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Year of TikTok: A look at TikTok's top videos, creators and trends of 2023

TikTok 2023 year in review.
TikTok 2023 year in review.

It's that time of the season again when year-in-review lists pop up everywhere. From the best movies to the top songs, we look back on what was popular in 2023. 2024 is now here and poised to bring us new things to love and hate.

Of course, it's difficult to see, listen to or remember everything that caused a buzz in the last trip around the sun. With how fast-paced cultural turnover has become, it's easy to find yourself saying "Wow, that movie came out this year!?"

This is even truer of social media moments, as they come and go so quickly. That, combined with how hyper-specific our feeds can be, means even the most online of us all are prone to miss one or two trends or posts along the way.

So have you missed out on anything? Are you still confused about what some of them meant in the first place? Luckily, TikTok has released its official year in review, summarizing the app's top content of 2023 and allowing us all to catch up and reminisce about girl dinners and the Roman Empire.

Wondering what was biggest on the app this year as determined by TikTok itself? We've got that info below.

Biggest trends

#GirlDinner

Started accidentally by Hannah Rose (@tishannahrose) when she sang about one of her favorite meals of cheese and bread, the idea of putting together small snacks and random items from the cupboard and fridge to make some form of meal was affectionately dubbed "girl dinner" by Olivia Maher on TikTok.

This kicked off a trend of creators sharing their easy, snacky meals to a catchy sound, which later transcended TikTok to become a well-recognized pop culture phrase and even a menu item at Popeyes. #GirlDinner has just under 3 billion views on the app today.

Roman Empire

Why was everyone talking about the Roman Empire earlier this year? And again on "Saturday Night Live" last month? It was part of a trend, of course.

Put simply, the trend operates on the premise that men think about the Roman Empire more often than women. So often, in fact, that the women in their lives are shocked by the frequency.

Born out of a response to an Instagram post, the trend now mostly lives on TikTok, where the hashtag #RomanEmpire garnered 3 billion views.

McDonald's Grimace Shake

What started as appreciation for McDonald's bringing in a special purple shake to celebrate the birthday of the character Grimace turned spooky thanks to horror fans on TikTok.

The Grimace Shake turned into a Blair Witch-style mini-movie-making trend thanks to the creativity of the TikTok community.

Each video typically begins with someone telling the camera that they have the shake, wishing Grimace a happy birthday, taking their first sips of the drink, and beginning to review the beverage. Then the video cuts.

After the beginning sequence, the rest of the videos vary based on the creators. Some have the reviewer on the ground with the shake coming out of their mouths or all over their bodies, while others are more elaborate. No matter what happens next, it tends to feel right out of a horror movie.

Wes Anderson films

Who doesn't love pretending to be in a Wes Anderson film now and again?

This trend started when film lovers on TikTok took a liking to the song "Obituary," which appeared in Wes Anderson's "The French Dispatch." The song, performed by Oscar-winning French composer Alexandre Desplat, was used over 240,000 times to create videos reminiscent of scenes from Anderson's movies, generating 2.2 billion views of the hashtag #WesAnderson, almost a 1,400% increase compared to last year.

My red, green and beige flags

Most of us have heard of green flags and red flags, but how about beige ones?

Red flags are warnings, especially used to reference bad signs in a relationship, and green flags are good signs. Beige flags, however, are actions or personality traits that are present but not particularly noteworthy. Generally, they refer to personal behaviors and habits that are neutral, such as only reading a book at the airport.

A visual effect was made for creators to use to randomly reveal what "beige flags" they may have and it has since been used in 25 billion videos to date.

Creator spotlight

@Keith_lee125: If you've only ever heard of a few TikTok creators, Keith Lee is probably one of them.

Lee has used his platform to share his love of food, growing exponentially in viewer and follower count in the last year. Based in Las Vegas, Lee provides honest food and restaurant reviews, mostly of small and family-owned businesses, and tries to determine if they're not well-known due to food quality, customer service, or marketing.

People love Lee not only for his honesty and genuine enjoyment of food but also for his dedication to elevating small businesses in need. The "Keith Lee Effect" has been known to hit restaurants after he visits, bringing in huge influxes of customers. This year, his trip to Atlanta specifically garnered a lot of attention.

@itsyoungmiko: Young Miko is a Puerto Rican rapper responsible for multiple trending songs this year. Titles including "Wiggy," "CLASSY 101" with Feid, and "FINA" with Bad Bunny have skyrocketed her work to popularity, and her songs have been used in hundreds of thousands of videos.

@alixearle:  Alix Earle is another hard-to-miss name in digital pop culture. Known for her "big sister" style of creating videos, Earle has had a meteoric rise thanks to her makeup and fashion videos. Her "Get ready with me" videos are specifically popular, amassing a fan base of six million people and counting.

@angelreese10: This year on TikTok has been the year of the girl for reasons beyond Barbie and girl dinner. Women's sports have also drawn a lot of interest on the platform, and this includes the account of Louisiana State University basketball star Angel Reese. As a young, Black female athlete, Reese has gained support for being authentic online.

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Biggest songs

  1. “Collide (more sped up)” - Justine Skye

  2. “Cupid – Twin Ver – Sped Up Version” - FIFTY FIFTY

  3. “Her Way (Sped Up)” - PARTYNEXTDOOR

  4. “Favorite Song - Sped Up” - Toosii

  5. “Boy's a Liar Pt. 2” - PinkPanthress & Ice Spice

  6. “Bounce When She Walk” - Ohboyprince

  7. “Peaches & Eggplants (feat. 21 Savage)” - Young Nudy

  8. “In Ha Mood” - Ice Spice

  9. “Makeba” - Jain

  10. “Cruel Summer” - Taylor Swift

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TikTok year in review for 2023: A look at top videos, trends