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Don’t know what Musical.ly is? Congratulations! You have just outed yourself as An Old. The two-year-old app is among the most popular social media platforms right now—although the bulk of its 70 million-odd users are in the teen- and pre-teen demographic.
Musical.ly allows users—or “musers”—to upload 15-second videos of themselves lip-syncing to popular songs, speeding up or slowing down movements and adding filters to turn the clip into an easy-to-make music video. Singers, dancers, cheerleaders, and comedians also show off their skills using the format—to the tune of 11 million videos uploaded per day. It’s not just the app’s numbers that are staggering, though: it’s also created veritable stars out of regular teens with access to a front-facing camera. The most popular user, a 15-year-old Floridian who goes by the name Baby Ariel, has nearly 13 million followers—which to many young fans means she’s basically Taylor Swift Jr..
Naturally, this kind of a fanbase eventually extends to other other platforms—which, for the uninitiated, could explain all those times you’ve come across a seemingly random high schooler on Instagram whose selfies elicit hundreds of thousands of “likes.” So, just who are the kids stealthily taking over the internet? We’ve put together a handy guide to some of the top musers below.
You’ll have to download the app to follow them—there’s no web-based version—but most use the same username on Instagram, so we’ve linked out to those accounts below.
Lisa and Lena
If we learned anything from Mary-Kate and Ashley, it’s that tweens love a pair of blonde, smiley identical twins (well, technically MK and A were fraternal, but close enough). These 14-year-old Stuttgart natives fit the bill perfectly with their coordinating outfits and choreographed dance moves, and with every lip sync video, their fan count climbs higher into the millions.
The app’s resident 13-year-old heartthrob, Sartorius has built a massive following across Vine, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram—but none quite as impressive as his Musical.ly fanbase. His debut single, “Sweatshirt,” made it into the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release this year (sample lyric: “So baby if you are not ready for my kiss / Then you can wear my sweatshirt”) and he’s been on the road touring the country for Magcon, the Internet’s multi-stop meet-and-greet convention.
One of Musical.ly’s first homegrown stars, the 15-year-old skyrocketed to the top of its charts early on. She’s since appeared on “Good Morning America” (explaining what the hell the hosts’ kids are doing lip syncing into their phones every day) and, according to an interview with Tech Insider this summer, recently switched to online classes to accommodate her busy touring, award show, and media schedule.
@tharealversace (Instagram @jayversace)
This New Jersey teen is an aspiring actor, and he uses the platform to show off his comedy skills. Fader called him “the funniest teenager on the internet” thanks to his pitch-perfect impressions and simple yet effective skits using just his over-the-top facial expressions and the occasional wig.
This Canadian muser has some serious selfie skills, and she’s parlayed her expressive face and perfectly-groomed eyebrows into a massive following and gigs like streaming live from the MTV VMA red carpet.
This social-media star has achieved the most mainstream fame of anyone on this list (he’s also the only one old enough to drink). Apart from his videos on Vine, YouTube, and now Musical.ly, he’s starred in Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign, appeared in several feature films, and taken home several Teen Choice Awards.
The 13-year-old “Dance Moms” star has a penchant for gigantic hair bows and a hit music video on YouTube (her song “Boomerang” has more than 70 million views).
This 16-year-old dancer-singer already has several music videos (as in, ones with a director, cast, and choreographer) under her belt, but on Musical.ly she shares homemade lip syncs and dance videos from the rehearsal room.
@raddestredhead (Instagram @ballerinamackenzie)
Using the sidewalk outside her house as a stage, this redheaded ballerina shows off impressive choreography, sometimes featuring guest appearances from dancer friends.