Updated 20:52 PM PHT Thu, December 8, 2016
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Going on YouTube is almost like getting sucked into a black hole of endless visual stimuli, with its endless hours of entertainment content. Any internet user would be familiar with the feeling. Now, the biggest online video platform in the world has handpicked the most viral videos, and combined them all in one massive mashup.
Behold YouTube Rewind. As part of its annual tradition, YouTube has just released its grand recap and tribute video for 2016, featuring this year’s top trending content. Under seven minutes, the video highlights the most viral songs, memes, video games, and content creators on the site, all over the world.
The Rewind is often designed to be the grandest extravaganza of all the videos on the platform, with its star-studded cast of the most viewed and subscribed channels, the all-encompassing remix of top song hits, and not to mention the overall high-budget production. It spans across the whole spectrum of the different kinds of content that people consume, with a balance of exposure among music, memes, sports and e-sports, politics, and the miscellaneous (which often ventures into the weird videos category).
Respectively, the top globally trending videos of 2016 include Pikotaro’s “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” (PPAP) — a song and meme in one — content creator Dude Perfect’s rendition of the water bottle flip, Nike Football's commercial starring Cristiano Ronaldo, an episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight where he talks about Donald Trump, and a video revealing the inside of a rattlesnake rattle from the channel What’s Inside?
The number one globally trending video for this year is an episode of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Adele, which is a sort of combination of almost all content genres, music and comedy being the most obvious. A simple premise but a clever hit nonetheless, Corden’s show is a play on the usual onstage late night live performance, blurring the boundaries between host and performer, and later on, audience, with its half-scripted format. Apparently, people really do like watching celebrities doing normal stuff and being normal people, which in this case, involves just driving around while singing along to hit songs.
In line with Rewind, YouTube has also arranged the top trending videos by country. The top 10 turnout for the Philippines is largely different from the global list, and says a lot about what we watch and how we watch it versus the rest of the world.
The trending results are traditionally divided into two playlists — music and non-music. Even so, with the Philippines being a musically obsessed country, the latter list is still dominated by music-related content, such as audition clips from The Voice Kids Philippines and Pilipinas Got Talent, dance and Zumba videos, plus lengthy compilations of local children’s songs and nursery rhymes. Topping the list is PPAP, while in the 10th spot is the wedding video of Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna, complete with a love song by indie pop artist Reese Lansangan playing in the background.
This goes to show that Filipinos love their music and their celebrities like everyone else. But looking at the music playlist as well shows that the magic formula of a viral video includes a celebrity couple, a kilig factor, and a hit song in the background, or at least the makings of one. And it has to be either an acoustic love song or something danceable, just like James Reid’s official music video — top six on the list — for his pop R&B track, “Randomatic,” which features clips of his romantic moments with girlfriend Nadine Lustre. On the same list, the official lyric video for Reid and Lustre’s “This Time” bags the 8th spot. Not only do Filipinos love JaDine, but they also like singing to them.
For some reason, we also have a penchant for song covers especially if they are acoustic. Number 2 on the list is a cover of “Secret Love Song” by Going Bulilit’s Kristel Fulgar and CJ Navato. And sometimes, we give way to lesser known singers, such as Ysabelle Cuevas who did an acoustic cover of “Tuloy Pa Rin” by Neocolours, made famous by the McDonald’s commercial. In this music playlist, it’s understandable that the top 1 spot is occupied by The Chainsmokers’ lyric video for “Closer,” but the fact that the remaining nine are all Pinoy-made and dominated by original songs is something that can be celebrated.
Despite the advancement of our watching habits, from television to the internet, the things that most Filipinos watch on YouTube are still reflective of our attachment to T.V. shows, especially teleseryes. People use the platform for reruns of soap operas and talent shows, and more celebrity couple videos, to reinforce the kilig that they first felt on T.V. YouTube then becomes an alternative idiot box, a second T.V. to keep our vicious cycle of entertainment addiction going. To boot, the bombardment of stimuli is much stronger and more immediate, because while you’re waiting for that teleserye rerun to load, you can open a new tab to watch funny pet videos.
YouTube may have permanently ingrained itself in our pop culture consciousness, at least for the many Filipinos who use it. But like the users who have posted negative comments on the global YouTube Rewind, citing a lack of “more deserving” content, one may question these trending lists as a generalization of what the Philippine population (or the global population, for that matter) consumes online. After all, YouTube is but a mere slice of internet pop culture, and as masters of social media, we don’t just question, we transcend it.