Celebrities did the Horse Dance and millions were shocked seeing the exploits of a Ugandan cult and militia leader. Viral videos on YouTube in 2012 ranged from funny to cute and from inspiring to shocking. This year, records were broken both in the videos and by them, unlike previous years where the viral hits were mostly flash mobs and cute children. Sure, YouTube has a list of its own trending videos both in India and globally, but that isn’t enough for us. So here is our pick from the most watched, much loved videos of this year.

Somebody That I Used To Know (Walk off the Earth Cover)
Five musicians, one guitar—what does its spell? Magic! Canadian Indie Band Walk Off The Earth came up with a version of Gotye’s popular hit ‘Somebody that I Used To Know’ that ripped through the YouTube charts and perched itself at number two on the list of most watched cover songs of 2012. It gained far more views than the original too!

Eagle Picks Up A Baby
Picture this—a quiet Montreal park, a baby playing and others bird-watching. What could possibly go wrong? A golden eagle the camera seems to be tracking, tries to snatch the toddler and fly away with it—that’s all! The video, which was all over social networking websites in mid-December, had everyone stunned and garnered two million views in less than 24 hours. Too bad the video turned out to be fake. It is thought to be the handiwork of three animation students who produced it as a project for school. The animation industry is in talented hands, eh?

Surprise Dance on Finnair Flight to celebrate India's Republic Day
The flash-mob trend of 2011 continued into the New Year with Finnair celebrating India’s Republic Day on January 26 with a flash dance performed by the cabin crew. None of the dancers were Indian, but they delighted the audience with a well-rehearsed routine set to Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ in the cramped aisles. Passengers whipped out their mobile phones to record it and YouTube users have watched it over four million times since it has been uploaded.

The Ohio State University Marching Band
Marching bands in the United States are known to regale sports fans with exuberant cheerleading, dancing and acrobatics during the halftime break. The Ohio State University Marching Band went one step ahead to not just regale the crowd but also the video game lovers in it. The Band went all out making formations from games we all remember like Space Invaders, Pokémon, Tetris and Mario. A classic gaming lover’s delight!

OK Go – Needing/Getting
The American Alternative Rock Band OK Go pretty much owes its success to YouTube. The band is known for making music in their videos from everyday objects attached to contraptions you will never believe. They sometimes just dance on treadmills too. Their newest video Needing/Getting has the band sitting in a car that has been fixed with objects they use to make music. The video with 20 million hits on YouTube is also part of a Chevy Sonic commercial, which is actually the car used to make music. OK Go had also tied up in the past with Google incorporating HTML5 to make a video viewable through Google Chrome. Talk about innovation!

Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen
Ever wondered what happens when a parent finds out their child has been ranting about them on Facebook? Wonder no more! Tommy Jordan’s epic reply to daughter Hannah’s angry Facebook post went viral as he told her off publically for being ungrateful. He ended grounding her, posting the video to her wall and putting six bullets from his .45 into her laptop. The video elicited responses ranging from respect for Jordan to shock and sympathy for Hannah and became one of the most viral videos of this year. Ah, the perils of social media!

Tupac Hologram Performs at Coachella
Technology can even bring the dead to life! Well, not really, but it can sure make a person come back in 2D. Spectators were in for a surprise at the Coachella Music Festival when Tupac Shakur, the much loved and much dead rapper, came back on stage as a hologram to perform with Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. The lifelike hologram rapped and interacted with Dogg and Dre like Shakur would. The hologram was made possible with an optical illusion called Pepper’s Ghost. Check out the video!

The Queen Sequence – Opening Ceremony, London 2012 Olympic Games

The London Olympics were undoubtedly one of the most defining events of 2012. London was intent on making an impact on the Olympics and they did right from the word go! The games opened with Elizabeth II, the Queen of England making a brilliant entry by ‘jumping’ off a helicopter with Daniel Craig playing James Bond to thunderous applause in the lit up stadium! The games were also telecast live on YouTube in HD to a great reception.

Kony 2012

This viral video is different from the others in the list. It shocked and made the world sit up and take notice of alleged war criminal and Ugandan Cult Leader Joseph Kony. The documentary aimed to create global awareness of Kony’s war methods with the aim of having him arrested by the end of 2012. The video that released in March 2012 spread like wildfire, garnering 100 million views in just six days; the movement also earning the support of celebrities like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey. The video even received a follow up video called Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous to inspire 'informed action'.

Dumb Ways to Die
Undoubtedly the cutest video about death anyone has ever seen! The video commissioned by Metro Trains in Melbourne Australia was made to promote rail safety amongst its users. The macabre characters of the video are spliced up, cut into several pieces and have holes poked in them and are yet cute enough to make viewers go ‘aww’. Watch the video and you will never want to cross the railway lines again.

Brown Rang

Brown Rang by Yo! Yo! Honey Singh makes it to our list by the sheer virtue of it having gone massively viral in India. The home-grown Punjabi rapper is known for making rhymes and videos that appeal to teenagers and young adults who find his tracks groovy. Brown Rang too combines Punjabi rhymes with colloquial English to make a track that has made Singh’s popularity soar. A piece of trivia – according to YouTube Rewind 2012, the number of times Brown Rang has been viewed in India surpasses the number of times Gangnam Style, the global number one hit has been viewed! Who’d have thought, huh?

Theek Hai
Theek Hai (Is this okay?) is possibly the youngest video on our list to have gone viral. This video surfaced online only early this week and has been viewed over half a million times within two days. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recorded the video to assure citizens that the government was listening after the brutal gang-rape of a young Delhi girl sparked violent protests in the capital. At the end of the two-minute speech, Singh turns to the cameraman to ask him if the shot was alright. That last bit wasn't edited out of the clip that got sent to the media, and it was shared over and over on social networking websites. The original video has been pulled off YouTube, but several copies crop up every time one is pulled down. Theek Hai!

Felix Baumgartner’s Supersonic Free Fall
Austrian Skydiver Baumgartner made the whole world hold its breath and watch as he became the first person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle as he made a 39 kilometre descent. In a one of its kind event shown live on YouTube, Baumgartner was sent into the stratosphere in a makeshift capsule from which he jumped back to Earth, smashing several records in the process. Baumgartner made records for the highest altitude jump, the highest manned balloon flight, oh, and for starring in one of the most viral videos of 2012!

Rewind YouTube Style
YouTube decided to make a viral video for itself… about viral videos of 2012! Rewind YouTube Style was a part of the YouTube Rewind results that announced top globally viewed videos of the year. It featured stars from other videos like Psy of Gangnam Style fame, Walk off the Earth, Real Annoying Orange, MysteryGuitarMan amongst other viral stars of the year. The YouTube stars sang and danced to Gangnam Style and Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2011 hit Call Me Maybe much to the delight of viewers. Get some chuckles as you watch highlights of this year’s viral videos in YouTube Style!

Gangnam Style
No prizes for guessing which video makes it to the top of our list for going viral in style! Gangnam Style may possibly be the most viralled video ever, with its viewed counter running faster than the horse dance itself. The Korean Pop song is by artist Psy who sings and performs the crazy galloping dance on the very catchy tune. Despite the fact that none of the countries the song topped the charts on knew Korean, the earworm of a song has found its way to listeners’ hearts and lips. It sparked off not just many parodies, but also videos of celebrities like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the entire West Indian Cricket Team dancing on this track. Globally on the number one position, the video recently became the first to break the one billion views barrier on YouTube!

This was Tech2’s list of viral videos of 2012. Since the list is not exhaustive, feel free to add videos you thought deserved to be in here in the comments section!

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