YouTube Biggest Viral Videos of 2016: Adele ‘Carpool Karaoke’ Is No. 1

Carpool Karaoke Adele
Courtesy of CBS

The top-trending videos on YouTube this year are a melange of funny, odd and musical bits — some from big media companies, and others from individual creators.

According to the Google-owned video service, CBS’s “The Late Late Show with James Corden” scored the biggest viral hit of 2016 with the “Carpool Karaoke” segment featuring Adele. Since hitting YouTube in January, the clip with Adele and Corden has racked up 135 million views. The show has continued to build “Carpool Karaoke” into a major franchise, with CBS cutting a deal with Apple for an original series based on the format.

Coming in second: the studiously silly “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen,” a 68-second music video by Japanese comedian Piko-Taro, which got a huge boost after Justin Bieber tweeted that it was his “favorite video on the internet.”

Other TV shows charting on YouTube’s 2016 viral-video ranking include NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; Spike’s “Lip Sync Battle” with the face-off between Channing Tatum and Beyonce; and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” with a February video clip in which Oliver called Donald Trump “America’s back mole: It may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it’s gotten frighteningly bigger, it’s no longer wise to ignore it.”

YouTube measures top-trending videos — which aren’t the most viewed overall — using a combination of factors, including how users interact with them (number of views, shares, comments and likes). The final top 10 list is ranked by views.

Here are the YouTube top 10 trending videos of 2016, which collectively have 550 million views and have been watched for over 25 million hours:

  1. Adele Carpool Karaoke – “The Late Late Show with James Corden”
  2. Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen – Piko-Taro
  3. What’s Inside a Rattlesnake Rattle? – What’s Inside
  4. The Switch ft. Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Anthony Martial & More – Nike Football
  5. Grace VanderWaal: 12-Year-Old Ukulele Player Gets Golden Buzzer – NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”
  6. Water Bottle Flip Edition – Dude Perfect
  7. Channing Tatum & Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)” vs. Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s “Pony” – Spike’s “Lip Sync Battle”
  8. Donald Trump: “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” – HBO
  9. The $21,000 First-Class Airplane Seat – Casey Neistat
  10. Brothers Convince Little Sister of Zombie Apocalypse – Cabot Phillips

YouTube also released the site’s most popular music videos of the year. Fifth Harmony’s beefcake-y “Work from Home” tops the list with more than 1.17 billion views, while Rihanna’s “Work” nabbed the record for most views in the first 24 hours (11.9 million).

  1. Fifth Harmony, “Work from Home ft. Ty Dolla $ign”
  2. Calvin Harris, “This Is What You Came For ft. Rihanna”
  3. Nicky Jam, “Hasta el Amanecer”
  4. The Chainsmokers, “Closer (Lyric) ft. Halsey”
  5. Rihanna, “Work ft. Drake”
  6. Mike Posner, “I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Seeb Remix)”
  7. Sia, “Cheap Thrills (Lyric Video) ft. Sean Paul”
  8. Zayn, “Pillowtalk”
  9. Coldplay, “Hymn For The Weekend”
  10. Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens” (from Suicide Squad: The Album)

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