Whether you’ve been on the app for a while — or if quarantine boredom turned an innocuous curiosity into a full-blown obsession — 2020 was undeniably the year of TikTok.
Not only did the addictive app provide endless entertainment in the form of short, 15-second bits, the accompanying songs latched onto our brains for weeks and months, giving way to a new class of rising stars (and welcome returns from a handful of older ones) who transcended TikTok and became permanent fixtures on the charts throughout the year.
Here are our favorite musical TikTok trends of 2020 — a mix of dance challenges, artists flaunting makeup skills, skateboarders drinking cranberry juice and everything in between. — RANIA ANIFTOS
25. Olivia Newton-John, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”
TikTok rediscovered Newton-John’s lovesick Grease ballad toward the end of 2020, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” quickly became a way for a new generation of romantics to paint the picture of themselves as a modern day Sandra Dee. The sound is filled with teens (and one very supportive father) belting out the song melodramatically, as if Danny Zuko himself had broken their hearts.
@ashleydheemark gave his ALL ##fyp ##kingmark ##hopelesslydevotedtoyou♬ original sound – ashley trinh
24. ODESZA, “A Moment Apart”
“You have to start romanticizing your life,” user @ashlaward is heard musing over the piano melody of ODESZA’s 2017 album’s vibrant title track. “You have to start thinking of yourself as the main character, because if you don’t, life will continue to pass you by.” The sentiment of gratitude amid an objectively difficult year quickly spread across the platform, as users created heartwarming montages of their favorite memories.
23. Jason Derulo & Jawsh 685, “Savage Love”
Jawsh 685’s feel-good instrumental was inescapable at the beginning of the year, with the For You Page flooded with users of every ethnic background swaying their hips to the beat. Enter TikTok enthusiast Jason Derulo, who took the song to a whole new level with lyrics about hoping to mend a brokenhearted girl. Thanks in part to a remix featuring BTS, the infectious song soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
@jasonderuloHad fun remixing @jawsh_685 siren beat ##SavageLove summer vibes♬ Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) – Jawsh 685 & Jason Derulo
22. Powfu feat. beabadoobee, “death (coffee for your head)”
The honeyed vocals in Powfu and beabadoobee’s tranquil hit started out as a soundtrack for bedroom tours, hair transformations and soothing recipes. The song then transformed into an audio version of liquid courage, giving users the push they needed to kiss their best friends and take a friendship to a romantic new level.
21. JACKBOYS & Travis Scott feat. Young Thug, “Out West”
User Nicole Bloomgarden‘s choreography to Travis Scott’s “Out West” was one of the first dance challenges to hit TikTok in 2020, but the trend came to its peak when Kylie Jenner hopped on the bandwagon, “slangin’ out west” with her pal Stassie Karanikolaou. As the BFF duo rocked side-to-side, the “Highest in the Room” rapper is seen sauntering around in the background — taking a hit from a joint, of course.
@kyliejennerout west ???♬ OUT WEST – JACKBOYS & Travis Scott
20. Kesha, “Cannibal”
TikTok breathed new life into Kesha’s decade-old song, thanks to Briana Hantsch’s dance routine, which found users popping their chests to the lyrics, “Whenever you tell me I’m pretty, that’s when the hunger really hits me.” The singer had no problem with the delayed success — and even got in on the fun, nailing to the choreography in a side-by-side clip with social media star Charli D’Amelio.
19. Internet Money & Gunna feat. Don Toliver & Nav, “Lemonade”
The double “hey” in Internet Money’s viral chorus created the perfect script for a slew of hilarious skits, in which users act out scenarios where they really shouldn’t have said “hey” back. From replying to an ex or accidentally talking to a sibling after a fight, to the Grinch getting caught stealing Christmas presents, TikTok had no shortage of creativity in coming up with fun foot-in-your-mouth moments.
18. Jack Harlow, “Whats Poppin”
“Don’t mind me, just watchin’,” Jack Harlow says in the remix of his Hot 100 chart topper “Whats Poppin.” Turns out, Harlow wasn’t the only one hoping you didn’t notice their glance this year. The lyric was interpreted on TikTok as dogs longing for a bite of their owner’s food, students cheating on tests, and even the United States desperately waiting for Nevada to count votes in the 2020 election.
17. Taylor Swift, “Love Story” (Disco Lines Remix)
Sure, Taylor Swift dropped her eighth album folklore over the summer, but TikTok was much more interested in a retro-tinged remix of her 2008 hit “Love Story.” The trend was simple but fun: get down on one knee as if you’re about to propose, and just as the “Marry me, Juliet” lyric hits, stand up and “push” the camera away. As the shot widens, finish off your video by, um, humping the air. Still confused? Let TikTok star Noah Beck show you how it’s done.
16. DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar”
“Goddamn, baby, you are fine as hell! You like men who can dance?” TikTok star Cale Saurage shot his shot in a viral video uploaded in April. “You do? Well, you wanna see this dance I just made?” He then delved into high-energy choreo set to DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s summer smash, which quickly became one of 2020’s most popular dance trends.
@calegoesNEW DANCE ALERT!!! (Tutorial coming soon) ##rockstar ##rockstarchallenge ##dababy♬ ROCKSTAR DABABY FT RODDY RICH – Cale saurage
15. Billie Eilish, “Therefore I Am”
Nothing is more satisfying than a before-and-after transition — especially when it’s to the tune of Eilish’s dismissive “Stop, what the hell are you talking about?” lyric. Within a week of its release, the Grammy winner’s scathing “Therefore I Am” became an attitude-filled way for TikTok users to show off their makeup skills, ranging from the sharpest winged eyeliner to rainbow-colored smokey eyes.
14. Ariana Grande,”pov”
Grande’s Positions closer is a hopeful ode to self love, and that sentiment was translated to its accompanying TikTok trend. To the tune of the chorus, users shared videos of “all of [their] pretty,” and “all of [their] ugly too,” ultimately hoping to see how beautiful they are from an outside perspective. If you’re looking for a more comedic version of the trend, a number of shorter girls have finally discovered (for better or for worse) what they look like from their taller boyfriend’s “pov.”
13. Saweetie, “Tap In”
As if Saweetie’s “Tap In” wasn’t catchy enough — add in an equally fun dance challenge. Lesley Gonzalez (@yodamnmomma) flexed her “Wrist on glitter/ Waist on thinner” with the classic TikTok hip-popping move and “dice roll,” and wrapped it up with a clever swiping motion on her palm to “swipe like Tinder.” As with many of the most popular TikTok dances of the year, app stars like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae put their own spin on it (the latter featuring Kourtney Kardashian, her children and North West).
@yodamnmommaSO I MADE A DANCCEEE- TRY IT AND TAG MEEE #Prince4Ever #foryou #LittleBitFancy #newdance #dc #fyp #ye♬ Tap In – Saweetie
12. 24kGoldn feat. Iann Dior, “Mood”
24kGoldn and Iann Dior’s breezy collaboration was the most versatile song on TikTok this year. While it doesn’t have a particular trend attached to it, the song is the soundtrack to a popular game in which a group of friends see whose ex will text back first, life hacks, exercise tips and cheeky skits. Perhaps its ability to fit any “mood” is the reason why it’s always on the FYP.
11. Nick Thompson x Og Ty, “Hot Girl Summer”
When you go to the gas station, what’s your go-to snack? Salt and vinegar chips with a Coca-Cola? Takis, Sour Patch Kids and a Slurpee? In 2020, Nick Thompson and Og Ty’s “Hot Girl Summer” — not to be confused with Megan Thee Stallion’s song of the same name — became the theme for showing off your favorite “gas station order” for a long road trip ahead. Even Iggy Azalea joined in, opting for Ferrero Rocher confectionaries (or “Boujee granny Chocolates,” according to the rapper), peach tea mixed with lemonade, and a hot dog.
@thenewclassicI’m aware… I know what’s in hotdogs. I know. I knoooooow….♬ Hot Girl Summer Dice Beat – sound remixes
10. Aly & AJ, “Potential Break Up Song”
Who would have thought ’00s Disney darlings Aly & AJ would find their stride again in 2020? What started out as a string of girls flaunting stylish outfits while dismissing a boyfriend gone sour to the song’s first verse was quickly overpowered by a group of moms on a night out. The clip, with more than 10 million likes, was soon duetted with by the daughters of the viral moms, who are hilarious spitting images of their parents as they recreate everything from their facial expressions to that iconic head bob. I mean, they really said copy paste.
@miagillespiee##duet with @miagillespiee what you all have been waiting for!! who did it better? ##momsordaughters♬ Potential Breakup Song – Aly & AJ
9. Curtis Waters, “Stunnin'”
As the title suggests, “Stunnin'” became the perfect opportunity for TikTok users to reimagine their favorite cartoons or TVs show characters in modern-day outfits, and look great while doing it. “What I’d wear as a…” the caption usually read, before the participants transitioned through various looks, and catwalked in-place towards the camera. It was one of the more creative fashion trends on the platform, as it challenged users to add their own flair to a classic character or show.
@the.navaroseidk if this has been done already but if u do this tag me! what I’d wear in movies ##mystyle ##tiktokfashion ##whatidwear♬ Stunnin’ (feat. Harm Franklin) – Curtis Waters
8. Ritt Momney, “Put Your Records On”
The trend associated with this sparkling cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s 2006 hit single may seem a little confusing at first — as smearing a bunch of random eyeshadows on your face with your fingers might not necessarily scream “makeup challenge.” But fear not! Once these artists were done marking their canvas, they closed their makeup palettes in a seamless transition to reveal some of their most creative, professional-level eyeshadow looks.
@juliakmoch_@jamescharles pls notice me ##fyp ##makeup ##jamescharles ##selflove ##foryou ##eyeshadow ##makeuplover♬ Put Your Records On – Ritt Momney
7. Doja Cat, “Boss Bitch”
The red carpet at the 2020 Grammys featured a glambot camera, and the resulting slow-mo videos quickly dominated TikTok. To the tune of Doja Cat’s “I’m a bitch, I’m a boss” chorus, users froze in awe while meeting their significant other’s family members or friend group for the first time, using the celebrities’ glambot shots to represent the mom, the dad, the siblings, the best friend, the aunt and more.
6. “It Girls” mashup
If Sir Chloe’s “Michelle,” the Lumineers’ “Ophelia,” Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah,” Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Conan Gray’s “Heather,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” were all personified, what would they wear? That’s what this style-centric TikTok trend set out to imagine, with hundreds of users drawing inspiration from the songs to create their own take on the so-called “it girls” of the music world.
@discobabytried dressin myself up as the diff “it” girls ##fyp ##outfitinspo ##foryou ♀️♬ The it girls – Christina
5. BENEE, “Supalonely”
Nothing captured the beginning of quarantine quite like BENEE’s aptly titled “Supalonely.” The lyrics mourning the single life, contrasted with sunny production and the singer’s identifiable pre-chorus growl, was a perfect formula for a TikTok hit at a time when we all thought the coronavirus outbreak would only last a few weeks. Not to mention user Zoi Lerma’s viral dance, which includes a very fitting middle finger to the sky.
@zoifishhnot my usual content but this song was too catchy to not make a dance to LMAO try it and tag me !! ##foryou ##foryour ##foryoupage ##foryourpage♬ Supalonely (feat. Gus Dapperton) – BENEE
4. Bea Miller & Labrinth, “feel something”/”Still Don’t Know My Name”
Ever since Euphoria debuted on HBO, makeup enthusiasts have become captivated by the show’s rhinestone- and glitter-heavy looks — and when a mashup of two songs from the show’s soundtrack hit TikTok, users found the opportunity to show off their Euphoria-inspired style. But, as with any proper makeup reveal, you had to nail the transition. In this case, participants would start bare-faced while lip syncing Bea Miller’s verse. They then fell back onto a bed — and once their head hit the pillow, Labrinth’s hook played and the final result was revealed.
@jamescharlesdid I do it right? #euphoria #makeup♬ feel something – bea miller – valenn
3. Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion, “WAP”
The raunchiest song of 2020 needed an equally NSFW dance, and Cardi B gave her stamp of approval to Brian Esperon’s split and twerk-filled routine. “My back hurt watching it,” she tweeted back in August. Four months later, as 2020 wraps up, the hashtag #WAPchallenge has more than 3.5 billion views, with both successful (and miserably failed) attempts at the high-energy choreography.
My back hurt watching it .Let me try it https://t.co/cpEEzSpJ3H
— iamcardib (@iamcardib) August 9, 2020
2. Megan Thee Stallion – “Savage”
Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” got a “sassy, moody, nasty” dance challenge to go along with it, thanks to 19-year-old Keara “Keke” Wilson, who threw it back and asked her followers to mimic the moves. Within weeks, the dance was inescapable on the platform, and everyone from the D’Amelio sisters and Hailey Bieber to Jennifer Lopez and Megan Thee Stallion herself took part in the fun. The dance also came right as the world was shutting down due to the pandemic, and in its own unique way, helped everyone feel a bit more united (even virtually) and a lot more “classy, bougie, ratchet.”
@keke.janajahNEW DANCE ALERT! if u use my dance tag me so i can see @theestallion #writethelyrics #PlayWithLife #foyou #fyp #foryoupage #newdance #savage♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion
1. Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”
In a particularly tumultuous year, the world found peace in the hands (and feet) of Nathan Apocada. In just 15 wholesome seconds, user @420doggface208 soothed our collective souls as he cruised down a road on a longboard, taking a swig of Ocean Spray straight from the bottle and lip-syncing along to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit. The TikTok, which currently has more than 11 million likes, introduced much of Gen-Z to “Dreams,” earned recreations from Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks — and the song subsequently had its biggest streaming week ever, even making it back to the Hot 100’s top 20. So thanks, Nathan, for making this hellish year a bit chiller.