Nowadays, it doesn’t take much to go viral — yodeling kid, anyone? — but to actually be remembered for longer than a decade is a real endeavor. These 10 viral videos are still racking views today, but where are these people now? From an awful American Idol audition to a young man that just loves Star Wars, we look back at the some of the best viral videos and what the stars are up to now.
His name is Chris Crocker, but you may know him as the “Leave Britney Alone” guy. Back in 2007, Crocker took to YouTube to emotionally express his opinions toward the haters of Britney Spears. That video pulled in 2 million views in a single day, quickly turning Crocker’s world upside down. He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Maury. His newfound fame also gave him a platform to advocate for the LGBTQ community. Crocker is still on social media making hilarious content, and recently released a self-titled album.
Tay Zonday’ Chocolate Rain has been viewed more than 118 million times on YouTube. It’s a song that is recognizable by almost everyone, though, it didn’t become a viral sensation overnight. After he uploaded it in 2007, it took three months and an appearance on Digg.com — aka, the Reddit of the early aughts — for it to officially take off. Once it did, however, Zonday went from being a teaching assistant in Minnesota to a YouTube sensation, one that has appeared on Best Week Ever, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tosh.0, and Maury. Zonday is still working as an actor and singer today, and most recently did voice-over work for an animated series based on the Transformers franchise.
It’s been 11 years since Charlie bit his brother Harry’s finger, but time has done little to curb interest in the 55-second clip. The video features a young Charlie sitting on his brother Harry’s lap. When Charlie decides to bite his brother’s finger, hilarity ensues. “Charlie bit my finger … and it’s still hurting.” This video has been viewed more than 850 million times and has reportedly earned the family more than a million dollars. The boys have obviously grown up, and now live their lives as normal kids do.
When an intruder attacked Antoine Dodson’s sister in the middle of the night, he had more than a few choice words to say when a news reporter showed up at his front door. Better known as the “hide your kids, hide your wife” guy, Dodson’s interview went viral after it was remixed into the Bed Intruder Song by the Gregory Brothers. The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and if you can believe it, eventually went platinum. With the money from the sales of the song, Dodson was able to move his family out of subsidized housing. Now, after a stint in L.A., Dodson has moved back to Arkansas, where he has become a father and substitute teacher.
In 2011, a 13-year-old girl released a music video, and it changed her life forever. That song was called Friday and that girl was Rebecca Black. The video went viral and has now accrued more than 124 million views, leading many of us — whether we like it or not — to sing “got to get down on Friday” at one point or another. Black later tried out for the American singing competition, The Four: Battle for Stardom, and released an album entitled Re/bl.
Jonathon Ware — aka “I like turtles” boy — was only on TV for 10 seconds, yet managed to capture the attention of an entire nation. Nerves kicked in when Ware, dressed up as a zombie, was asked what he thought about his face paint. Like most adolescent boys, he answered in the most logical way possible: “I like turtles.” That video has been viewed more than 60 million times and Jonathon, now 19, and is heading off to college. Though he still gets recognized today, he doesn’t mind reciting the three words that made him famous.
William Hung wasn’t always a household name, but after covering Ricky Martin’s She Bangs on American Idol, he became one overnight. The video of his performance has garnered almost 5 million views since 2004, and though his pipes didn’t get him to the next round, his positive attitude eventually landed him a two-album record deal. Now, William is an inspirational speaker and business coach.
When Sweet Brown’s apartment complex caught fire in 2014, her interview with a local news station ignited the catchphrase, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Afterward, someone created No time for bronchitis, a remix of said interview. That video has been viewed more than 64 million times. Since then, Brown has appeared in TV shows, a Tyler Perry movie, and has gone on to create her own line of T-shirts and barbecue sauces. Her social media accounts have not been updated since 2014, but according to rumors, she still lives in the same apartment complex that made her famous.
The “Numma Numma Dance” is a video that is known around the world and is arguably one of the first viral videos to have ever been conceived. Before lip-syncing was cool, Gary Brolsma pretended to belt O-Zone’s Dragostea Din Tei, becoming an instant meme overnight. Today, the self-described “shy” web designer lives in New Jersey and is busy making music with his band, posting videos on his YouTube channel, and creating “Numa Numa” follow-ups.
When Ghyslain Raza shot a video of himself using a golf ball retriever as a makeshift lightsaber, he never intended the video to be seen by anyone. When the video was found in the basement of his high school and released to the public, Raza’s life changed instantly. Sadly, Raze became a victim of cyberbullying, and later opted for private tutoring. Now, he is speaking out against cyberbullying, using his story as an example of how bad it can get. He also got his law degree and still resides in Canada.
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