YouTube Rewind 2013, the online video site’s list of “the top 10 videos that shook up 2013 and dominated the conversation,” is lead by two Norwegian videos that went viral in a big way this year. Ylvis’s music video“The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” was the year’s most-watched video on the site, with 279,243,083 views and counting. Behind it at No. 2 is a video of Norwegian army conscripts performing the “Harlem Shake,” with 95,868,099 views as of this writing.
Ylvis is a Norwegian comedy duo consisting of brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker. They recorded the song and video “The Fox” as a promo for the third season of their talk show, “I kveld med Ylvis” (“Tonight with Ylvis”). It soon began racking up hits on YouTube and ultimately reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The duo, which signed a contract with Warner Music before they started the U.S. promotion, will continue with their talk show in Norway. “I kveld med Ylvis” airs twice per week on Norwegian broadcast channel TV Norge.
The“Harlem Shake” broke out as an internet meme in early 2013, with tens of thousands of people uploading their own versions of the comedy dance number to YouTube. The version that gained the most traction was performed by a group of Norwegian army conscripts.
“2013 was a big year internationally for Norwegian culture. On one hand, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch was celebrated around the globe. On the other, a man in his pajamas making animal noises was the world’s most popular video. So I think we covered all the bases. It will be interesting to see what Norway comes up with as a second act in 2014,” said Linken Nymann Berryman, Counselor, Press and Culture, at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C.