From pint-sized pop stars to charging wildebeests and over-emotional daters, YouTube is a veritable hotbed of the bizarre and unexpected. With a virtual audience of millions forever on standby, there's just no telling what will go nuclear. Below, we've selected our favourite viral videos of 2011, starring the mischievous Fenton and a groove-tastic royal family, among others. They've each clocked up thousands of views on the web, but which will make you laugh, cry, or cringe with horror? Read on to find out...
Warning: some videos contain strong language
1. The Bad Ass Honey Badger
Soothing soundtracks and calm, neutral narration are the tried and tested formula of nature documentaries - but not when Randall is in charge. His camp and biting commentary of the "nastyass" honey badger who "really doesn't give a sh*t" created a storm on YouTube, with a line of Honey Badger doll and t-shirts later released to cash in on its success. Just don't be fooled by the classical music...
2. The Royal Wedding Spoof
T-Mobile made the most of Royal Wedding mania back in April, using a handful of lookalikes and East 17 hit House of Love to create this genius spoof. More than 24 million of us tuned in to see Her Majesty and co. rock their way down the wedding aisle in style. Groovy.
3. The Golden-Voiced Homeless Man
A local reporter from the Columbus Dispatch unearthed the honey-toned baritone of homeless man Ted Williams, in this piece of pure YouTube gold. Few could resist the down-on-his-luck story that went with the video - Ted originally trained to be a broadcaster before drink and drugs intervened - and as the online hits rocked, so did offers of work and a house. Sadly, it wasn't to last with Ted returning to rehab several times this year.
4. Jack Sparrow (Feat. Michael Bolton)
Saturday Night Live's digital shorts are no stranger to the YouTube effect, but this skit sent hits into the stratosphere - as well as breathing new life into the career of one eyeliner-clad 90s star. See what happens when Michael Bolton records a song about his favourite movies (you won't be disappointed).
5. Fenton The Dog
Few could have predicted the sensation caused by this simple - if hilarious - footage of a man haplessly commanding his Labrador dog "Fenton" in London's Richmond Park. Shot by a passerby on a mobile phone, the improbably funny clip features a well-spoken man frantically calling at Fenton - who in turn completely ignores him as he races at a herd of deer and causes a stampede. Comedy magic...
6. Super Bass By Sophie Grace Brownlee
When tiara-toting duo Sophia Grace Brownlee, eight, and her five-year-old cousin Rosie Grace McClelland, recorded this high-energy version of Nicki Minaj's hit Super Bass, the internet went wild. Their rigorous rendition won them armies of virtual fans - as well as a primetime spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
7. Rebecca Black's Friday
Yes, kids and YouTube can be a potent combination - something 13-year-old Rebecca Black found to her detriment after her annoyingly catchy hit Friday became the most "disliked" video ever on the channel. The song's oddly compulsive lyrics ("Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday / Today it is Friday, Friday") and the fact that her mum paid $4,000 to have it produced fuelled the fire; but with a worldwide platform and two more singles to date, Rebecca is the last one laughing.
8. Anderson Cooper Gets The Giggles
Presenters losing it on air always makes for classic viewing, so little wonder this clip of Anderson Cooper giggling uncontrollably set youTube alight. The fact that sometime war correspondent Cooper is laughing over Gérard Depardieu's infamous pee-gate incident makes it even more hilarious, as does the undeniably girly timbre of his giggle...
9. Charging Antelope Floors Cyclist
No viral video list would be complete without a "glad-it-wasn't-me" moment of slapstick/pure pain. And that sentiment couldn't be more clearly expressed than in this flinch-worthy footage of a red hartebeest charging full pelt into a mountain cyclist in the South African bush. Those who care will be glad to know the victim was ok - after a short spell in hospital. YouTube viewers, meanwhile, were delighted at the drama.
10. I Can't Hug Every Cat!
Last but not least, it's Debbie the eHarmony girl, who uses her first attempt at a video dating blog to advertise her fervent love of cats. Debbie loves cats - every kind of cat - so much so, she feels rather emotional about it. Her tearful dedication to the feline population spawned millions of hits online, as well as a series of take-off sequels. We don't ever know whether she found a date...