How was "Dreams" not the most popular TikTok of the year?


It’s always hard to gauge which viral videos will maintain a lifespan of more than, say, a few months, but I’d wager that Nathan Apodaca longboarding to “Dreams” will have some staying power. Skating to work, with Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice in hand, he was instantly one of the most-shared and zen videos to emerge from this year. But somewhat surprisingly, Apodaca didn’t make the most popular TikTok of 2020.

According to the platform, that honor goes to Navy vet-turned TikTok star Bella Poarch. Her short video, lip-syncing to Millie B’s “M to the B,” was the most viral TikTok of the year, raking in more than 500 million views and 43 million likes. Apodaca’s life-changing video came in second place, and the margin wasn’t especially close — his initial “Dreams” TikTok notched 72 million views and nearly 12 million likes.

Other videos appearing in the top 10 include Will Smith joining in the “wipe it down” challenge, that intoxicating “mi pan” llama video, and Jalaiah Harmon performing the “Renegade” dance at the NBA All Star Game. TikTok’s end-of-year report also highlights some of the most popular songs, which seemingly show up on every other video — Jason Derulo’s “Savage Love (Laxed - Siren Beat” was the top track on TikTok, with Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage Remix” following close behind. (Big year for all things savage.) Despite her recent private chef meltdown and temporary lapse in followers, Charli D’Amelio was comfortably the most popular overall creator on the app.

To venture a guess at why Apodaca’s video felt more omnipresent than its numbers: it truly extended to so many more venues than just TikTok. There were the commercials on network TV, his unprecedented influence on the Billboard charts — and on Fleetwood Mac’s own online presence — along with fundamentally changing his life for the better. When “Dreams” reached no. 12 on the Hot 100 in October, more than 40 years after it first topped the charts, it signaled truly uncharted territory for TikTok’s influence on the way old hits can experience a second wind.

Apodaca’s seen vast material gains in just a few months. After Ocean Spray gifted him with an ad on wheels, the TikTok star purchased a new 5-bedroom house in Idaho Falls. He may not be no. 1 on TikTok, but Apodaca has lived out something close to the best case scenario following a viral moment.