By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 22 2009 5:35 PM ET

By now it’s a given — pop icon (almost always a girl) releases a hit single, it gets in the hands of the gays, and before you go searching for remixes on LimeWire, somebody, somewhere, has uploaded their own version.

Fans have been singing along to their favorite songs and uploading the results to YouTube for years. But the video tribute — or, in some cases, step-for-step remake — is a relatively new phenomenon that exploded when Shane Mercado (followed by a slew of imitators) took on Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” But Mercado’s success didn’t begin and end on YouTube — talk show stints and even a red carpet date with Sasha Fierce herself followed.

And so did the gays.
 
Click to the next page to watch highlights from the many tributes, including songs by Miley Cyrus, Whitney Houston, Shakira, and Britney Spears. Some are goood, some questionable, but all of them keep us coming back for more.
 






Miley Cyrus — "Party in the U.S.A."

Five friends, a weekend in Fire Island, and some spare time ... who’d have predicted Perez Hilton would find and post the video and Miley herself would become “obsessed” with watching it.

“After an hour or so of regrets, I realized that we are just a group of guys having a summer of sun, fun, and Miley,” Ryan Slyper, who didn’t know the song and had to be fed his lines, says of making the video. “It's all fun and games until you are rolling around the beach in a Speedo lip-synching for your life."
 




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Shakira — “She Wolf”

Nineteen-year-old violin performance major Andrew Foster wasn’t even a fan of Shakira's when he stripped down to his Calvins and filmed his take on “She Wolf.”

Maybe that’s why he was so surprised when the video was flagged for adult content by YouTube. But before the warnings went up, Foster got his fair share of feedback.

“One of the first comments posted, probably within 10 minutes of my posting it, was ‘most disturbing thing I’ve ever masturbated to,’” he says. “I got a kick out of that.”
 






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Whitney Houston — “Million Dollar Bill”

Whitney Houston’s big comeback album hadn’t even hit stores yet when a group of gays from Asbury Park, N.J., grabbed some wadded-up cash and square-cuts for their tribute to the queen of R&B.

Whitney probably loved it. After all, she says to this day, one of her favorite performing experiences in her entire career was the Pier Dance at New York City Pride.
 




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Britney Spears — “3”

Words cannot describe what’s going on in this newcomer to the scene, a tribute to Britney’s latest song, “3.”

Of course, a year ago, when someone paid tribute to “Circus” using nothing but a shower and a towel, we were left a bit speechless too.


 

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“Single Ladies” — Beyoncé

And, of course, no collection of video tributes would be complete without the one that started the craze — Shane Mercado’s “Single Ladies.”

Mercado even got to meet Beyoncé — on the red carpet for her film Cadillac Records.

“She came up to me and she was like, ‘Are you the guy with that hot outfit? You’re very talented.’”

The video even led to some dance jobs and club appearances — and a paid gig to teach an entire town the moves.