Over the years, YouTube has catapulted many an unknown face to YouTube fame, from Justin Bieber to Antoine Dodson, the Numa Numa guy and more. This year has been no exception, and we’ve put together a list of the top 10 YouTube-made stars of 2011. The list includes some serious talent, as well as a few people that achieved YouTube fame for some not-so-nice reasons. Who is your favorite YouTube-made star of 2011?
The first big YouTube sensation of 2011 was Ted Williams—”The Homeless Man With The Golden Voice.” At the beginning of the year, Williams had his life changed when a videographer for the Columbus Dispatch uploaded a video of his amazing radio voice. Going viral took its toll on Williams, who was in and out of rehab. According to Wikipedia, Ted Williams is now living in Dublin, Ohio where he has recently joined New England Cable News as the cable channel’s official voice.
Jorge and Alexa Narvaez
A video of Jorge Narvaez and his daughter Alexa singing ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros that was uploaded on December 31, 2010 also went viral at the beginning of this year. Millions of people around the globe watched this adorable singing duo. Shortly after they went viral they appeared on The Ellen Show and throughout the year they have uploaded a number of covers, from Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ to ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes, for a total of over 66 million views.
The Mall Fountain Faller
January 2011 was a big month for viral videos. Also rising to viral fame in January was Cathy A. Cruz Marrero—the woman that was caught on security cam falling into a fountain while texting. Marrero threatened to sue the mall, but seemed to back off and fade out once it was revealed that she was also in the middle of a trial because she allegedly used a coworker’s credit cards to make more than $5,000 in purchases at stores in the mall where she fell in the fountain.
In February Lady Gaga released the first single from her new album—‘Born This Way.’ Covers started pouring into YouTube, but one singer stood out from the crowd—Maria Aragon. Maria’s video has been viewed over 45 million times and she was #8 on YouTube’s list of most-viewed videos in 2011. She even got the chance to perform live on stage with Lady Gaga and starred in a TV campaign for the Gap this holiday season.
Shortly after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace went viral with a racist rant. Just like Cathy A. Cruz Marrero’s fountain snafu, going viral did not serve Alexandra well. Death threats persuaded her to leave school and a barrage of anti-Alexandra parodies flooded YouTube. On a brighter note, a UCLA-based Chinese delivery named itself in her honor.
Rebecca Black needs no introduction. She went viral with her song ‘Friday’ back in March and it’s been all uphill from there. Although she went viral because her song was so bad, she has made the most of it and her video was the number 1 most-viewed YouTube video of 2011!
This Spring, couple Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan (aka Karmin) went viral with a cover of Chris Brown’s ‘Look At Me Know’ that clocked in at the #6 most-viewed video of the year, with over 51 million views so far. Since they went viral they’ve signed a record deal, are working on their debut studio album and have appeared all over the place, from The Ellen Show to a performance with The Roots.
Cara Hartmann (aka Debbie The Crying Cat Girl)
Cara Hartmann was the viral hit of the summer. Her video ‘eHarmony Video Bio’ racked up the views and inspired a barrage of parodies. According to a new video that hit YouTube yesterday we can expect a lot more from Cara in 2012.
Sophia Grace Brownlee
Last but not least, little 8-year old Sophia Grace Brownlee and her cousin Rosie went viral back in September when Sophia Grace did a cover of Nicki Minaj’s ‘Super Bass.’ Not only did Sophia Grace get to meet her idol Nicki Minaj on The Ellen Show, but she also interviewed stars on the red carpet at the American Music Awards and all of the big pop stars knew who she was too!
Happy New Years, folks! We can’t wait to see who catapults to viral fame on YouTube in 2012!
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.