Trending This Week on YouTube: RIP Robin Williams

This week, when we weren’t mourning a legendary comedian, pondering the meaning of the supermoon, or weathering sympathy chills for #IceBucketChallenge competitors, we were dutifully seeking our fill of trending vid. On the Spotlight channel, we covered the inescapably catchy phenomenon of “Rude!” covers and highlighted some amazing coming out stories.
And here’s what else the world was watching:

Mashable - The Best Robin Williams Moments

Mork, Genie, Mrs. Doubtfire, Mr. Keating …. in mourning the loss of the incomparable comedic genius this week, it felt the world was also paying tribute to their favorite Williams characters–each one of which seems to hold its own incredible nostalgic weight. Mashable’s clip compilation–posted just after the news broke–seems a fitting homage to the master. O Captain, our captain: you’ll be greatly missed.

Sky Williams - A Message to the Depressed

The conversation around Robin Williams’ death prompted comedian Sky Williams to post this video: a powerful, heartfelt monologue about depression. It went viral in a flash and was one of the most-shared videos of the week. Watch it, hear it, and pass it along.

Thomas Leveritt - How the Sun Sees You

What does your face look like under ultraviolet light? Photographer Thomas Leveritt asked people on the street in Brooklyn to check out what they look like under ultraviolet, exposing sun damage that’s not yet on the surface. The result is unsurprisingly completely spooky and will have you *finally* heeding the eternal mom advice: WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Bradley Friesen - Paul Bissonnette ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge might have gone viral this week, but it also went glacial, thanks to Paul Bissonnette. The pro hockey player took the challenge to the next level with a video that involves a helicopter, glacier water, and a full production crew. Your move, LeBron.

-- Claire Stapleton

#IceBucketChallenge on the Rise

Over the past week, thousands of videos have been posted across social media platforms of the "Ice Bucket Challenge," a charity video trend primarily benefiting ALS research. "ALS"--short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis--was one of the top rising searches on Google Sunday thanks, in part, to clips posted by everyone from casual video creators to celebrities and athletes, all of whom are dumping buckets of ice on their heads for a cause.

In the past week, USC football coach Steve Sarkisian, jam band O.A.R., and NFL quarterback Matt Ryan were among those who joined in. The most popular recent video comes from "The Fault in Our Stars" actor Ansel Egort. Here's a quick playlist of some of the most popular #IceBucketChallenge videos on YouTube:

Silly? Yes, maybe. But the challenge has now reportedly resulted in a donations boon for the ALS Association.

And things are still taking off. As the below chart indicates, upload activity around this trend really just started to take off late last week and into the weekend:

Find out more about the challenge here.

-- Kevin Allocca

Trending This Week on YouTube: Apparently Kid, Pancakes, and Trombone-Loving Cattle

The sun is shining, the birds (or in our case here at YT Trends HQ, pigeons) are chirping (or squawking greedily), and another set of sweet summer vids is swinging around the bend.

This week on the Spotlight channel, we saluted President Obama’s greatest viral hits on his birthday, got into gaming & the LGBT community, and chronicled the hottest lyric vids of the year.

And here are four other things the YouTube community was buzzing about:

WNEP-TV - “Apparently This Kid Is Awesome, Steals the Show During Interview”

No “apparently” about it, this little dude won the Internet this week. While being interviewed by a local news channel, Noah Ritter–heretofore to be known as “Apparently Kid”–delivered a rambling response in what we can only describe as an old-timey newscaster style. It’s cute, it’s idiosyncratic, it’s an instant YouTube classic (and it clocked in at more than 8 million views in three days). In an appearance on "The Today Show" on Wednesday, Ritter made a shocking confession: he knows neither the definition nor the spelling of the word “apparently.”

Ed Sheeran - Don’t

Speaking of lovable gingers, it’s the year of Ed Sheeran (or “Shyearan,” if you will). But don’t let the 2014 “Best New Artist” Grammy nod fool you: he’s been around forever in Internet-years. He launched his YouTube channel on August 8, 2006 (eight years ago to the day!), and had hundreds of millions of views before he rocketed to major global name recognition with his Taylor Swift collabo. With the release of a sophomore album co-produced by Pharrell and Rick Rubin, it’s a big moment for the unlikely heartthrob: he’s had almost 200 million views on his YouTube channel so far in ‘14, and has a pile more coming with the launch this week of a dance-tastic video for “Don’t.”

Farmer Derek Klingenberg - Serenading the Cattle With My Trombone

In the words of the incomparable C+C Music Factory, let the music moooooooove you. In this clip, a farmhand from Peabody, Kansas, summons a herd of cattle with a trombone cover of Lorde’s “Royals.” Skip to minute one to see them gather on the hilltop, then full-on gallop toward the sounds of the indie hit. After a little digging, it turns out said cowhand is no stranger to the camera: he’s got a long history of hamming it up on YouTube with farmyard parodies like “What Does the Farmer Say?”

Munchies - How to Make the Fluffiest Pancakes

We send you into the weekend with a finger-licking “how to.” Cooking on YouTube is growing fast: food channel subscriptions have grown almost 300 percent over the past year, and views of recipe content are up 60 percent. One of the most popular cooking videos of the week comes from Vice’s Munchies channel, which features famous chefs making their favorite dishes. We liked the juxtaposition of an intimidating-looking gentleman (chef Matty Matheson), and the coziest cuisine of all: fluffy pancakes. TGIF!

-- Claire Stapleton

Trending This Week: Existential Animals, Heady Kids, and Melting Icebergs

Sometimes we come in on Mondays, fire up our Viral Video Machine,™ and think: will the week yield any fresh memes? But an hour will go by and ... boom, a trailer breaks. A music vid pops. And then, there it is: something we never saw coming, yet suddenly can’t imagine life without. A LOL is born.

This week on the Spotlight channel, we spotlighted Unlocking the Truth, a Brooklyn-based metal band who just signed a major record deal (and yeah, they’re 12). We also rounded up the Best Interviews Ever and got into the song of the summer game with these cheeky “Problem” covers.

And here’s what else we spotted trawling the streets of Meme City USA:

Rebecca Ehalt - Dog passes out from overwhelming joy

If you read the title, you’ve got the gist. But that didn’t stop the cellphone-shot clip from getting a whopping 30 million hits this week. That vaults the excitable schnauzer into the top 20 most-viewed videos of the year to date (and if you took out the music videos, it’d be straight up the most-viewed video of the year--we’ll give you a second to ponder the enormity of that). Look, it’s not a Caravaggio, but there is something about the universal delight in watching a cute animal do a cute thing that is, in its own way, a work of art.

Maddie & Tae - Girl in a Country Song

“Well shakin’ my moneymaker ain’t never made me a diiiime …” The twangy breakout hit from a brand-new country duo was our not-so-guilty pleasure of the week. Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye took the “bro country” script, flipped it, and reversed it, with a witty video that makes a point about sexism in country music (watch your back, Blake Shelton). M & T, consider yourselves cordially invited to our next tailgate/backyard BBQ/dueling fiddles competition.

Wanda Stead - Iceberg collapse

Shiver me literal timbers. For Wanda Stead and her husband, a casual boat ride through the Bay of Exploits in Newfoundland, Canada, turned calamitous when they witnessed--and captured--a massive collapse of an arch-shaped iceberg. The short clip packs a wallop about what’s happening on the planet: warmer winters in Antarctica mean ice sheets are colliding with the ocean floor more often, and bringing big ramifications for the entire ecosystem. Yeah, Wanda, we’d scream too.

Alex Miller - Sadie doesn’t want her brother to grow up

Another UGC miracle this week shows a 5-year-old having a heady meltdown over the meaning of life, death, and time--you know, kid stuff! The little brother gives a brilliant performance: his perfectly timed smile makes for a stunning dénouement. Such a wise little buddha! In the words of commenter Michael Warbux: “You know the best part about this video? EVERYTHING!” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

-- Claire Stapleton