YouTube's most viral video of 2017 was a singing oyster

"Despacito" trampled all others in number of views, but a Thai man singing in an oyster costume was YouTube's most viral clip.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Joan E. Solsman
3 min read

The time has come for your annual reminder that you're out of touch with global cultural phenomena.


A clip from Thailand singing competition "The Mask Singer" was 2017's most viral video on YouTube. 


It's YouTube's roundup of the top trending videos of the year, and in 2017 a non-US video hit No. 1 on the chart. The honor goes to a clip from a Thai singing competition, showing a man dressed in a full-body oyster suit crooning and rapping a song with a title that loosely translates to "Love you until the world turns into dust."

Rather than a straightforward view-count competition, YouTube's trending ranking is based on a combination of views, shares, comments, likes and other criteria. As the world's largest video site, YouTube's most popular items provide a peek at what captivated the world over the course of the year. 

This year, the most viral clip stems from "The Mask Singer," a celebrity singing competition where the performers wear elaborate masks and costumes to conceal their identities. The concept originated in Korea but has spread to Thailand, Vietnam and China. Clips from the competition were viewed over 3 billion times in total in 2017. The Oyster Mask video from Thailand was the most popular, the first time a Thai video has been the No. 1 viral video on YouTube.

"Despacito," of course, was the blowout winner for pure view count, at 4.46 billion, to become the most viewed video ever. Because music videos are uniformly the most viewed clips on YouTube every year, the company provides a separate ranking of top music videos for the year. 

The lists often coincide with the company's release of YouTube Rewind, a popular annual video that brings together digital stars to act out the year's biggest music, trends and memes. 

Also in the most viral ranking are two clips linked to singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, including a dance choreography video and his appearance on a Carpool Karaoke segment on "The Late Late Show," the source of last year's most viral video. (Disclosure: "The Late Late Show" airs on CBS, CNET's parent company.) Sheeran's official music video for "Shape of You" also ranked No. 2 on the music list. 

Together, the top 10 trending videos have more than 633 million views, 83 million more than last year's list, and were watched for over 40 million hours. 

YouTube's 2017 top trending videos:  

  1. Until We Will Become Dust - Oyster Masked (ตราบธุลีดิน - หน้ากากหอยนางรม) | THE MASK SINGER 2

  2. ED SHEERAN - Shape Of You | Kyle Hanagami Choreography

  3. Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect

  4. Darci Lynne: 12-Year-Old Singing Ventriloquist Gets Golden Buzzer - America's Got Talent 2017

  5. Ed Sheeran Carpool Karaoke

  6. Lady Gaga's FULL Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show | NFL

  7. "INAUGURATION DAY" — A Bad Lip Reading of Donald Trump's Inauguration

  8. history of the entire world, i guess

  9. In a Heartbeat - Animated Short Film

  10. Children interrupt BBC News interview - BBC News

Top music videos

  1. Luis Fonsi - Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee

  2. Ed Sheeran - Shape of You [Official Video]

  3. J Balvin, Willy William - Mi Gente (Official Video)

  4. Maluma - Felices los 4 (Official Video)

  5. Bruno Mars - That's What I Like [Official Video]

  6. Chris Jeday - Ahora Dice (Official Video) ft. J. Balvin, Ozuna, Arcángel

  7. 05. El Amante - Nicky Jam (Video Oficial) (Álbum Fénix)

  8. Jason Derulo - Swalla (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign) (Official Music Video)

  9. DJ Khaled - I'm the One ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne

  10. Enrique Iglesias - SUBEME LA RADIO (Official Video) ft. Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox

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