TORONTO - It's getting harder and harder to find an Internet user who hasn't seen the veritably viral "Gangnam Style" music video.
Now closing in on a staggering one-billion views, YouTube has officially named the clip by South Korean singer PSY as the top video of the year, both in Canada and globally.
In late November, "Gangnam Style" passed Justin Bieber's music video for "Baby" as the most-watched YouTube video ever, with over 800 million views. Just a few weeks later, "Gangnam Style" is now about 160 million views ahead of "Baby."
But it wasn't just overall views that YouTube considered in drafting its top 10 lists, says Google Canada spokeswoman Wendy Bairos.
"We call it the trending list because we also took into account shares, searches, likes and responses ... to be a real pulse of what's happening."
Bieber did crack YouTube's annual top 10 list in Canada and globally but not for one of his own songs. His lipsyncing sing-along to fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen's monster hit "Call Me Maybe" — along with former girlfriend Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Carlos Pena Jr. and Martin Johnson — was fourth on both lists.
"The best way to categorize 2012 is that it was the year of parodies and cover songs ... and the Bieber cover, I think, is probably a video that set off the trend," says Bairos.
"We just saw it covered so many times, whether it was baseball teams, Olympic teams — and people were even splicing speeches by Barack Obama to make it seem like he was singing it."
Gotye's hit song "Somebody That I Used to Know" also played into the trend, spawning countless covers and parodies.
But the Belgian-Australian singer didn't make YouTube's cut.
Instead, it was Burlington, Ont.-natives Walk Off the Earth that placed second on YouTube's Canadian and global lists of the year's top videos. Their unique cover — in which the band's five members all huddled around and played the same acoustic guitar — has racked up more than 140 million views.
The full list of YouTube's top videos of the year in Canada:
1. "Gangnam Style" by PSY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0
2. "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Walk off the Earth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9NF2edxy-M
3. KONY 2012 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc
4. "Call Me Maybe" featuring Justin Bieber and friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsBsBU3vn6M
5. Britney Spears learns "Gangnam Style" dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZmkU5Pg1sw
6. Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates epic rap battle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njos57IJf-0
7. "Fallen Kingdom" a Minecraft parody of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-sH53vXP2A
8. Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl1ujzRidmU
9. "Call Me Maybe" parody by MattyBRaps & Cimrelli: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM7nlIsBLoc
10. Felix Baumgartner's supersonic free fall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHtvDA0W34I