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From Kolavari to Kiki: Top 5 Music Challenges that Drove the Internet Crazy

Remember the Harlem Shake and the Running Man Challenge?

Saranya Subramanian Aug 02, 2018

BTS' J-Hope [left] doing the 'Kiki Challenge' and Dhanush performing "Kolaveri Di."

We’re well nestled into 2018, and just when we began getting cozy in this year’s fads and fashions, the latest social media sensation threw us off — the #KikiChallenge, also known as the #InMyFeelingsChallenge or the #ShiggyChallenge. And just when you think you’ve seen every version imaginable, new ones pop up everyday, like this one of Mumbai cabbies dancing to it and K-pop star J-Hope’s ultra-viral version:

While this challenge, with its multiple titles and catchy beats, has become an overnight phenomenon, we’ve seen this movie before. Here is a throwback to some of the greatest viral music videos that inspired people from different parts of the world to join in on the beat:

The Harlem Shake

The year 2013 began with a bang with American EDM producer Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” which became an Internet earworm. In no time, everyone was recreating the video with their own dance moves and interpretations, using a 30 second clip from the original. Starting with a 15 second intro, a bass drop followed by 15 seconds of bass, and culminating with a lion roar, the “Harlem Shake” was, at the end of the day, something fun to do. It didn’t matter if you were a kid or an adult, all you needed was a successful shake was a single camera and a room of people ready to go wild.

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This 2016 viral trend called for people to first stand still — as still as mannequins — and then go wild when the bass dropped on Rae Sremmurd “Black Beatles.” What seemed to be just one short video in November made by high school students became an overnight sensation, and before we knew it, the #MannequinChallenge was being replicated by musicians, politicians, athletes and regular folks. Some of the most shared videos were made by Adele, Paul McCartney, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and the Swiss Army

The Running Man Challenge

In the summer of 2016, two American teenagers, Kevin Vincent and Jerry Hall, uploaded a video of themselves doing the ”˜Running Man’ (a dance step) to “My Boo” a Nineties hip-hop hit by Ghost Town DJs. The video started get rabid shares online but things really hit the roof when two basketball players from the University of Maryland did the Running Man to the same song, thus creating the #RunningManChallenge. Owing to the resounding success of the trend, teenager duo even went on to feature on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. The beauty of this particular challenge was its unmistakable nostalgic element””a dance track got a fresh lease of life 20 years later through hashtags and viral videos; isn’t that a somewhat reassuring feeling?

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Pharrell broke all box office records when he dropped “Happy,” but as he said in this Oprah interview, he didn’t expect it to turn into the phenomenon it did. Within weeks of its release, recreations of the music video were uploaded on YouTube from more than 57 countries, each of them having one thing in common: happy people dancing.

“Kolaveri Di”

This was probably the first music video that went viral in India and spawned thousands of recreations and parodies. Released in 2012 by actor-singer Dhanush, “Kolaveri Di” became the highest viewed video on YouTube. It was a topic of fascination by CNN and covered by Dutch singers, Canadian ones, Americans, and others. No one could gauge why this song went viral””was it the quirky lyrics (“Why this kolaveri di” translates to “why this murderous rage”), the laidback folksy beats, or the fascination around the Tamil-English language collaboration? Maybe all of the above.


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