Trending This Week: Audacious Adi

Welcome back to YouTube Trends HQ, your unofficial sherpas through the mountains of online video. This week on the Spotlight channel, we went back to shop class, devoted a day to nature’s underdogs, and celebrated people revealing their true selves.

And when we weren’t putting the final touches on our Apparently Kid costumes, we were unearthing the following valedictorians of the viral video landscape:

“Audacious Adi” #1

Audacious is right. It isn’t just the sick moves from 11-year-old Adi Malcolm or that this was her first YouTube video, but what really grabbed us is the following from her About page: “I have NEVER taken a dance class in my life……….I learned from watching (YouTube) videos!!” Shut the front door! All we know is this is no dubstep dilettante.

The Empire Strikes Back Uncut: Full Movie (Official)

The greatest of the six “Star Wars” films so far (we won’t be convinced otherwise) is so beloved by its legion of fans that more than 1,500 of them submitted 15-second reimagined scenes, in the hopes of being featured in a shot-by-shot remake of the film. More than 480 submissions made the cut, but we feel like the real lucky ones, since we get to set aside the two-plus hours to watch it.

Perth Train Party Video 2014!!!

You’re on the train, minding your own business, staring intently at your phone, when some guy in a tuxedo stands up and makes an announcement. Just another mass transit experience, right? It would be if you were in Perth, Australia, on Saturday, August 23. That’s when Peter Sharp decided to spread a little happiness, dance party style. Almost two months later, hundreds of thousands more people are that much happier. Good on ya, Peter.

Glen Campbell - I’m Not Gonna Miss You

Country legend Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. Instead of packing it in, the singer embarked on a farewell tour in 2012. The poignant music video for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” his final song recorded in 2013, spans his five decades-long career and also features home videos. Here’s to you, Mr. Campbell. Now there isn’t a dry eye at Trends HQ.

-- Marc Hertz

Trending This Week: God Only Knows

This week on the Spotlight channel, we fully bugged out over hyperlapses and drone cinema and non-committedly declared 10 cover songs that are (maybe kinda sorta) better than the original.

And here’s what else filled our viral horn of plenty:

CompassionChoices - The Brittany Maynard Fund

29-year-old Brittany Maynard is planning to die next month. This incredibly affecting piece, which documents why she chose the controversial (and not widely available) medically assisted suicide end of life option, made for one of the most viewed and talked about videos of the week.

BBC - God Only Knows

The BBC’s formula for this hit of the week seemed to go as follows: pick a beloved pop classic, take 20-some odd music celebrities–each one more eye-poppingly major than the last–back them up with an 80-piece orchestra, then toss in some whimsical special effects. The result: you’ve got yourself a timeless tribute to ... well, we’re still not exactly sure. But, yeah. Boom.

Anna-Maria Hefele - Polyphonic Overtone Singing

File this one under things you didn’t think were humanly possible. In this viral clip, a young German musician demonstrates overtone singing, a voice technique where one person sings two notes simultaneously. It’s a fairly technical video, but just skin-tingling enough to strike a chord. And strike a chord it did: more than 5 million views in a week is really something to SING about.

Dancing with the Stars - Alfonso & Witney Do The Carlton

With YouTube’s own “It Girl” Bethany Mota in this year’s "Dancing with the Stars" competition, we’ve got to confess we’re Team #MOTOUGH. But that didn’t hold us back from absolutely relishing this exuberant bit of entertainment which sees "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" star Alfonso Ribeiro resurrecting his Carlton dance to the smooth sounds of “It’s Not Unusual.” You won this round, bro.

-- Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week: Football’s Hottest Play Is the “Ugly Kardashian"?

This week at YouTube Trends, we traveled from the heights of Meme Mountain into the depths of Viral Valley. And here are the wonders we saw ….

MaxPreps - Middle School Team Pulls Off “Ugly Kardashian” Trick Play

OK, so we may not be the most sophisticated sports aficionados but we’re all for scrappy plays, scrawny underdogs, and the like. One of the week’s most buzzworthy memes had all that and more, with a middle school team pulling off a fake-out inspired by the iconic pee-wee misfit film "Little Giants." We’re not totally sure what’s going on or why it’s called the “Ugly Kardashian,” but the action-packed one-minute clip cleared 3 million views in as many days. #Sports!

Maroon 5 - Animals

Even though Pharrell dropped an incredibly trippy (and Murakami-produced) video on Tuesday, the week’s big musical kahuna was a controversial Maroon 5 video. A dark and bloody horror short, the band used the song’s carnal lyrics ("Baby, I'm preying on you tonight / Hunt you down eat you alive") to narrate the story of a butcher (Levine) obsessed with a sexy patron (Levine’s real life Victoria’s Secret model wife). It’s racked up an eye-popping 9M views in the three days it’s been up, but not everyone’s a fan: several sexual assault groups have blasted the “dangerous” video for glorifying stalker behavior.

General Electric - Enhance Your Lighting

G.E. had a bright idea: hire comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim to direct the ad for their latest light bulb. The result, starring Jeff Goldblum as an egotistical celebrity named Terry Quattro, is as deliciously bizarro as we dreamed. With over a million views since it went up on Monday, the ad is a viral video in its own right. This *slow clap* goes out to the G.E. marketing department.

The David Letterman Show - Aretha Franklin: “Rolling in the Deep/Ain’t No Mountain”

David Letterman may be signing off late night soon, but he had a big YouTube hit this week with Aretha Franklin’s roof-raising performance. We have just one thing to say about the Queen of Soul’s epic cover of fellow diva Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”; R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

-- Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week on YouTube: The Clouds Part When Beyoncé Sings and Emma Watson Speaks

Here at YouTube Trends HQ, we live every day like it’s a live taping of The Streamys. This week on the Spotlight channel, we spent a lot of time in quiet contemplation of the strangeness of humans with these daredevil stunts, extreme selfies, and unexpected world records (raw onion-eating, parallel parking, and so on).

And here’s what else lit up our eye/brain system:

Beyoncé - “Young Forever/Halo”

Recently, being a fan of the greatest couple in the history of humanity has felt like a rollercoaster ride through a tunnel of mysteries. (Not easy, OK?) But watching this resplendent concert footage makes it all worth it. Was it the imagery of a stadium lit up by warm glow of a million iPhones? The home movie of baby Blue Ivy toddling around in a little Bumbo chair? The celestial opening chords of “Halo”? We don’t know, but we needed a box of Kleenex after watching this. Beyoncé: we can feel your halo, girl.

HeForShe - Emma Watson HeForShe Speech at the United Nations

The last time we thought about Emma Watson, we were probably shouting “‘ermione Granger!” in our best (worst) Cockney drawl. Now 24 years old and the U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, she gave a stunning, stirring speech this week to launch a new gender campaign called #HeForShe. Her honest treatise on feminism also dropped some seriously useful nuggets of wisdom: “In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I've told myself firmly: if not me, who? If not now, when? If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you, I hope those words might be helpful.” Dare we suggest that the humble starlet has a magic touch?

Unbox Therapy - iPhone 6 Bend Test

With iPhone 6 fever at an epic high over the past month, it’s perhaps not surprising the biggest hoss on the range this week was this Unbox Therapy video in which, as advertised, a guy bends an iPhone with his bare hands. If you read the title, you got the gist, but that didn’t stop this clip from getting a whopping 35 million hits (making it the biggest hit of the month). Boi-oi-oi-oing!

KLM - Lost & Found Service

Dutch Airlines KLM racked up almost 5 million views this week on a video that profiles a beagle named Sherlock who trots around the airport finding (and returning?) lost property to unsuspecting travelers. While we were sure this was a gripping piece of cinema verité, it turned out to be a marketing stunt (that little hound is nothing more than an actor). While we're still confused by the brand strategy that sold this through, we can agree that cuteness in all forms is worth celebrating.

-- Claire Stapleton