The call came down from on high: “Now watch me whip. Now watch me nae nae.” And the world heeded that call over 115 million times. But fast away the old year passes, and so Mic’s Liz Rowley has assembled a list of the 10 most-watched YouTube videos of 2015. Topping the survey, unsurprisingly, is “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by Atlanta rapper Silentó, proving definitively that music videos and dance crazes alike are both still alive and well in the new millennium. Music actually dominates Rowley’s countdown, from a Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart lip sync throwdown on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon (over 54 million views) to a Britain’s Got Talent audition by Calum Scott (over 38 million views). In retrospect, recycled content from late night TV was big in 2015, too. Besides the Fallon clip, the list also includes a presidential “Mean Tweets” segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live! (over 34 million views) and James Corden singing karaoke with Justin Bieber on The Late Late Show (over 43 million views). Stephen Colbert had better get cracking if he wants to catch up.
Refreshingly, YouTube hasn’t completely lost touch with its roots in 2015. There are still traces of classic internet tomfoolery and dumbassery to be found here, including “Six-Foot Man In Six-Foot Giant Water Balloon” (over 40 million views) and “Crazy Plastic Ball Prank!!” (over 56 million views). This year also showed that the internet loves both video games, the Super Bowl, and Liam Neeson. When those three things are magically combined, the results speak for themselves: 83 million views for Neeson’s minute-long Clash Of Clans spot. What is truly fascinating here is that 2015 was one of the most tumultuous years in recent memory, yet virtually none of that unease is reflected in the year’s top YouTube videos. Only the Obama/Kimmel clip and the Ad Council’s syrupy “Love Has No Labels” are even vaguely political. So maybe YouTube’s true importance is as an oasis from modernity rather than a reflection of it.