The 20 Best Viral TikTok Challenges (So Far)
These social challenges inspired people to boost their creativity
Lizzo, Ed Sheeran and Lil Nas X have all inspired TikTok challenges this year / Getty Images
Once something goes viral, it demands the attention of everyone young and old. And once that viral sensation takes off on TikTok, you’ll get caught up in all the hoopla too.
TikTok’s global success has led to a flood of hashtags that have been represented and produced in video form. Every year, a select number of these social media movements demand the most attention and light a creative spark in participants. Musical challenges based on hit songs and artists, mind-blowing tricks and outlandish scenes inspired by hilarious catchphrases are just some of the ways in which TikTok users spend their time. This year we’ve seen a vast array of such examples and we’ve compiled the ones that stood out the most.
1. ‘Old Town Road’ Challenge
Lil Nas X’s Billboard hit single “Old Town Road” got the ultimate push from the popular social media platform. The hip-hop/country hybrid tune became the soundtrack for countless “Yee Yee Juice” and “Yee Haw” challenge vids that saw users morph into flashy cowboys and cowgirls. “Old Town Road” is the undisputed song of the year, thanks in part to the TikTok community’s love for catchy tunes, lassos and spiffy belt buckles. The song’s historic rise to fame is due to its domination of the TikTok stratosphere.
2. ‘Beautiful People’ Challenge
Ed Sheeran’s warm personality is infectious. And his fan base regularly celebrates his inspiring acoustic soundtrack. When he hopped on the TikTok challenge trend to push his Khalid-featured song “Beautiful People,” everyone took notice and joined in. Millions of views later, the world was treated to a slew of heartwarming vids full of people championing the beautiful friends and family in their lives. This is the type of TikTok challenge you can safely show off to your grandparents without any concerns. Just be prepared to let a few tears loose once everything’s said and done. This challenge is definitely a tearjerker.
3. ‘Obsessed’ Challenge
Mariah Carey’s 2009 “Obsessed,” an ode to overly thirsty admirers, unexpectedly resurfaced this summer. A bunch of folks who are old enough to remember the tune (and plenty of younger people) featured the song as their backup track during choreographed TikTok dance challenges. Carey even participated in the challenge herself when her car broke down. Her approach to the challenge was a bit off, but it’s her song so she can do whatever she wants with it. We’re just happy to see an R&B classic get adopted by a whole new generation on TikTok.
4. ‘Respect the Drip’ Challenge
When your stepmom can’t appreciate your highly coordinated outfit, you need to find a place to vent. TikTok users adopted a line in which a frustrated dude lamented his stepmom Karen’s disapproval of his latest attire. And once that hilarious diatribe reached its final line, those same users displayed their most drip-worthy fashion for the world to see. Now Karen has no choice but to show love for folks dressed like bunny rabbits, nuns and ballerinas. And to be honest, some of the clothing combinations put on display for this challenge were way fresher than we anticipated. “Respect the drip, Karen.”
5. ‘Me Versus’ Challenge
Life is a daily struggle. As soon as you step out that front door, a curveball comes your way that disrupts your mood and stresses you to no end. The “Me Versus” challenge personified the very moments that destroy us a little more inside every time they happen. Ever attempt to smash a bug inside your home, but it hauls ass and ends up running right at you? Can’t stand the fact that your local McDonald’s can’t seem to get the ice-cream machine to work? Felt dumb because your grade-school math knowledge couldn’t help you calculate the correct change during your cashier days? This challenge offered seconds-long scenarios like these.
6. Art Project Challenge
TikTok’s user base thrives on creativity. Whenever a new trend takes over, you’ll easily find yourself spending countless hours watching some of the most innovative videos ever produced. This challenge sticks to a simple concept: Showcase your finest artwork and give people a glimpse into your overall creative process. Once this challenge took off, users were treated to videos full of beautiful paintings, wonderfully crafted signs, custom clothing and more cool displays of modern-day art.
7. DNA Test Challenge
Lizzo has garnered plenty of fanfare thanks to her eccentric approach to music videos and her penchant for crafting self-loving tunes that mash up varied genres. One of the year’s most memorable lines came from her song “Truth Hurts,” which goes like this: “Just took a DNA test—turns out I’m 100% that bitch.” That Dylan hot fire-worthy bar inspired TikTok users to lip-synch the line and deliver their DNA results in comedic fashion. Beside people finding out they’re 100% ogre or hippo, proud folks repped their DNA reveals with pride.
8. ‘School Bathroom’ Challenge
Everyone knows the school bathroom isn’t solely used to, you know, empty one’s bladder. It’s a place where kids converge to settle disputes about growing fandoms, trade juicy secrets and generally goof off while their teachers wonder about their whereabouts. TikTok took the concept of school bathroom activities further once users began turning such a simple place into an entertainment haven. Short-form videos of kids using their school bathroom as a dance floor, a place to practice one’s singing talents and a private club party flooded TikTok. And they all proved that a school bathroom could be transformed into anything you want it to be.
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9. The Renegade Challenge
When in doubt, do the "Renegade." Created by fourteen year-old Jalaiah Harmon, the ATL native started one of the biggest challenges of 2020 so far. The 'Renegade' was literally everywhere at the beginning of the year, and contained fifteen dance moves to a section of K Camp's song 'Lottery.' In order to master the challenge, one has to be a super skilled dancer. Everybody from Bella Thorne to Kourtney Kardashian got in on the 'Renegade.' Even Oprah had to take a stab at describing it. K Camp ended up giving the teenager a personal shoutout, and Harmon performed the song at this year's NBA All-Star game.
10. The Flip The Switch Challenge
For those that were wondering would it would be like to temporarily trade places with another person, the 'Flip the Switch' challenge answered those questions (sort of). The concept was relatively simple, find another person (a lot of people used their significant others), and dance to Drake's song 'Non Stop.' In order to successfully do the challenge, one person would start off dancing (while the other person was in the background), and while dancing that person would turn the light off. Upon the light switching turning on, the roles would be reversed with the participants also reversing positions and outfits (like the video above). The challenge was originally created by Dallin and Bella Lambert, and even had celebrity couples like J-Lo and Alex Rodriguez joining in.
11. The Celeb Look Alike Challenge
Let's face it, we've all pretended to look like Justin Bieber or Beyoncé at some point, but what if we told you there were some people in the world that actually looked like celebrity doppleganger's? Well that's exactly what happened with the 'Celeb Look Alike' challenge earlier this year. The concept was an easy one. TikTok users just simply asked their friends/followers which celebrity they looked the most like. From there, they would take the most popular answer, and create a video showcasing the comparison. At one point, the 'Celeb Look Alike' challenge had close to 2 Billion Views, and was a fun way to pretend to be a celebrity for a few seconds.
12. The Wipe it Down Challenge
One of the biggest TikTok challenges of this Spring was the ‘Wipe Me Down’ challenge. For this one, all you had to do was wipe down a mirror with a cleaning supply (preferably one meant for windows) three times, and on the fourth wipe, “swipe” yourself into an alternate reality for a split second. The challenge was set to the tune of “Wipe it Down” by BMW Kenny, and had over 21 million views at one point, giving people a chance to experiment with their alter egos.
13. The Walk in Challenge
The ‘Walk in Challenge’ was the epitome of boredom during peak quarantine. The objective was for ladies to catch their significant others off guard by walking in naked when their partners least expected it (preferably while they were playing a video game or watching T.V.). The challenge started in March when TikTok user Lindsey Bear walked in on her boyfriend naked while playing Call of Duty. The challenge took off with the ladies trying their absolute best to distract their partners from getting their “kills,” making it one of the most hilarious trends of the year so far.
14. The Level Up Challenge
The ‘Level Up’ challenge continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. For this go round, Tik Tok users would build a wall using toilet paper (maybe that’s why there was a outage), and would film either their dogs or themselves jumping over the “wall.” With each successful jump, you had to increase the layer of toilet paper until you (or your dog) finally failed. The challenge was set to Ciara’s ‘Level Up,’ and got millions of views worldwide.
15. The Plank Challenge
There isn’t a single person in the world that likes “planks.” Even the most athletic people in the world despise them, so it was only right that the TikTokers would create a “Plank” challenge. For this challenge you could ride solo, or have a friend do it with you. The goal was to do various different plank challenges in 15 or 30 seconds (60 seconds if you were really about that workout life). This hellish challenge had everybody reminiscing about their school gym days.
16. The Blinding Lights Challenge
The Weekend’s song ‘Blinding Lights’ is one of the top songs of 2020, so it was only natural that a challenge would come from it. The concept was relatively simple as users would come up with their own choreography for the hit song. Many people took advantage of the 1980’s feel that the song had, making the challenge even more fun. With ‘Blinding Lights’ still making its rounds on the charts, it’s never too late to get in on the action.
17. The Stand Up Challenge
For the adventurous daredevils out there, the ‘Stand Up’ challenge was the ultimate test of agility and balance. This challenge involved two people, and started with one person lying on their stomachs, with their partner standing on their backs. From there, the person lying on the ground would gradually stand up to match the beat of whatever song was playing. With each upward movement, the person standing on their back would continue to hop up with them until they were eventually standing up on the other person’s shoulders. This challenge required a lot of strength, and while some succeeded, some failed, sparking a lot of viral moments.
18. The Flour Challenge
Family gets on your nerves sometimes (especially in a pandemic), so people had to find a way to let those frustrations out. Thus sparked the 'Flour Challenge.' In this one, two lucky family members would stand or sit in front of a bag flour on a table. Another family member (most of the time a parent or a sibling), would stand behind the participants, dipping their faces in the flower as an answer to certain questions (for example, questions about who was the messiest, most annoying, etc.) The challenge was hilarious, but a pain to clean up afterwards.
19. The Tootsie Slide Challenge
Drake has had a way of making challenges since ‘Hotline Bling’, and the hitmaker did it again this past Spring with the 'Tootsie Slide Challenge.' The song itself seems almost made for TikTok, as Drake spells out exactly what you have to do. The Rap version of the Hokey Pokey, you put “your right foot up, and slide with your left foot,” then you put your “left foot up, and slide with your right.” Easy enough, and very fun for participants.
20. The Savage Challenge
Megan Thee Stallion already had a hit on her hands when she released ‘Savage.’ However when Beyonce hopped on the track, the song went to another level. While the ‘Savage Challenge’ had already started, the challenge exploded even more once the remix came out. The choreography for this challenge showcased everyone’s sassy, moody, and nasty side, and now has close to a billion views on TikTok.
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