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31 Days Of Holiday Awesome: The Biggest Viral Challenges Of 2016


First, there was planking, then there were ice buckets and then there was cinnamon. But, 2016 hasn’t been short of its own viral and widespread internet challenges, which involved everything from water bottles to Rae Sremmurd. Here, we recap some of the totally random, funny and sometimes gross challenges that took over the Internet this year.

Water Bottle Toss Challenge

This challenge involves tossing water bottles and having them land perfectly upright. It was started by a high school student in North Carolina, who flipped a water bottle for his talent show performance and blew everyone’s minds.

The video went viral and when people quickly started one-upping the original toss, things got wild.

Parents and teachers started complaining about the noise the bottles would make as kids practiced in class and at home. Schools banned it. Kids got detention. There was discourse about which water bottles were best to use and the complex physics behind the trick. Everyone from Good Housekeeping to The New York Times were reporting on it—then, one guy did the water bottle toss to end all water bottle tosses:

100 Layers Of Makeup Challenge

The 100 layers of makeup craze was mostly confined to YouTube vloggers, but it was still beautiful chaos that the world caught onto. It started with a YouTuber known as Jeely who uploaded a video of her applying 100 layers of foundation, and eventually other vloggers joined in with way too many coats of other makeup.

JennaMarbles ended it by taking it to the boss level and doing 100 layers of foundation, fake lashes, lipstick, and fake tan. YIKES.

Just looking at these videos’ thumbnails have us reaching for our deep-cleansing pore scrubs. Shudder.

So Gone Challenge

The So Gone challenge was one that a lot of celebrities took part in. To complete it, you have to freestyle about something you love over the instrumental for “So Gone” by Monica. It was popularized by Chance The Rapper, whose So Gone video was retweeted over 250,000 times:

Other awesome participants include Keke Palmer and these friends, who later earned a shout-out from Monica herself:

Monica ended the challenge in the best way possible: by posting her own, alongside Missy Elliot, who wrote the original song. So good.

Running Man Challenge

The Running Man challenge is credited to two teens who posted a video of them doing a close-armed version of the Running Man dance popularized by Janet Jackson in the 80s. They were dancing along to the 1995 song “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs—and, trust us, you’ll know it when you hear it.

The challenge was most popular among NBA, MLB and NFL athletes.

The two guys who were behind the challenge going viral eventually ended up on the Ellen Show, which is fitting considering how much Ellen loves dancing! Watch till the end for a classic Ellen surprise, and to see the originators do the dance for the Ellen audience.

Dub Challenge

Everyone loves an underdog story. The Dub Challenge was simple, but reaped some hilarious results: post a picture of you in the past and one of you now side by side to celebrate how much hotter you are today, be it thanks to puberty, weight loss or muscle gain. Some celebs even joined in for some good ol’ fashioned, self-deprecating fun.

In the words of Chaka Khan, love yourself no matter what! We’re totally here for people celebrating growth and meeting their goals.

Hot Pepper Challenge

But we’re not here for this. For this challenge, you must eat a really hot pepper—popular choices include the ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper—and upload your reaction to the internet. It looks seriously painful and a guy literally burned a whole in his throat trying it, so… let’s leave the food challenges in 2016, shall we? We’re going to share just one video that will sum up the entire challenge for you. Check it out below, and be prepared for some screaming. And crying. And straight-up vomiting. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Mannequin Challenge

Arguably the most widespread and popular challenge of 2016, the Mannequin Challenge propelled the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it their first number one single. The Mannequin Challenge is believed to be the work of some high school students from Florida, and, to participate, you must stand absolutely still while “Black Beatles” plays in the background. Here are our favourites, including the OG challenge, as well as the one that LeBron James did with Michelle Obama:

(White) Beatle Paul McCartney posted his own challenge, which was a fantastic surprise and honestly pretty cool.

Rae Sremmurd themselves ended the challenge by posting one of them doing the challenge with their hype concert crowd.

From the Running Man Challenge originators winning $10K on Ellen to FLOTUS having some fun with the Mannequin Challenge, it’s clear that viral challenges are doing more than just cycling through our news feeds. While they are definitely ephemeral, they’re also definitely entertaining.

What was your favourite viral challenge? 2017 is sure to be full of even wilder ones, and we’re excited—but please, enough with the hot peppers.