting strains of plucked harp strings in Florence's hit "Dog Days Are Over," he calmed right down...and when the song really kicked in, he started dancing like that computer-animated baby from "Ally McBeal."
5. Drummer At "Wrong" Gig Has The Right Stuff - There's an old saying: Behind every wedding band is a frustrated rock 'n' roll drummer with deferred dreams of Tommy Lee/Keith Moon-style stardom. That certainly seemed to be the case with gold-tuxedo'd cover-band vets Rick K. & The Allnighters. Their clip of a performance of ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man," shot two years ago at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsyvania, become an Interweb sensation this year, thanks to beat-keeper Steve Moore's stadium-style, drumstrick-twirling, headbanging, face-pulling antics.
4. DJ Kitty Really Knows How To Scratch - Scratching some vinyl to rapper Gucci Mane's "Wasted" while wearing a street-cred-friendly Tampa Bay Rays jersey, DJ Kitty was already a local hero in Florida, where his turntablism appeared on the jumbotron at Rays games, and he entertained countless sports fans as he pawed and clawed the wheels of steel to "Jump!" by the Movement. And in 2010, DJ Kitty went viral. After this video hit, surely it wasn't long before cats across the globe were scratching records instead of scratching posts.
3. Afghan Troops Go Gaga For "Telephone" - Back in April, a group of U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan blew off some steam by reenacting Lady Gaga and Beyonce's notorious "Telephone" video. Although the resulting hilarious clip was intended to just to entertain their loved ones back home, it of course soon went viral on YouTube, receiving more than 6 million views. Operation Gaga was a major success!
2. Broken Bells Sow Their Wild Oates - We didn't think Hall & Oates's "Private Eyes" could be improved upon. We were wrong. When video director Matt McCormick came up with the genius idea to digitally graft Broken Bells' lip-synching mouths onto Daryl and John's faces in the iconic '80s clip, the result was one of the coolest and most original viral videos of the year. If you haven't seen this yet, your private eyes are about to be amazed.
1. Little Lord Gaga Gives Best Piano Recital Ever - Lady Gaga parodies and tributes abounded in 2010, but the school recital performance of "Paparazzi" by boy wonder Greyson Chance was the best. As the teacher emceeing the Edmond's Sixth Grade Festival said at the end of Greyson's stunning piano performance, this mega-talented kid could even "teach Lady Gaga a lesson." A deal with mentor Ellen DeGeneres's Geffen-distributed record label soon followed, and now Greyson's world domination seems certain in 2011.