It’s easy to lose track of time and fall into mindless scrolling while on TikTok. The platform stores countless videos that cover a massive range of topics—even ones you’re not looking for (that’s arguably the best part of the app). Launched in China in 2016, TikTok currently has nearly 140 million active monthly users in the US alone, and has been downloaded more than 2.6 billion times worldwide.
Somehow, the app knows which videos to place in front of users and the perfect time to push those videos forward. That insane algorithm has created one of the best spaces to start viral trends. But it’s not just the algorithms that make TikTok pop. The music, editing tools, filters, and variety of video effects also help users create short clips, up to 60 seconds long, that are entertaining and shareable. It’s even beginning to adopt the features of some other popular social media apps to make it a true one-stop shop. Despite some Black creators being left uncredited or having their work stolen for a viral trend, or trends having deadly outcomes, the app still aims to be an outlet for creators to make a new style of social media content. Plus, it always finds a way to evolve to fit the latest trend. With new sounds, dances, and ideas from creators, TikTok has maintained its place at the forefront of hilarious memes and other social media content.
The site is also making efforts to join others in fighting against any attempted usage of the platform for abuse and extremism. In September 2022, for example, the platform announced its joining of the Tech Against Terrorism initiative. As a rep noted when announcing this development, the platform has a strict “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to violent extremism.
Another recent cause of attention for TikTok’s higher-ups has been election integrity, with the most recent moves on that topic having been unveiled.
With all that in mind, we’ve all seen viral dances, pranks, skits, stories, and challenges make their way from TikTok to other media platforms; sometimes it’s hard to keep up with what’s what. But Complex has you covered. Here are some of the best TikTok trends and challenges to watch right now.
Original sound: Sirtaki (Zorba the Geek) – LucasGitanoFamily
While the thought of someone’s personal photos being shared is almost never a source of comfort, this trend takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to related threats by highlighting the potentially mundane nature of such photos. As the trend has grown in popularity, the format for this trend has grown more flexible. While money-focused threats (i.e. “Give me X amount of dollars or I’ll leak your photos”) have largely dominated the conversation, variants such as leaked messages and others have also made a strong showing.
Original sound: Slide in n slide out – EvanG
Even our greatest loves or strongest attributes can have downsides. This trend takes that unfortunate fact and has fun with it by incorporating a playful style of admission, complete with a sound that will likely remain stuck in your head for days on end. For example, if you’re a big fan of top-tier hot sauce but don’t like what it might do to your body afterward, you could follow this format to reveal a specific downside with a simple hand gesture.
Original sound: QUARTER LIFE CRISIS – Taylor Bickett
While the lyrics to the track at the center of this trend’s original sound (Taylor Bickett’s “Quarter Life Crisis”) feature an existentially challenging comparison of how it feels to be 16 versus what life’s like when you’re “closer to 28,” the resulting TikTok trend allows for some flexibility when it comes to the latter.
Drew Barrymore, for example, hopped in on this trend by amending the setup to “closer to 48.”
Original sound: original sound – ʚ ᵛᵅⁿⁿⁱᵉ ɞ
We’re all afraid of something that—were it to be presented among an assortment of seemingly more scare-worthy things—would seem downright ridiculous. Or at the very least, undeniably hilarious. This trend sees everyone having fun with this truth, all while boosting a song for the ages.
Original sound: It’s Corn – Tariq & The Gregory Brothers & Recess Therapy
Loving corn has taken on a community of its own thanks to this TikTok trend.
In short, the sound from the original video—which focuses on an interview by Julian Shapiro-Barnum on Recess Therapy—was remade into a song by Schmoyoho. The rest, of course, is history. The “Corn Kid” at the center of it all, meanwhile, is also enjoying the viral moment. Seven-year-old Tariq is also now widely referred to as a “Corn-bassador.”
Original sound: Track Star – Mooski
TikToker @cityboyj put Mooski’s “Track Star” on the map, when he created a TikTok dance challenge, back in January. Months later, people have taken the popular song and transformed it into a runaway challenge. First, users set their camera’s timer between five to 10 seconds. Then everyone tries to run out of the frame before the clock hits zero and the camera snaps a picture. The people who are caught in the picture fail. It’s like hide-and-seek 2.0. The other trackstar challenge snaps the picture to see who’s ran the farthest within three seconds.
Original sound: Never Forget You – Noisettes
This flashback trend is a way for users to share memorable moments from their past in a more shocking way. It usually downplays encounters with famous people by captioning the first part of the video, “to the person who,” then revealing a video clip or picture that shows the mysterious person is actually a well-known entertainer, athlete, or, in some scenarios, their baby’s father. Whatever the case, it’s a person who they’ll never forget.
Original sound: Hi watermelon sugar – Alisa
The VHS filter combined with the“Hi Watermelon Sugar”song equals adorable nostalgia. This is another TikTok trend that focuses on the past, except users aren’t actually showing old videos of themselves from 1990 like they claim. Instead, they’re re-creating images of their younger selves using their kids or younger relatives. Either way, it looks like some of these parents copy and pasted themselves.
Original sound: Touch Down 2 Cause Hell — HD4President
In the beginning of May 2021, @diorfaithk uploaded a video with her and a friend dancing to “Touch Down 2 Cause Hell” by HD4President. Since then, the intro to that single has been used over and over as users walk away from the camera shaking their behinds in a single-file line. It’s like a stank walk meets follow-the-leader type of trend. The captions don’t have much to do with the dance, but it almost always refers to a group situation like, “when you and your cousins are going on vacation,” or, “when he says you can bring a friend.”
Original sound: stop using this for bad takes bozos — ale
A TikToker named Ale, who goes by the handle @isthatobito, created a trending sound when he sped up the intro to Chief Keef’s song “Laughing to the Bank” and uploaded it to TikTok. The original sound was pegged to a Super Bowl video, but now it’s been used as a soundtrack for the best evil laughs. Users typically will explain what they’re laughing at, in the captions. Then they hold their hand in front of their mouth and shake their head to the “ha ha ha” beat.
Original sound: Dating in your… — Jamie Buckley pt and actor
At the end of 2020, @jamiejukesuk uploaded the popular “It’s the Hard Knock Life” song from the classic musical Annie. But he presented it with a twist. Instead of complaining about life in general, he used the song to list all of the issues that people run into when dating in their 30s. He pretended as if each problem was literally knocking him to the ground. The trend took off in May 2021. Now users have created countless renditions around dozens of themes.
Original sound: Touch It (Busta Rhymes) TikTok – DJ dembow
There are two versions of the touch it challenge. The fashionable one serves look after look, using a remixed version of Busta Rhyme’s classic song “Touch It.” The videos start off slow and simple with a person acting casual while Busta raps to the song’s intro. But once the beat drops and the chorus starts, the person’s outfit changes with the rhythm of the bass. People are squeezing six or more looks into a few seconds of video and we are loving it.
Original sound: Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod
You can be either shady or positive with this challenge. Someone starts with the phone and says, “I’m passing the phone to,” then describes the person who they want to pass the phone to. That person then records themself stating who they’re passing the phone to, usually with a light-hearted roast. This goes on and on. The funniest videos are filled with shade and impersonations.
Original sound: Walk – Saucy Santana
Miami-based rapper Saucy Santana released his “Walk” single at the end of 2020 and naturally a TikTok challenge followed. People from all walks of life are posting their best struts. Most walks have a sexy flare, while others lean on the comedic side. Some folks are even doing full-out choreography. In one rendition, users pair TikToker @spencewuah’s instructions to “put on a cute ass outfit and walk in front of your camera at 0.3x speed, and tell me you don’t feel like a bad bitch!” with Saucy Santana’s “Walk” audio, for a stunning transformation challenge.
Original sound: thiswellplannedlife
Ever since working and studying from home became a common theme, clips of Zoom meetings and Zoom hacks have blown up on TikTok. Recently @thiswellplannedlife made a skit showing an annoyed worker making agitated gestures, unaware that her Zoom camera is on. When she gets called out by the voice on the other end of the screen, she tries to play everything off. Other TikTokers took the sound and created their own Zoom camera mishaps.
Original sound: None
In this viral challenge, popular TikTok user Jess Marciante asks the question “What’s a video that lives in your head rent -free?” Other TikTokers respond with hilarious (and sometimes disturbing) video clips. Marciante created the challenge at the end of 2020. Since then it’s taken off and has been credited in over 3,000 TikTok videos. Most responses can be found under the #rentfree hashtag.
Original sound: None
Here is another trend where TikTok users respond to a prompted question. In this case, the question asks TikTokers to reveal information about themselves without explicitly stating what they’re revealing. For example, “tell me you’re petty without telling me your petty,” and after the prompt, the user shares a story or video clip that addresses the question without stating the censored word.
Original sound: bre n mia laughing
The duet me challenge comes in many forms, but the main objective is to create a split screen video with a separate TikTok user’s video clip. This could be done in song, dance, skit, Q&A, dialogue, etc. One of the funniest duets to go viral is actually a prank. Users introduce a friend or family member that is physically with them to two girls, who appear to be patiently waiting to complete a “live duet.” In reality, the live duet is a pre-recorded video of TikTokers Bre and Mia, who are seconds away from laughing at themselves. The people being pranked don’t know this, which leads to some hilarious responses.
Original sound: Sea Shanty-Wellerman-Nathan Evans
It’s always great when a viral video changes a TikToker’s life. In this case, former postal worker Nathan Evans went viral singing his version of “Wellerman” sea shanty and in a matter of months, folks from all over TikTok joined in with their renditions. The 26-year-old Scottish musician received a music contract and his song reached No. 1 on the UK charts.
Original sound: Katalyst_224
Folks on TikTok are using a line from T-Pain’s classic hit song “Buy U a Drank” to let others know not to mess with their spouse or relative. In the trend, the passive person is usually standing in their front doorway, emoting as if someone else is being rude to them. Not too long after, the more aggressive spouse or relative appears just as the song says, “Talk to me, I talk back.” But they’re definitely not trying to talk—at least not with their mouth.
Original sound: Jennie McIntosh
TikTok has a variety of flexibility challenges—and they’re all quite impressive. But the most viral flexibility challenge was made popular by TikTok user @omgitsashleigh. She starts by doing the already viral “Stop, Drop, and Roll With It” dance, then switches it up by kicking her leg into the air, grabbing the hood of her hoodie with her toes, and pulling the hoodie off as her leg meets the ground. The only thing better than watching her complete this task is watching other TikTokers attempt to do the same—even actress Vanessa Hudgens got in on it.
Original sound: Natalie Pienkawa
At the start of 2021, someone came up with the brilliant idea to record what their “first day as a hitman” would look like, as the sound of sad violins play in the background. Let’s just say, the hitman gig wasn’t successful, but the TikTok trend was. The challenge spun into millions of re-enactments and variations of failed hitman attempts.
Original sound: None
If you want to learn something new, you can probably learn it on TikTok. Users have provided endless possibilities to learn almost anything. From relocating beehives to info on indigenous cultures, you name it and someone on TikTok could probably teach you about it. This is a never-ending trend.
Original sound: Jesse
TikTok users are notorious for taking popular soundbites from our fave films and repurposing them. This challenge uses a quick dialogue from Guardians of the Galaxy where Rhomann Dey (played by comedian John C. Reilly) introduces the Guardians of the Galaxy and his associate responds, saying, “What a bunch of assholes.” But in the TikTok version, users give themselves a group name, play the “what a bunch of assholes’’ response, then showcase the types of people who make up their imaginative (and sometimes real) posse.
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Bo Burnham’s song “Bezos I” ironically chronicles the life and times of Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, and the videos it inspired range from adorable to satisfying to downright hilarious. Some have used the song to document the lives of their newborns, with the lyrics about Bezos’ rise to riches narrating their kids’ growth into slightly larger humans. Others have employed the sound to show themselves perfectly painting over a coin or flexing a fresh set of nails. There are also TikToks of random, hilarious things, as there usually are, like a couple celebrating being together for four years after breaking up 20 times. Their relationship apparently had the same never-quit mentality as the Amazon founder
It’s an existential question, really: “If you ain’t at the beach, then where the fuck you aaaaat? ’Cause we outside.” In addition to the stitched responses the original questions invited, the queries inspired similar videos, with users asking their followers where they were if, for instance, they weren’t at Walmart, or changing an infant’s diaper, or picking a kid up from school, or eating at a specific fast-food chain. These, in turn, generated further stitched videos. Where this will end, we don’t know, but we’ll never again be able to hear that question without thinking of what was a major part of TikTok in 2021.
Original sound: None
Some of the easiest people to prank are your parents or older relatives. Sometimes they know about social media, but it’s just too hard for them to stay on top of all the trends. The Scholarship Challenge capitalizes on that, with younger people tricking their parents and grandparents by acting like they’re recording a video explaining why they deserve a scholarship, but in reality, are setting up a joke by saying the elder used to do crazy things in the past. The reactions from the parents are the best part, because of the genuine shock they’re in immediately after.
With a range of internet personalities getting involved, this trend revolves around making a specific hand motion to the beat of the song “The Magic Bomb” by Hoàng Read and answering different sets of burning questions that people might be curious about. The challenge is widely accessible, and with the rhythmic beat of the song attached and mesmerizing (and simple) hand motions, it makes for an addictive trend.
Original sound: Know Yourself – Drake
Hindsight is 20/20, and oftentimes we don’t realize something was ridiculous—or traumatic—until we look back on it years later. With this trend, users employ the repetitive hook from Drake’s “Know Yourself”—“I was running through the 6 with my woes”—as a tool to reflect on something they can’t believe they used to do or put up with. The entries vary from devastating life decisions to regrettable fashion choices, but they’re all somewhat disconcerting, or at least embarrassing to those making them. So why not look back on those moments now, publicly, on a platform with millions of active users?
In the world of regional comedy, the “My Daddy Drives a...” trend reigns supreme. Using the purposely ironic original sound of someone impersonating spoiled kids talking about what kind of foreign cars their fathers drive, the vehicles are paralleled with a variety of counterparts. In the one shown above, which hits especially hard for New Jersey residents, it’s funny because the cars are being compared to the various different Jersey shores that all vary in quality. Other things that have been compared using the trend are types of vodkas, New England cities, and more. It’s less classist and more ironically relatable and funny.
Original sound: Said Sum Remix- Moneybagg Yo f/ City Girls & Dababy
With the help of JT’s viral verse on Moneybagg Yo’s “Said Sum” Remix, the “Let Me Talk To ’Em” trend sees users reacting to three positive traits in a potential partner before shutting them down when the City Girl says, “Make a 55 suck they teeth.” The song itself was already catchy, and this trend makes good use of some memorable bars.
Ignorance is bliss until you snap back to reality and analyze what the hell just happened. This trend uses the soothing voice of Louis Armstrong on the iconic “What a Wonderful World,” but with a twist, substituting “what a wonderful world” with “what the fuck?” to emphasize whatever bizarre thing the user just realized. Sometimes it’s noticing that their kid is contentedly eating fries in the back seat of the car, but they haven’t gone to McDonald’s in two weeks. Other times, it’s doubling back on something someone said and realizing how wild it is.
Original sound: The Assignment- Tay Money
This trend is self-explanatory. All you have to do is apply Tay Money’s “The Assignment” to anything you think you nailed perfectly, whether that be an amazing dish for dinner or creating an adorable baby. This trend varies widely in subject matter, showing exactly what users care about.
Original sound: I Misunderstood The Assignment – rclbeauty101
Of course, the foil to understanding the assignment is misunderstanding the assignment, but this trend doesn’t make that a bad thing. Instead, it highlights how subverting expectations can be a great thing. Most of the TikToks from this trend center around transgender folks discovering their identities and poking fun at what others expected of them.
Original sound: Holy Spirit Activate- Victory Youth
The origin of the sound for this trend might be funnier than the videos from it. “Holy Spirit, Activate” comes from a video clip of an eccentric contestant on Steve Harvey’s popular game show Family Feud. The woman broke into a dance and chant to get ready for her turn at the podium. Some of the videos that have used the sound show people trying to speed up the arrival of a baby or asking a higher power for the strength not to take revenge on someone who ate their leftovers. The creator of the sound joined in on the fun, too, recreating the moment on TikTok.
Original sound: Yanna
Overconfidence isn’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it makes us underestimate how challenging something will be. This trend revolves around how we don’t always consider the hurdles or consequences associated with an activity—like sports at a more advanced age or drinking at almost any age.
Original sound: NYC.Treyvonnnn
Using the hilarious transition from Coi Leray’s verse to Rek Benga’s aggressive tone on their track “Gimmy Licky,” this trend has the same energy as the bars, with people highlighting the disparity between two things. For some, it’s the way their mom talks to their friends compared to them. Other times, people show how they talk at home compared to how they do outside. Whatever it is, there’s a difference, and it’s major, and that “Damn, lil’ mama” moment illustrates it perfectly.
Original sound: WhitneLee
We aren’t always a direct reflection of our parents, and this trend emphasizes that fact. Using lyrics from Beyoncé’s iconic “Formation,” people outline opposing traits from their mom and dad before showing that they’re completely different from their parents. Or that, in fact, they’re really similar.
Original sound: Evelyn
Some of the most special relationships are the ones where you’re able to find the yin to your yang, your other half that fills in the spots you don’t. This trend highlights those harmonious relationships, from having the best friend who hates everyone and the best friend who loves everyone to the partner who hates physical touch and the partner who loves to hug.
Original sound: Panda Transition – 𝚈𝚊𝚜𝚜𝚎𝚛 || بن سويلم
There are few things better than a good transformation video, and this trend exemplifies just that. With the hook from Designer’s viral song “Panda” as the soundtrack, users wait until the beat drops to show others that there’s more to them than meets the eye. Sure, the song’s more than six years old, the transition from bummy fit to traditional garb or formal wear makes total sense to it.
Original sound: Captain – Nutcase22
Sometimes the best thing to say when approached with something unfavorable is nothing at all. This trend embodies that mentality, with users disappearing to the tune of Captain’s “Nutcase22.” It’s basically the equivalent of the red flag trend that took over Twitter a few months ago. Whether it’s someone asking for your Snapchat instead of your number, or your boss requesting you to take an extra shift during your time off, disappear instead of dealing with it.