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Religion and royals: TODAY.com's 11 most-watched videos of 2011

TODAY.com posted nearly 8,000 videos in 2011. They were an eclectic mix, ranging from covering the devastating tsunami to cooking a delicious tiramisu, from Coldplay performing on the plaza to our anchors playing with cold snow.You cheered Osama bin Laden's death and were captivated by the homeless man with a golden voice. Royalty and religion reigned and Charla Nash, the chimp-attack victim, reve

TODAY.com posted nearly 8,000 videos in 2011. They were an eclectic mix, ranging from covering the devastating tsunami to cooking a delicious tiramisu, from Coldplay performing on the plaza to our anchors playing with cold snow.

You cheered Osama bin Laden's death and were captivated by the homeless man with a golden voice. Royalty and religion reigned and Charla Nash, the chimp-attack victim, revealed her new face.

Here are the 11 most-watched TODAY.com videos from the past year.

1. Details on US raid that killed bin Laden

May 2: Osama bin Laden was killed during a gun battle with Navy SEALs and CIA paramilitary forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near that nation’s capital. NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski has the details on the raid.

2. Homeless man with golden voice ‘thankful to be here’

Jan. 6: Panhandling only days before appearing on TODAY, Ted Williams expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support he’s received since becoming a YouTube sensation, and says he’s found “a new sense of spirituality.”

3. Chimp attack victim’s new face revealed

Aug. 11: Charla Nash, who was mauled by her friend’s pet chimpanzee in 2009, has undergone a groundbreaking face and double hand transplant. Her brother Stephen and daughter Briana talk about her remarkable recovery and show pictures revealing her new face. 

4. Video shows devastating Japan earthquake

March 11: NBC’s Anne Thompson reports on the massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Friday, igniting fires across the nation and causing a devastating tsunami that threatens Hawaii and the United States’ West Coast.

5. Prince William, bride celebrate with a kiss

April 29: Royal newlyweds Prince William and Princess Catherine follow the tradition of showing their affection in front of a crowd of well-wishers at Buckingham Palace.

 

6. Biblical proportion: Dutch man replicates Noah’s Ark

June 22: On the banks of a small river in the Netherlands, Johan Huibers has constructed a real-life Noah's Ark, built to biblical scale using the ancient measure of cubits – an arm’s length, elbow to fingertip.

7. US forces hunt down, kill Osama bin Laden

May 2: Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, is killed by United States Navy SEALs and CIA paramilitary forces in an attack on his Pakistan compound. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

8. Dazed actress escorted off stage

Sept. 24: Actress Kim Delaney had to be ushered off-stage during a gala honoring Robert Gates after she struggled to give a rambling speech, fueling fears that her past substance abuse demons may have surfaced. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

9. Prince William shakes off nerves with humor

April 29: The royal groom shows his humorous side at the altar and gives his bride a wink and some smiles during their wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

10. Overslept? Watch royal wedding recap in 3 min.

April 29: From Duchess Kate’s walk down the aisle to her kiss with Prince William, TODAY relives the fairy-tale wedding of the royals.

11.‘Pops’ had ‘huge wings’ in heaven, boy says

March 21: Colton Burpo, 11, and his parents say the boy visited heaven during a near-death experience, where he sat on Jesus’ lap and met his great-grandfather and the sister his mother miscarried.

The most popular text pieces of 2011 on TODAY.com mostly matched the list above.The royal wedding was your favorite by far. Stories about the boy who says he visited heaven and the man with the golden voice came in second and third place, respectively.

And who could forget the image in the heartwrenching piece about a dog mourning at the casket of a fallen Navy SEAL? That was the fourth most clicked story, while singer Amy Winehouse being found dead in London came in fifth.

What will you remember most about 2011? And what was your favorite TODAY video from the past year? Let us know in the comments below.

More on TODAY.com:

Watch TODAY's annual year-ender recapping 2011

Vote: What was your favorite TODAY moment of the year?

Images: The Year in Pictures | Vote for the top shot

Video: Oops! TODAY’s funniest bloopers

TODAY meets 2011's top Internet sensations

Steve Veres is an editor for TODAY.com. His favorite TODAY video from the year was when Matt skied down a Skeleton Coast sand dune on the first day of his Where in the World trip. That looked like so much fun!