No. 10: Shenell Edmonds, One Life to Live
One Life to Live made the wise decision to give Todd's (Trevor St. John) bulky bodguard Shaun (Sean Ringold) a family of his own to protect and spar with in 2009. As Shaun's straight-shooting kid sister Destiny, daytime newcomer Shenell Edmonds has proven to be quite the refreshing departure from the stick thin, fair-skinned teens who populate most daytime soaps. The chemistry Edmonds shares with Ringold and the rest of the actors who make up the Evans clan is a ready one, not to mention the fact that Destiny's heartbreaking devotion to Matthew Buchanan (Eddie Alderson) makes you remember when love was young, surprising and oh-so-bittersweet.
No. 9: Evan Alex Cole, As the World Turns
When Hunter first appeared in Oakdale, the far-fetched character not surprisingly inspired a few groans from the As The World Turns watchers on the Daytime Confidential staff, who have long been on newbie overload where this particular soap is concerned. Imagine our collective surprise when Hunter's protrayer, Evan Alex Cole, managed to win us over? The handsome, talented Cole made the clutzy, awkward Hunter an endearing addition to Oakdale's dysfunctional Stewart clan, managing to find a kindred spirit in Hunter's newfound sister/aunt Alison (Marnie Schulenburg), and eventually common ground with bio Emily (Kelley Menighan Hensley). By the time Hunter started crushing on fan fave Maddie Coleman (Alexandra Chando) we found ourselves quite pleased with the addition of this refreshing Stewart man.
No. 8: Zack Conroy, Guiding Light
It ought to be against the law for an actor to be as equally talented as he is good looking. Zack Conroy is one of those actors who is just so gosh darned pretty, he almost wouldn't need to know how to act, and we would still love him. What an added bonus that the young man also had the chops to hold his own opposite daytime veterans like Grant Alexander, Beth Chamberlin, Ron Raines and Marj Dusay, when he made his soap debut as James Spaulding on Guiding Light in 2009. Conroy's spot on portrayal of the disaffected scion of Springfield's wealthiest clan—where he even made Bonnie Dennison's Daisy tolerable— was short-lived, as the Light was turned off by CBS last September, but we won't so forget Conroy's subtle performance (Or any thing else about him for that matter!). It's a good thing we can now watch him on The Bold and the Beautiful.
No. 7: Lexie Ainsworth, General Hospital
Many General Hospital fans cringed a little when we heard all of Sonny's (Maurice Benard) kids were being SORAS'ed in 2009. What were the odds we wouldn't want to poke our eyes out after watching a bunch of what would no doubt be lame soap teens in a never ending episode of Sonny Knows Best? Guess we should have had a little more faith in GH casting director Mark Teschner, because the kids are more than alright! One of the youngsters, Lexie Ainsworth, had the sizeable task of bringing to life a teenage Kristina Corinthos Davis, the love child Sonny shares with his onetime attorney Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn). Someone give Teschner a bonus, because this girl can ACT! As if standing firm in scenes opposite daytime powerhouses like Benard and Grahn wasn't enough, Ainsworth is also helping to relaunch GH's long tradition of socially-relevant storytelling featuring teens, as Kristina endures a ripped-from-the-headlines abusive relationship with her first real boyfriend. While we can't wait to see someone treat that douchebag Kiefer the way he's been treating Kristina—and for this ugly, depressing tale to be over with— there's no denying Ms. Ainsworth is doing the work of a thespian twice her age.
No. 6: Kelley Missal, One Life to Live
It's a no brainer that the child of Todd Manning (Trevor St. John) and Tea Delgado (Florencia Lozano) would be a mix of strong personalities, coupled with an unflnching passion to get her own way. Danielle Rayburn, as portrayed by Kelley Missal, has been conveying those attributes and more since her 2009 debut on One Life to Live. While Massel was only on our screens a short time as 2009 drew to a close, the actress exploded onto the canvas from her first scenes opposite Eddie Alderson's Matthew. Throw in Lozano, and later St. John, and the situation became truly combustable! In the capable, young hands of Massel we have no doubt Danielle— wait, excuse us, Daniella— will contine to prove she's her parents' daughter for years to come.
No. 5: Amanda Setton, One Life to Live
How do you solve a problem like Stacy Morasco (Crystal Hunt)? One Life to Live did it by casting Gossip Girl's Amanda Setton as Stacy's best friend, the unflappable Kim Andrews. With a wink, a nod and a purse full of one-liners, Setton as Kim quickly won over OLTL fans when she made her debut last year. Not only that, she single-handedly helped to make Stacy, not only bearable, but dare we say it, enjoyable.
No. 4: Drew Garrett, General Hospital
Drew Garrett had quite the mythological task on his hands when took over the role of Michael Corinthos III from fan favorite Dylan Cash in 2009. This was a recast many fans didn't want to see happen, as Cash was long expected to grow up in the role, much like Kimberly McCullough had as Robin Scorpio. However, it didn't take long for Garrett to have fans eating their message board complaints. Reminiscent of both a young Steve Burton, and Jonathan Jackson, Garrett has driven story every since arriving in Port Charles. Last year Michael woke up from his gunshot-induced coma to deal with the ramifications of his lost year, complete with a gnarly impulse control problem. This was displayed effortlessly by Garrett's impressive, intense range of emotions during every scene he was in last year. One minute Garrett was portraying Michael as a typical teenage boy, wanting to drive fast and hang out with his siblings. The next he was a raging, borderline sociopath, terrifying even his mother, Carly Corinthos Jacks (Laura Wright), a woman who knows from crazy. With the aftermath of his character's stepmother Claudia's (Sarah Brown) death— which Michael caused while defending his mother and newborn sister— set to play out well into 2010, we don't see things slowing down for Garrett anytime soon, and we couldn't be more thrilled.
No. 3: Michael Muhney, The Young and the Restless
It isn't an easy task to take over a role admid swirling controversy. That's exactly what Michael Muhney had to accomplish when he took over the part of Adam Wilson/Victor Newman Jr. from Chris Egen, just as the character was about to embark on a much-discussed gay seduction on The Young and the Restless last year. In 2009 Muhney gave the sneaky, conniving black sheep of the Newman clan a new edge, and a snarky sense of humor. Muhney didn't play Adam with a visible discomfort over the character's unspeakable acts as his predecessor had, instead the professonal jumped right in, comitting to Adam's every wicked stunt. Muhney managed to transform the character from a moody, emo, sorta-sicko, into a classic, love-to-hate soap villain. While we are are more than ready to see Adam get what's coming to him, we cautiously think the character can be redeemed in the grand tradition of former Genoa City nutjobs like Phyllis (Michelle Stafford), Michael (Christian Le Blanc) and Kevin (Greg Rikaart)—that is if Maria and Co. don't take the character too much farther over to the dark side— and that is all due to the Talented Mr. Muhney.
No. 2: Brett Claywell, One Life to Live
He may have started out as a throway character caught in the middle of David Vickers' (Tuc Watkins) DNA drama and Stacy Morasco's (Crystal Hunt) schemes as amoral lab tech Kyle Lewis, but in less than a year, One Tree Hill grad Brett Claywell made a place from himself in the hearts of One Life to Live fans. As an out gay man, whose first love, police officer Oliver Fish (Scott Evans), not only wouldn't accept the fact that he was gay,but even shunned the memory of their frat boy love, Claywell, alongside Evans (who has been on OLTL since 2008) brought intensity, integrity and honesty to gay storytelling on daytime, helping to set OLTL far apart from the pack of soaps who have attempted gay love stories and failed out of fear.Who will ever forget Kyle declaring his love for Fish at Llanview's Big Gay Group Wedding ceremony? We certainkly won't.
No. 1: Dominic Zamprogna, General Hospital
It was the most sought after role for an actor in daytime in at least a decade. In 2009, General Hospital was casting the secret, first born son of one of the soap's most notorious characters, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard). Everyone from Guiding Lightbreakout Tom Pelphrey to Young and Restless alum David Lago, were said to be slated to assume the role of the mafia don's cop son, but in the end, the role went to soap newcomer Dominic Zamprogna, a man who resembled Benard in stature and mannerisms, but more importantly could act his sexy behind off! Whether squaring off with Carly (Laura Wright) and her kids in the woods outside Sonny's house, flirting with Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) or selling the audience on the fact that wise talking Olivia Falconeri (Lisa Lo Cicero) from Bensonhurst was his Ma— even though they look to be about two years apart in age— Zamprogna proved that sometimes its okay to go with a fresh face over a soap name, but only if Mark Teschner is doing the casting. (You hear that Y&R?)