What do Andy Samberg, a flying Pop-Tart cat, and a mini-Darth Vader have in common?
Yes, they're all adorable. But more importantly, they've all made YouTube's list of the 10 most-watched videos of 2011.
Users hit play on YouTube videos over 1 trillion times this year, with Rebecca Black's viral sensation "Friday" taking the top spot as the most-watched clip. Though the current "Friday" video on YouTube has only 12 million views (around 60 million fewer than the second most-watched video), the number is misleading as an earlier version of Black's music video received around 167 million plays before it was pulled, adding up to a total of 179,869,966 views for "Friday" as of December 16, when YouTube assembled the list.
YouTube's ranking tallies all views from around the world and notably excludes "videos from major music labels."
Volkswagen's "The Force" commercial (over 45 million views) was the only ad to make YouTube's list, while The Lonely Island crew, led by 'SNL' star Andy Samberg, were the only group with two videos ("Jack Sparrow", with over 60 million views, and "The Creep," with over 48 million) in the top ten.
YouTube writes of its annual YouTube Rewind feature:
Today, we rewind through the videos and channels that absorbed our collective global attention this year. To compile these lists, we looked at global view counts of popular videos uploaded throughout this year, and, in some instances, we aggregated views across multiple versions of the same video. 2011 was a year of amazing new channels and new stars being discovered, awesome creativity, and of course, Rebecca Black. It was also a year of powerful news stories playing out on YouTube, as people witnessed and documented uprisings and natural disasters, touching personal moments and moments of protest.
Last year's roundup was slightly more ad heavy -- it included the "Twilight" trailer and an Old Spice commercial -- but Lady Gaga covers and fantastical animated creatures remained among the favorites.
Click through the slideshow below to see the year's most popular YouTube videos.