Youtube Stars Who Haven't Figured Out They Aren't Famous Anymore

It once seemed like anyone could use YouTube as a launchpad to fame, but it's since become increasingly clear that as social media trends change, once famous YouTubers fall by the wayside. Not everyone can be a Justin Bieber or a Tyler Oakley, and for these formerly hip YouTubers, the sad reality is that the masses don't care about them anymore. Some online stars failed to properly cash in on their exposure; others tried, but flopped big time. Whatever the case, the YouTube stars on this list are no longer relevant—yet their continued efforts on the site seem to suggest they haven't figured that out yet.

Michael Buckley (WHATTHEBUCK)

Michael Buckley, better known by his YouTube name WHATTHEBUCK, was fairly popular between 2007 and 2010. Buckley was famous for his comedic takes on pop culture news, particularly as it related to teen pop sensations. One of the most unforgettable moments in the channel's history involved the huge backlash Buckley received for poking fun at the Jonas Brothers when one of the bros fell and Buckley's subsequent response to angry fangirls.

However, just as teen pop idol trends change, so too do YouTube visitors' tastes. Buckley still has more than a million subscribers, but while his videos used to attract millions of views, these days, he's lucky if a clip logs anywhere near 10,000 hits.

Esmee Denters

Esmee Denters seemed destined to become another breakout YouTube pop sensation in the vein of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen. Her cover of Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around," went viral in 2007. The video even featured background vocals and an appearance by Timberlake himself. Not only that, but Denters was reportedly one of the first YouTube stars to exceed 100 million views. And yet, with a subscriber count of about 256,000 these days, it's apparent that her road to super stardom took a hard left.

Denters enjoyed moderate success in Europe between 2009 and 2010, but she failed to achieve the international Bieber-esque acclaim many had anticipated and was dropped from Timberlake's record label in 2012. The closest Denters has since come to pop culture relevancy was her appearance on the UK version of The Voice in 2015. Unfortunately she was eliminated during the knockout rounds. Although Denters continues to post covers to her YouTube channel, most of her tunes go unnoticed (earning a few thousand views at best), and her non-music videos fare even worse.

Lucas Cruikshank (Fred)

Fred Figglehorn—the allegedly 6-year-old character and channel created by YouTube star and actor Lucas Cruikshank—was a big YouTube sensation several years ago. Before anyone had heard of PewDiePie, Fred enjoyed the reputation of being the first YouTuber to hit one million subscribers. The popularity of the Fred channel allowed the actor to team up with Nickelodeon to produce a trilogy of cringe-worthy movies and a short-lived TV show that aired in 2012.

It's true that Fred has more than two million subscribers, but they're clearly not watching his newer material. A clip of a grocery shopping trip (featuring the Annoying Orange) in 2010 earned a whopping 79 million views, but recent videos don't bag anywhere close to that kind of audience. Of course, it could be because those videos have nothing to do with Fred. As for Cruikshank, his non-Fred videos on his personal YouTube channel don't match previous view totals, either. It's safe to say this former YouTube star is no longer even on the fringe of pop culture relevancy.

Greyson Chance

When then 12-year-old Greyson Chance's cover of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" went viral in 2010, people thought they'd finally found the anti-Bieber. However, while the Biebs is still very much musically relevant, Chance's internet buzz has cooled considerably. In 2011, Chance released Hold On 'Til The Night, which peaked at no. 29 on the Billboard charts, but the internet's collective attention span has moved on. Chance's "Paparazzi" cover remains the most popular video on his channel, with 58 million views and counting—a massive amount more than his videos of original music.


If you look at the Boston-based pop duo Karmin now, you'll probably assess them as simply another YouTube cover channel, but in 2011, the two musicians seemed destined for big things. Karmin is the creation of real-life couple Amy Renee and Nick Noonan. The duo consistently went viral thanks to their take on songs by popular R&B and rap artists, including Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne. Their most popular cover to date is Brown's "Look At Me Now."

While its cover music was well received, Karmin's 2012 EP Hello generated mixed reviews. Rolling Stone said the musicians have "a great back-story" and "one of the most aggressively obnoxious debut albums in recent memory." Ouch! Despite the negative attention, the pair did achieve see some success with its singles "Hello" and "Brokenhearted."

More recent videos released to the Karmin VEVO channel have yet to hit one million views (By comparison, "Brokenhearted" has more than 34 million views). Karmin's original YouTube channel still has more than 1.5 million subscribers, but its newer offerings rarely attract more than 100,000 views, and the makeup tutorial series inspired by its Leo Rising album was a dud. There is still some interest in Karmin's covers, but even those videos aren't nearly as popular as their viral covers of yesterday.

Paul Vasquez

Before the internet made him famous, Paul Vasquez (known on YouTube as Yosemite Bear) attempted to launch a career in mixed martial arts, but he bowed out of that sport in 2005 with a record of one fight and one loss. In 2010, he posted a video to YouTube that became known as "Double Rainbow," and his fifteen minutes of fame began.

The clip went viral after late night host Jimmy Kimmel referred to it as "the funniest video in the world" in a tweet. Vasquez milked that exposure for as long as he possibly could, appearing in a 2011 Smart Water commercial with Jennifer Aniston and giving permission for his famous video to be played in the opening moments of the 2013 comedy We're the Millers.

Like all viral fads, people gradually lost interest, and while Vasquez is still super active on YouTube, he hasn't managed to attract anywhere near the 44.5 million views "Double Rainbow" clocked. In fact, he's lucky if he gets 100 views nowadays.

Antoine Dodson

For a short while, Antoine Dodson was the best thing to ever grace the internet, period. The Alabama resident overshadowed what was actually a really serious story (the alleged attempted rape of his sister by a home invader) with his animated interview on local news. When that interview was posted by comedy channel CrazyLaughAction, it blew up. The interview itself has logged views in excess of 65 million, though what really made Dodson famous was the auto-tune remix by schmoyoho, which has been viewed a staggering 136 million times and counting.

"When that video went viral, it totally changed my life," the accidental star told VladTV. "As far going outside to a dollar store or any store to get something small that should take like ten or fifteen minutes, I would pretty much be in that store for two or three hours taking photos."

Dodson tried to launch a career in music on the back of his newfound fame, but that didn't work out for reasons that should become obvious after 30 seconds of listening to his RnB channel. He later started his own personal channel and started doing some good old fashioned vlogging, but unfortunately for him, the viewership he likely expected didn't flock to the scene.