Hurricane Irene absolutely dominated the last week’s news cycle, which means that it also dominated the viral video world. Alongside the hurricane-related clips people were sharing this week, there was the usual assortment of viral video gems from amateur musicians, professional musicians, home video directors, and brands. So pour a cup of coffee and sit back and relax for a guided tour through the week’s best viral videos.

Hurricane Irene Videos

When a major worldwide breaking news event occurs, you can bet that today’s digital citizens will be pushing the “record” button. And not all breaking news event footage is strictly of the news variety. In fact, if Hurricane Irene taught me anything about online video, it’s that everyone has a unique perspective. Even among video creators, each person has their own take on events, and it’s often reflected in the videos they create about those events.

Like the guy in New York City who heard evacuation warnings and instead decided it was the perfect time for a bike ride:

Some people just see the fun in any circumstance life throws at them. The news says “record rainfall and potential flooding,” but they hear “perfect conditions for a slip-and-slide party”:

Probably the most artistic Hurricane Irene video came to us courtesy of two filmakers at the Buffalo Picture House, who saw art in nature’s power:

The storm did bring a lot of rain, flooding in several locations and leaving millions without power. How much rain? Enough to ride a jet ski through the city streets:

Some streets flooded to the point of being impassible, not that it stopped the National Guard from trying:

Last but not least, YouTube user jeremiahjw saw an opportunity to use his unique video style to help explain how hurricanes and tropical storms get their names:

Standout Musical Performances

There are musical viral videos every week, probably every day. But some stand out more than others, often because the performance itself is unique, rare, or unlikely to ever be repeated.

Taylor Swift knows this first hand this week, after no less than three separate concert clips went viral featuring guest stars. Swift has been spontaneously bringing other famous singers on stage in recent concerts for surprise duets, and it’s delighting her fans in concert and on YouTube.

She had Jason Mraz come out to duet on his mega-hit “I’m Yours”:

She also had Nicki Minaj on stage at another concert, for a duet on Minaj’s song, “Super Bass”:

Even Bieber got in on the surprise-duet game, joining Swift for his hit, “Baby”:

Taylor Swift wasn’t the only major star with a musically-themed viral video this week, though our next celebrity is known more for his acting than his singing. It’s Jeff Bridges–who actually played a singer in Crazy Heart last year, winning numerous awards. Turns out he enjoys music a great deal, and spent the last year working on an album. And while I’m not a huge fan of Country music, it’s pretty darn good stuff:

Of course, amateurs and up-and-comers can go viral with standout musical performances as well. Like the gal in our next clip, who uses some very cool looping technology–combined with legitimate talent–to cover The Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.”:

Maybe you fancy a more original song? One using lyrics written by comedian Patton Oswald and sung by two pretty girls who love Dungeons & Dragons? You’re in luck…

Branded Social Video Successes

One of my favorite viral video ads of the week involves one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future. Also of note: this ad isn’t even in English. It’s an ad for an Argentinian electronics brand, but it’s finding international audiences because it features Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown. Check it out:

Another fantastic branded video ad example this week involves the new Deu Ex video game, which stars a character who is a bit of a cyborg. To promote the game, the developer hired “Eyeborg,” filmmaker Rob Spence, who himself has a prosthetic eye containing a video camera. That’s a great hook, and one that’s likely to reel in viewers from all kinds of demographics. Take a look:

New Era continued their viral video success with their baseball rivalry series starring Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski. The latest episode involves 912 (it’s 911 for rich people). It’s also hilarious:

The last branded viral video example of the week isn’t technically viral yet, but it’s also one day old and already has thousands of views. And it’s also a standout example of how brands of all sizes can create compelling online video. It’s from the Texas Armoring Corporation, and features a pretty bold product demonstration. Oh… the product is bulletproof glass:

Grab Bag

Some videos just don’t fit neatly into my little categorization boxes. But they’re no less worth sharing. In fact, most of my favorite videos of the entire week are right here in this week’s Grab Bag section.

Like the world’s most dangerous-looking slip-and-slide, which manages to look like fun and suicide all at once:

Sometimes a video doesn’t need to be very long to make its mark. Like Jedi Kittens, which is only a few seconds long, but also easily one of the most entertaining clips of the week:

A lot of online viewers have enjoyed and been moved by this tribute to the Twin Towers involving movie footage over the years:

Another super-short video gave viewers a ton of entertainment value this week. It features the world’s shortest train, and I really don’t want to know any more about this… it’s perfect as it is:

Pop quiz. How old do you think the world’s youngest professional skateboarder is? If you said 10, you’re right… and you’re also smarter than I am. Even if you guessed the age right, you’ll still be blown away by this kid’s ability–seriously, he’s better at skateboarding at age 10 than I probably will be at anything in my life. Check it out:

Honorable Mention

For those of you with insatiable appetites for video, here’s a few more viral hits from this week to prolong your video fun: