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The videos that grabbed us

May 17, 2010

YouTube is now 5 years old. In Internet years, that's the equivalent of several lifetimes. Since the first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005, YouTube has become a vehicle for some of the world's most memorable videos. Some have made careers; other have wrecked them. Here's a sampling of some of the most influential videos on YouTube.


Susan Boyle

"Britain Has Talent" contestant becomes an overnight worldwide sensation. Her first album goes on to sell more than 8.3 million copies in 2009, making it the bestselling album of the year.

Justin Bieber

Pattie Mallette's homemade videos launched her son's career, along with a million teen-boy premature comb-overs.

" Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' "

The vaudevillian singer's video became the first to hit 100 million views. Her videos were also the first franchise to hit 1 billion views. Codependency has its fans.

"OK Go"

The band's video rekindled the concept of the music video, post- MTV. The group's career, launched on YouTube, led to a major record contract. However, a tiff with the record label over the band's online videos led to a split with the label.

Aw, Shucks!

"Charlie Bit My Finger"

This clip spread like a virus with the juice-box setand spawned a genre of baby videos.

"David After Dentist"

Video of 7-year-old David DeVore after a dentist appointment ends up making $125,000 for his family, giving rise to the economic viability of the pro-am class of creators.

"Keyboard Cat"

The obligatory homemade cat video. This particular meme spawned more than 200 copycats.


'Neda Agha-Soltan'

A young Iranian woman killed during protest in 2009 became a symbol of antigovernment movement. Warning - graphic images.

' George Allen'

The former Virginia senator's political career ended with one word -- proving again that Mark Twain was right: "It is better to have people think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

'I Got a Crush … on Obama'

Video, produced by a satirical website, became a much-discussed topic during the race for the Democratic nomination.

Grab Bag

"Miss Teen South Carolina Caitlin Upton"

Worst. Answer. Ever. Led to her entering "The Amazing Race" in February to expunge her humiliating performance watched by millions on YouTube. Losing the tiara helped. She and boyfriend Brent Horne finished third in the race.

"Evolution of Dance"

Who knew Judson Laipply's 2006 musical romp would be watched more than 146 million times?

"Randy Pausch's Last Lecture"

A professor, dying of cancer, gave his last public talk on Sept. 17, 2007. His touching lecture on living your dream, uploaded to YouTube later that year, garnered more than 11 million views.


A Web series that launched in June 2006 inspired a flood of bedroom webcam confessionals and led to a discussion in some circles of just what constitutes TMI.

"Leave Brittany Alone"

Tear-smudged Brittany Spears fan + handheld camera = 31 million views. 'Nuff said. Warning, explicit language.

Top 10 most viewed videos*

"Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' " – 204.3 million views

"Charlie Bit My Finger!" – 189.7 million views

"Evolution of Dance" – 143.4 million views

"Baby Featuring Ludacris" by Justin Bieber – 136.8 million views

"Pitbill – I know You Want Me" – 120.3 million views

"Hahaha" – 119.5 million views

"7 Things" by Miley Cyrus – 118.5 million views

"Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus – 118.4 million views

"Achmed the Dead Terrorist" – 112 million views

"Just Dance Featuring Colby O'Donis" by Lady Gaga — 110.2 million views

*Views as of Friday, May 14, 2010.

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