Video-hosting site YouTube has over a billion active users. Most of them are happy to get a few dozen views on the videos they share. But let’s compare that to the viral-video elite. One of the site’s top-trending videos for 2016 pulled in over 136 million views. Come with us as we stroll back through 2016, revisit some of the best viral videos and remember why we (and millions of others) clicked on them in the first place.
1. Adele sings car karaoke
"Late Late Show" host James Corden has conquered YouTube with his Carpool Karaoke series that welcomes celebrities to ride shotgun and sing along to hits over the stereo. British musical sensation Adele took a seat next to Corden way back in January and the collaboration turned out to be one of YouTube’s biggest video hits of the year.
What makes this so charming is the mix of comedy brought by Corden and the knockout singing chops of Adele. She even sings along with one of her own hits, the emotionally compelling "Hello." Corden hams it up, but he also hits the high notes right along with her. He jokingly calls Adele "the female Phil Collins" right before she spills her drink on her lap. It’s a joyous 15 minutes of musical meanderings and witty banter. No wonder it’s still pulling in masses of viewers nearly a year later. Come for Adele, stay for the hilarious Spice Girls karaoke.
2. Hydraulic press vs. diamond
There is something primal about a hydraulic press. The industrial machine can squish even the sturdiest of objects, whether they are made from metal, plastic or vegetable (yes, vegetable) matter. The year 2016 has been the breakout party for the Hydraulic Press Channel, a YouTube channel dedicated to (you guessed it) smooshing things with a heavy-duty hydraulic press.
It’s hard to choose just one outstanding video from the many offerings on display, but we’ll have to go with the wildly popular "Crushing diamond with hydraulic press." A lab-grown 1.2-carat diamond goes up against the awesome power of the relentless machine. Diamonds may have the reputation of being one of the hardest substances on Earth, but the press wins the day, turning the gemstone into dust. It’s a fascinating experiment and one that attracted over 10 million views.