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Lucas Cruikshank (a.k.a. Fred), Soulja Boy and, yes, Justin Bieber: The videos that started their YouTube rise

(Warren Zev Feldman)

The videos on YouTube show a teenage boy with an obnoxious whine pretending to be 6. They are insanely popular. So much so, Nickelodeon's betting they'll make the jump from computer screen to television screen this Saturday. "Fred: The Movie" will be 16-year-old Lucas Cruikshank's first step off YouTube, and The Post's Monica Hesse wonders how his rise from Internet celebrity to television show star will go. Her piece made us start thinking about our other favorite YouTube sensations that have crossed-over to different platforms. We decided to take a walk down YouTube memory lane and find the old videos that made these folks stars.

Let us know if we missed any and we'll add them to the list!

In no particular order:

1. Fred Figglehorn: Here's one of the earliest Fred incarnations in all his high-pitched glory:

2. Charice Pempengco: Pempengco got her start on a Philippines variety show modeled after American Idol. She did not win the popular vote, but her performance was uploaded on to YouTube. It caught the attention of Ellen Degeneres who invited Pempengco to perform on her daytime talk show. Three years later, the 18-year-old will be joining the cast of "Glee" next season.

3. Straight No Chaser: In 1998, the men's a cappella group Straight No Chaser from Indiana University performed an original rendition of "12 Days of Christmas," mashed up with Toto's "Africa" and the dreidel song. Ten years later, the video of the show, posted to YouTube, caught the eye of the chairman of Atlantic Records. The original group was reunited and signed onto a five-album recording deal.

4. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em: The Southern rapper started posting his homemade music videos to SoundClick and YouTube. With "Crank That" he finally got the attention of Interscope Records, which signed him to an album deal in 2007.

5. Arnel Pineda: When rock band Journey found itself in need of a new lead singer, guitarist Neal Schon turned to an unusual place to find one: YouTube. He found the right frontman in a video posted of Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer covering Journey songs with his band the Zoo.

6. Marié Digby: Digby took Rihanna's tough, powerful song of the summer, "Umbrella," and turned it into a soft, acoustic love song. The self-filmed YouTube video gained her a huge amount of attention. She had already been signed to Hollywood Records before her Internet fame, but the video still has been credited for her success:

7. Justin Bieber: Okay, okay, he shouldn't be last on his list, but we all know the story of Justin Bieber. His mom posted a video of the then-12-year-old and music producer Scooter Braun soon came calling. Bieber went on to record two albums and become a teen-scream sensation, and he is now writing an autobiography and planning a biopic about his life. Oh, yeah, he just turned 16. Here's one of his original videos:

8. Lisa Nova: This comedian made the leap from YouTube to MADtv back to YouTube after her contract wasn't picked up. Her breakthrough came with her cutting imitation of Kiera Knightly hanging out with a rather bored Johnny Depp:

9. Terra Naomi: Naomi leapt the other way. The Los Angeles musician had a recording contract at Islands Records, leaving the label with one album she did not like under her belt. She returned to uploading videos on YouTube and her fans helped fund a world tour last year:

If you want to be a YouTube star, too, Associated Content tells you how. Pick an easy name and don't steal other people's work. Their sure-fired rules are here.

What other celebrities got their start on YouTube? Tweet your nominations with #youtubestars and we'll add the best to our list.

By Melissa Bell  | September 15, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Next: Golden Girls Day: 25 years of being a friend


It looks like YouTube has taken the place of singing in shopping malls. You know, like Tiffany did.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 15, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

So true! I love that comparison. I'm pretty sure last time Justin Bieber tried to sing at a mall, the cops had to shut the place down.

Posted by: Melissa Bell | September 15, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

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