YouTube has released its annual top trending videos list of 2020, and the list reflects a year dominated by shifts in behavior brought on by the pandemic, civil unrest, and a heated political environment leading up to the US election.
The top trending video of 2020 was Dave Chappelle’s 8:46, a 27-minute stand-up special that was filmed at a socially distanced event in Ohio where the comedian lives. Netflix dropped the surprise special on June 12th, amid ongoing protests dedicated to fighting racism and police brutality around the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The special was praised by critics and other public figures for its honesty about America’s ongoing issues with racism. The title of the special, 8:46, references the length of time Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee pressed on Floyd’s neck.
“More than anything else, it sets the tone for how there was this thing that was happening in culture and in the world, and how people created content that reflected this moment that was happening,” Earnest Pettie, an analyst on YouTube’s culture and trends team, told The Verge. “Viewers swarmed to it.”
That’s true with other videos found on the list as well. The second top trending video of the year is Saturday Night Live’s first debate cold open that focused on the presidential election. The open featured Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump and Jim Carrey as President-elect Joe Biden. Despite the video only being published on YouTube in early October, it quickly became one of the most shared videos, according to Pettie.
Elsewhere, signs of what was happening in other parts of 2020 culture can be found on the list, too. Both Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, two of TikTok’s most popular creators, made the top 10 list for breakout stars on YouTube. Also on the list is Chloe Ting, an exercise influencer who became extremely popular at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States when people were trying to find ways to work out at home. Corpse Husband, a YouTuber who picked up quite a bit of attention after one of his songs went viral on TikTok and he streamed Among Us with some fellow big-name YouTube creators and public figures (AOC, Toast, James Charles), also made the list.
Some of the names are also recognizable to people keeping up with the YouTube community. MrBeast, Jeffree Star, NikkieTutorials, Dude Perfect, and David Dobrik all created some of the year’s top trending videos. What remains unclear from this year’s list is how many people watched those videos — just because a video is counted as a top trending title doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most watched. YouTube’s team wanted to focus on “a variety of ways that people interact” with what they’re watching, Pettie said. Unlike former years, YouTube also doesn’t have any plans to release a Most Viewed list.
“The Top Trending list is an accurate reflection of what people are actually into, and talking about and sharing with each other,” Pettie said. “This is what we feel is an excellent representation of the year.”
The full list of Top Trending 2020 titles can be read below.
TOP TRENDING VIDEOS
1. 8:46 – Dave Chappelle – Netflix is a Joke
2. First Debate Cold Open – Saturday Night Live
3. We Broke Up. – jeffrreestar
4. I Bought The World’s Largest Firework ($600,000) – MrBeast
5. I’m Coming Out. – NikkieTutorials
8. Quarantine Stereotypes – Dude Perfect
9. Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 1 – SomeGoodNews
10. We Can’t Believe This Happened – David Dobrik
TOP BREAKOUT CREATORS
1. Dream (12.5 Million Subscribers)
2. Tiko (5.21 Million Subscribers)
3. Chloe Ting (15.9 Million Subscribers)
4. EddieVR (4.86 Million Subscribers)
5. charli d’amelio (8.32 Million Subscribers)
6. GeorgeNotFound (4.4 Million Subscribers)
7. Dixie D’Amelio (6.58 Million Subscribers)
8. Corpse Husband (4.95 Million Subscribers)
9. SomeGoodNews (2.56 Million Subscribers)
10. Hyram (3.9 Million Subscribers)
1. MrBeast (46.1 Million Subscribers)
2. Dream (12.5 Million Subscribers)
3. ZHC (17.1 Million Subscribers)
4. SSSniperwolf (23.1 Million Subscribers)
5. Tiko (5.21 Million Subscribers)
6. Chloe Ting (15.9 Million Subscribers)
7. JoshDub (8.14 Million Subscribers)
8. The Royalty Family (10.5 Million Subscribers)
9. LazarBeam (17.2 Million Subscribers)
10. James Charles (23.9 Million Subscribers)
1. Future – Life Is Good (Official Music Video) ft. Drake
2. 6IX9INE- GOOBA (Official Music Video)
3. Lil Baby x 42 Dugg – We Paid (Official Video)
4. NLE Choppa – Walk Em Down feat. Roddy Ricch (Official Music Video)
5. Cardi B – WAP feat. Megan Thee Stallion [Official Music Video]
6. DaBaby – ROCKSTAR FT RODDY RICCH [Audio]
7. Roddy Ricch – The Box [Official Music Video]
9. YoungBoy Never Broke Again – Lil Top [Official Music Video]