Rebecca Black was to viral videos in 2011 what Adele was to the music world at large this year: The lady of the hour. Black's "Friday" hit very early in the year and kept the Internet a-chattering throughout 2011. Her fellow viral stars couldn't compete, but rest assured, they tried. From adorable kids covering quick-spitting female rappers to "SNL" Digital Shorts and a certain head-y DJ duo, see who ruled music's biggest viral videos of 2011, as chosen by Billboard.com.
10. Justin Bieber's Rap Alter Ego: The "Otis" Freestyle
The Biebs earned some street cred last month when he stopped by Power 106's Big Boy's Neighborhood to show off the skills of "Shawty Mane," his hip-hop alter ego. Bieber asked for the beat from Kanye West and Jay-Z's "Otis" only to unleash a swag-tastic two-minute freestyle over the "Watch the Throne" track. A few verses that are sure to make Selena proud: "I thank Jesus at the awards, I'm never going to hell/ Call me Zack Morris, I'm saving you by the bell/ My girl says I'm perfect, she just loves an imperfect person perfectly/ Personally, I think she is perfectly perfect." ( Full Billboard.com Story )
9. Gaga, JT & Andy Samberg Have a "3-Way"
"Saturday Night Live" packed some serious punch with its season finale back in May, booking not only Justin Timberlake as its host but the Mother Monster as its musical guest. Gaga was generous with her comedic side, and the show's highlight came in the form of a Digital Short, "3-Way." J-Timbs and Andy Samberg reprised their roles as the sleazy New Jack Swing brothers from the "Dick in a Box" and "Motherlover" videos, only this time, their lady of choice is an overly lip-lined Gaga. And she wants them both. ( Full Billboard.com Story )
8. Duck Sauce's Disturbing "Big Bad Wolf" Video
No doubt about it, dance duo Duck Sauce gave the world 2011's most disturbing music video with "Big Bad Wolf" back in October. In a clip that leans closer to the always disturbing Aphex Twin video for "Come to Daddy" than Duck Sauce's celeb-filled "Barbra Streisand" video, the duo portrays dickheads -- literally. NSFW, and good luck ridding this from your brain. ( Full Billboard.com Story )
7. The Lana Del Rey "Game"
Few were sure what to make of Lana Del Rey when she first popped up online, via her mysterious clip for "Video Games." Nestled among vintage Hollywood shots were blurry depictions of Lana, a hipstery Nancy Sinatra type with a caricature of a pout and a calculated stare. "Buzz" is perhaps not strong enough a word to explain the controversy that erupted around Del Rey following the "Video Games" clip, and the attention has only increased as she signed to Interscope and prepares for the release of a full-length in January.
6. Odd Future Goof Off For World on "Late Night"
L.A. rappers Odd Future made their network television debut count back in February, as the group busted out an unforgettably unhinged performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Performing "Sandwitches," Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats spit vicious rhymes with facemasks on, thrashing about and ending the performance by running around Fallon's desk before jumping on the host's back as he signs off. The performance was the first of many mainstream looks for Odd Future, undoubtedly one of the year's biggest debut acts, and got people knowing more about the group beyond just a buzzing name. ( Full Billboard.com Story ).
5. Black Keys & Vampire Weekend Face Off in "Sellout-Off"
Back in January, Stephen Colbert invited the Black Keys and Vampire Weekend on "The Colbert Report," pitting them against each other in a "sellout-off" to earn his 2011 Grammy ballot for Best Alternative Album. In a satirical move that spoke loudly and clearly about the state of the music industry, both heavily-licensed rock bands played clips of commercials featuring their songs to determine which act was more deserving of Colbert's vote. "Leave your souls at the door," Colbert advised. What transpired was a toned-down take on the newscaster fight from "Anchorman,"  metal chains and crowbars included. ( Full Billboard.com Story )
4. Michael Bolton Shows His Cinephilia in "Jack Sparrow"
The Lonely Island earns another spot on our list with their Michael Bolton collaboration, which is easily the best thing the crooner's done in ages. Appearing in the "SNL" Digital Short "Jack Sparrow" back in May, Bolton proved just how big of a cinephile he is by writing "big sexy hooks" about "The Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, "Forrest Gump," "Erin Brockovich" and "Scarface." Bolton committed, transforming himself into each character with a scary sort of enthusiasm, and the result was a special sort of comeback touched only by
2. "Super Bass" Gets The Kid Touch
First Taylor Swift sheepishly gave us her take on Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass,"  inspiring the song's Top 5 single status. Selena Gomez followed with her brazen backstage version . But both were topped by an eight-year-old girl named Sophia Grace Brownlee. Accompanied by her five-year-old cousin Rosie and dressed in a ballerina princess get-up, Sophia belted out the entirety of "Super Bass," alternating between Minaj's tongue-twister rhymes and the song's catchy chorus. Minaj was tickled by the YouTube clip as its 27 million YouTube viewers that she appeared alongside Sophia and Rosie on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" back in September. ( Full Billboard.com Story )
1. Rebecca Black Celebrates the Freakin' Weekend
Rebecca Black's video for "Friday" is one of those rare occurrences where even the most seasoned critics of Internet culture don't know where to begin. From the singing straight out of Auto-Tuned hell to lyrics such as "Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes afterwards" and a comically bad rap about passing school buses, "Friday" is something that simply must be seen and heard to be fully appreciated. In 2011, it was seen and heard plenty, amassing hundreds of millions of views before the 14-year-old ARK Music Factory singer pulled the clip from Youtube, only to re-upload soon thereafter. For Black, "Friday" inspired an attempt at a legitimate musical career, complete with an appearance on"Leno" and follow-up "singles" "My Moment" and the recent "Person of Interest." For music fans and pretty much anyone who used the Internet in the first half of 2011, it inspired the biggest laugh of the year. ( Full Billboard.com Story )
- Viral Videos