Accessibility links

Breaking News

Viral Videos Of 2013

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield wowed the world in 2013 with his rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," which he recorded on the International Space Station.
From Commander Chris Hadfield "floating in a tin can" to the "worst twerk fail ever," here's RFE/RL's selection of the funny, downright weird, and sometimes shocking clips that caught our attention in the past year.

As usual, it's by no means a comprehensive list, so feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments box below.

10) Astronaut Chris Hadfield Covers Bowie From Space

Canadian Chris Hadfield has been described as the most social-media savvy astronaut ever.

The International Space Station commander's tweets from orbit garnered more than 1 million Twitter followers and did much to convey all the wonders of space travel to earthlings back home.

It was his recording of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," however, which really set the world on fire:

9) A Huge Meteorite Lands In Siberia

If Hadfield did much to reignite interest in space, awe-inspiring footage of the Chelyabinsk meteorite also ensured that the cosmos -- and our place in it -- remained at the forefront of people's minds.

Nonetheless, there were some people who took the whole breathtaking incident in their stride:

8) The World's Biggest Hovercraft Disturbs Russian Sunbathers

Although the dash-cam meteorite video was actually just a comedy sketch, millions of people thought it was genuine, possibly because the guy driving the car seemed to react with typical Russian sangfroid to a potentially cataclysmic event.

Russians' reputation for stoic unflappability, however, was genuinely enhanced when footage emerged of a huge hovercraft disturbing beachgoers in Kaliningrad.

It's easy to imagine that sunbathers in, say, Florida or Malaga would have reacted with slightly less composure:

7) Steve Kardynal Lampoons Miley Cyrus On Chatroulette

Popstar Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" was undoubtedly one of the big hits of 2013, thanks in part to its racy video, which sparked a huge Internet debate on the exploitation and objectivication of the female body.

Regardless of what side of that discussion you were on, it would be hard not to like comedian Steve Kardynal's heartwarming Chatroulette version of the song, which probably made even Sinead O'Connor smile:

6) Jimmy Somerville Surprises A Street Artist

Speaking of heartwarming, practically no one could fail to have had their cockles melted by this clip of a street performer playing the old Bronski Beat hit, Smalltown Boy, on the streets of Berlin.

Seemingly, the group's lead singer Jimmy Somerville just happened to be walking his dog at the time -- and this is what happened next:

5) Caitlin Heller Catches Fire

Before she raised the world's hackles by swinging around naked on a heavy metal ball for no apparent reason, Miley Cyrus had already caused quite a stir by her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Her raunchy duet with Robin Thicke helped make "twerking" one of the Oxford Dictionaries' words of the year and -- like the infernal Harlem Shake meme -- it also inspired countless imitations.

Caitlin Heller's twerking efforts proved particularly popular. In many ways, the fact that there is more to this video than meets the eye only adds to its appeal:

4) Russian Police Choir Covers Daft Punk

In much the same way that the "Wrecking Ball" ear-worm managed to burrow its way inexorably into our subconscious, Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" was a tune that everyone ended up humming in the balmy summer of 2013.

Typically, it also inspired several cover versions and parodies, not to mention a spontaneous street party in Ireland thanks to the antics of a Dublin taxi driver (while also illustrating how Irish people often just "lose it" when they get a few days of consecutive sunshine).

This charming rendition by a Russian police choir ended up being viewed by millions of people on YouTube.

3) How Animals Eat Their Food

Regardless of whether you thought it was a genius moment of physical comedy or one of the dumbest, most juvenile things you've ever seen, there's probably a good chance you were one of some 100 million people who watched MisterEpicMann's "How Animals Eat Their Food" sketch:

2) Telekinetic Coffee Shop Prank

As usual, candid-camera-style joke videos proved immensely popular in 2013.

When those charged with marketing a remake of the classic horror film "Carrie" decided to film a prank to promote the new movie, they spared no expense or detail in scaring the bejesus out of their victims.

The result turned out to be YouTube gold:

1) Nothing To See Here: Just A Cat In A Shark Suit

In terms of pure virality, the demented ditty "What Does the Fox Say?" by Norwegian duo Ylvis will probably end up getting the most hits of any video posted on the Internet in 2013.

If, however, we're going to pick a really silly clip as our viral video of 2013, we'd prefer to nominate this film of a feline dressed in a shark costume calmly riding a robot vacuum cleaner.

Amazingly, this footage has already been seen by nearly 7 million people, which just goes to show that -- as a species -- we have a highly refined sense of the absurd.

Either that or we'll watch absolutely anything if it has a cat in it...