See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
10. I Forgot My Phone
Most viral videos are meant to transport us away from the banality of our normal lives. But Charlene deGuzman’s short film was such a stark reflection of ourselves that we simply couldn’t look away. Her two-minute short film “I Forgot My Phone” highlights typical, everyday scenarios — from brunch with friends to a morning jog to a rock concert, events that are now overrun with Instagram photos and status updates. The filmmaker herself takes the starring role, making us feel completely guilty about our constant phone use, illustrating how we’re so busy recording what we’re doing that we miss the glory of the moment itself. It’s depressing if only because it’s completely on point — especially if you’re reading this on your phone right now.
9. Epic Georgia Tech Convocation Speech
Ah, remember that first day of college? Surely it was a day rife with boring speeches from balding professors and droning administrators. Sophomore Nick Selby seemed like just another forgettable face for the incoming Georgia Tech freshman class this year — until his soundtrack started playing. Bolstered by the orchestral score from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Selby dropped a quote from Sir Isaac Newton and told students to dream big — “If you want to build the Ironman suit, you’re at Georgia Tech… You can do that!” — as the music swelled to a crescendo. By the end of it, he was screaming at the top of his lungs, his arms outstretched to the crowd, breathless. Laughs, applause and more than a few stunned faces cheered him, as his heart rate returned to normal.
8. Jeff Gordon Test Drive
You shouldn’t believe anything on the Internet, but we really wanted to believe that NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon could show up at a random Michigan car dealership and completely pull one over on a friendly salesman. Gordon — assuming the persona of Mike the frumpy family man — starts off tepidly in the Chevy Camaro, learning that the car had some oomph to it. But out on the open road he puts pedal to the metal like most of us only dream of, scaring the pants off of the sweater-clad salesman Steve, leading to some four-letter gems and screams akin to those of a middle-school girl. Though we eventually pulled the emergency brake and faced the facts — that the video came with a Pepsi MAX sponsorship and a really bad goatee on Jeff Gordon that wouldn’t even fool your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving — it was still a thrilling ride while the gag lasted. Though Steve probably wouldn’t agree.
7. Goats Screaming Like Humans to Taylor Swift, Etc.
There’s something about anthropomorphic animals that’s long enraptured us. But when we heard goats yelling like humans back in February of this year, we were hooked. And then we remixed them with Taylor Swift. After all, it was quite a sound experiment for Tay-Tay to try dubstup on last year’s single “I Knew You Were Trouble” — but if the synthesizers sounded out of place, then the goats screaming like humans wouldn’t be too outlandish. It was a perfect, organic mashup of two beloved Internet phenomena.
6. Charles Ramsey, Cleveland Hero, Who Just Wanted McDonalds
In the aftermath of the unprecedented rescue of three captive women from a Cleveland house after they’d been missing for more than a decade, one man who played a key role clearly had food on his brain. One key food, to be exact: a Big Mac. Charles Ramsey, who lived across the street from kidnapper Ariel Castro, gave a very candid interview to a local news reporter about how he managed the rescue, complete with a precise account of what he was eating at the time: “I heard screamin’. I’m eating my McDonalds. I come outside, I see this girl going nuts trying to get out of her house, so I go on the porch and she says help me get out, I’ve been here a long time.” Within just a few hours of the interview airing on local Cleveland station WEWS, McDonalds issued a very public thank-you tweet to Ramsey, ending with “We’ll be in touch.” They later offered him free burgers for life.
5. Meteorite Over Russia
Thank you, Russia, for your dashboard camera obsession–otherwise we might not have a gasp-inspiring shot of a meteor entering the earth’s atmosphere and streaking across the morning sky. The space rock, caught nonchalantly by a driver speeding down a highway in Chelyabinsk, brought with it a flash brighter than the sun itself, not to forget the window-shattering crash.
4. Kai, the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
With a hearty “smash, smash, sa-mash!” Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker plowed down the expectation that local news is a yawn-worthy escapade. Kai, really a 20-something free spirit named Caleb McGillvary, was seemingly the hero in a bizarre incident in Fresno, Calif. when the driver with whom he was hitchhiking went into a bizarre rant about Jesus, proceeding to slam his car into a power company truck and attack a nearby woman. Kai saved the day when he took his hatchet to the man’s head, subduing him –- and then giving a rambling, exuberant interview to local TV station KMPH. It wasn’t all viral glory for Kai, though; Kai was later arrested in May on suspicion of murdering a New Jersey lawyer — he was indicted for the crime in November and could face live in prison.
3. ‘Space Oddity’ Sung by Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Commander Chris Hadfield won over our space-loving hearts with his stunning photos and fascinating tweets from the International Space Station. But –- scientific research and essential space station repairs aside –- his finest work as he orbited Earth at 17,500 miles an hour was without a doubt his rendition of David Bowie’s 1969 track “Space Oddity.” It was the capstone on his mission that brought millions of Earth-bound space lovers seemingly into orbit with him, believed to be the first music video ever filmed in space.
2. What Does the Fox Say
The lyrics sound like a children’s song – “Dog goes woof, cat goes meow” — but the rather dark imagery that follows would suggest anything but. The Norwegian comedian duo Ylvis posed a pivotal question to us this year, one that many of us had never considered before: What does the fox say? The song, released in September, started as a half-hearted promo for their show’s new season but morphed into one of the catchiest songs of the year.
1. Gentleman by Psy
Think lightning can’t strike twice? South Korean pop star Psy proved he was a rainmaker when he debuted “Gentleman” in April, his much-awaited follow-up to 2012’s most-viral video, “Gangnam Style.” While nowhere close to his original hit in terms of catchiness and choreography– the signature hip-swinging move was no invisible horse dance –- Psy proved he wasn’t a one-trick pony when “Gentleman” broke all kinds of records right out of the gate, becoming the most viewed video online in a single day.
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