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PSY, Carly Rae Jepsen, McKayla: 2012's top viral videos, memes, photos
As the year's top viral videos and photos emerged, Hudson Valley at times played a starring role. From the songs you couldn't get out of your head to the remarks just begging for their own hashtags, these are the top viral moments of 2012 (in no particular order):
Fired Big Bird
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney suffered several viral mishaps this campaign season (47 percent, “binders full of women”), but it was his remarks at the first presidential debate about his plan to fire beloved “Sesame Street” resident Big Bird that really sent the Twittersphere wild. Romneys remarks prompted the creation of various Twitter accounts dedicated to the newly out-of-work character. The hashtag #SaveBigBird was the fourth-highest trending Twitter topic by the end of the debate.
Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal
On May 23, a Portland, Ore. man orchestrated what may be the most widely watched marriage proposal ever. Isaac Lamb enlisted the help of 60 friends and family members to lip sync and dance to the Bruno Mars’ ballad “Marry You” as his girlfriend, Amy Frankel, sat in the back of a slow moving SUV watching the production -- which included a marching band -- unfold in front of her. Frankel said yes to Lamb and so did millions of others as the heartwarming video went viral within days.
The couple received accolades from Mars and nearly 3,000 of his fans who retweeted his link to the video. The proposal currently has over 17 million views on YouTube.
A short film about African warlord Joseph Kony was released on March 5 and quickly gained steam with the help of some high-profile tweeters. The video, created by Invisible Children to bring global awareness to the Ugandan militia leader’s criminal activity, catapulted to 74 million views within a week of its release.
The film went on to be seen by over 95 million YouTube viewers, but stirred up controversy when critics called the documentary oversimplified and questioned the group’s motives.
Bullied Bus Monitor
In June, a middle-school student in Greece, N.Y. posted a 10-minute video on his Facebook page showing four other seventh-grade boys cruelly taunting 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein. The video was uploaded to YouTube and passed around until it was seen by millions of viewers. One Redditor set up a campaign to raise money for the sympathetic bus monitor. The $5,000 goal was met within five hours and the campaign ultimately raised over $700,000 for Klein, which she used to retire and set up an anti-bullying foundation. The four boys heard bullying Klein in the video were each given a one-year suspension from school.
The talk of the 2012 Republican National Convention had nothing to do with presidential candidate Mitt Romney or his running mate Paul Ryan. Instead, it was 82-year-old actor Clint Eastwood who set social media abuzz with a rambling 10-minute monologue in which he scolded an empty chair holding an invisible President Obama.
A Twitter handle for @InvisibleObama was created and had thousands of followers before the puzzling speech had ended. Soon campaigns for “Eastwood/Chair 2016” were joked about and people began uploading photos of them with “President Obama” (i.e. an empty chair) with the hashtag “#Eastwooding.”
The president got in his own jab at the actor when he tweeted out an image of himself sitting in a chair with the label “The President,” writing “This seat’s taken.”
Call Me Maybe
Summer 2012 belonged to a Canadian songstress named Carly Rae Jepsen with her infectious pop hit “Call Me Maybe.” The newcomer’s song hit American by storm after fellow Canuck crooner Justin Bieber tweeted out his love for it.
Since then, it's been one of the most covered songs on YouTube, with renditions by everyone from soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to the Olympic Swim Team. The song also proved addictive to Hudson Valley residents who couldn't get it out of their heads this summer.
McKayla is Not Impressed
Olympian McKayla Maroney was part of the gold-medal winning U.S. women’s gymnastics team, but it was her silver medal-winning vault during the individual competition that landed her on this list.
An image of Maroney making a sideways scowl -- dubbed a “not impressed” face -- after receiving her second place award launched her into meme infamy. The face inspired the Tumblr page “McKayla is Not Impressed” where users photoshopped the scowling gymist in such impressive places as the Great Wall of China, the launch of the iPhone 5, and in front of great works of art.
When Maroney and teammates visited the White House after the games, the pint-sized vaulter proved that she was in on the joke when even President Barack Obama couldn’t impress her.
A pudgy 34-year-old South Korean pop star performing under the pseudonym PSY took the world by storm in 2012 with his song “Gangnam Style.” All odds were against the song’s success: It’s satirical lyrics about the habits of the wealthy residents of a region of Seoul that most Americans have never heard of is sung almost entirely in korean. But the video featuring a dapper Psy galloping in place managed to catch the attention of the masses and, in just four months, surpassed teenage superstar Justin Bieber’s 804 million views for his song "Baby” to become the most-watched YouTube video of all time.
The video inspired a cavalcade of parodies, including the one above by a group of cadets at U.S. Military Academy at West Point. On Dec. 21, Psy’s original video became the first to reach one billion views on YouTube.
Who will rise up the ranks of viral stars next year? Only time will tell, but we've got our eye on these Hudson Valley YouTubers.