By Max Godnick
With just a few weeks left in the year, Cheddar is taking a look at the best and worst of what 2018 had to offer.
The internet's attention span was shorter than ever this year, with new memes, viral moments, and trending stories dominating feeds on social media every day. Giant cows invaded, Johnny got caught eating sugar to the tune of over one billion views on YouTube, and Bradley Cooper just wanted to get one last look at us. All it took was a Twitter or Instagram account to engage in a year's worth of bizarre buzz-worthy content.
Here are our favorites.
- Yodel Boy
Cardi who? Yodel boy was the breakout artist of 2018. In March, the then-11-year-old Mason Ramsey turned an Illinois Walmart into his personal concert venue, with an impromptu performance of Hank Williams' "The Lovesick Blues." The earworm quickly went viral after Ramsey's grandparents posted the video on Instagram. Appearances on "Ellen," the Coachella mainstage, the Grand Ole Opry, and the top of the Billboard charts quickly followed. Now, America's most unlikely country star has deals with Big Loud Records and Atlantic Records and even scored a $15,000 scholarship courtesy of the store that made him famous ー red bow tie, cowboy boots, and all.
- In My Feelings
Kiki might not love Drake, but the internet definitely does. The rapper just scored the most nominations at the Grammy Awards, tied with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar, but his biggest victory of 2018 was the creation of the "In My Feelings" Challenge ー a viral dance craze spawned by his single of the same name. Participating was simple ー just film yourself hopping out of a moving car and performing the rudimentary choreography along the way. But, the craze led to more than a few safety issues, with some dancers injuring themselves during the roadside displays. Soon Egypt warned that anyone caught obstructing traffic while doing the challenge would face up to a year of jail time. Traffic court would never be the same.
- The Tide Pod Challenge
Let's just get this out of the way, Tide Pods, the pre-packaged packets of liquid laundry detergent, are not edible. But that didn't stop hordes of people from posting videos of themselves biting into the household staples, much to the alarm of poison control centers across the country. Tide launched the colorful product in 2012, and a 2015 piece in the Onion acknowledged its appetizing aesthetic. But the trend didn't go viral until January of this year, when the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported a significant uptick in intentional exposure to the toxins. Tide's parent company, Procter & Gamble, was forced to warn that "laundry packs are made to clean clothes" and not to be eaten ー just in case that wasn't clear enough already.
- Yanny or Laurel?
First there was The Dress ー which captured the world's attention in 2015 as millions debated whether its true colors were white and gold or blue and black. But, 2018 saw the audio version of a similar phenomenon play out, when a clip of a disembodied male voice left the world divided about whether he was saying "Yanny" or "Laurel." Even The White House got in on the debate, posting a video in which everyone from Kellyanne Conway to President Trump, himself, gave their take on the polarizing issue. In the end ー both sides were proven correct. Comprehension of the word depended on which part of the frequency range a listener was paying attention to. But if you ask me, it was totally "Laurel."
- They Did Surgery on a Grape
Ok, we're biased. Cheddar accidentally created the most confounding meme of the year when a line from one of our Facebook videos went viral earlier this month. The video, which was written and produced by this author, featured impressive footage of medical researchers (also known as "they") testing the Da Vinci Surgical System on a grape. Over a year and a half after Cheddar posted the original video, social media took note when screenshots of the line became briefly ubiquitous, with the six words repeated over and over again, playing redundancy for laughs. The meme's relevance is already a thing of the past, but the experience proves it's truly impossible to predict what might go viral in any given year.
Read all the 2018 Cheddar Awards here.