No. 10: Scott Clifton, The Bold and the Beautiful
Our fondness of Scott Clifton goes all the way back to his debut role in daytime as Dillon Quartermaine on General Hospital. We enjoyed his performance as Schuyler Joplin on One Life to Live, but wish the character hadn’t ended up in such a state of disarray. When he arrived at The Bold and the Beautiful in 2010, Clifton quickly established Liam as one of B&B’s must watch next generation.
However, it was in 2011 that Clifton’s Liam was really front and center. Whether being told lies by Amber (Adrienne Frantz), falling head over heels in love with Hope (Kim Matula) or manipulated into marriage by Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood), Liam was one in-demand man. While we didn’t buy Liam’s turn-on-a-dime willingness to abandon Hope in favor of Steffy, Clifton did his best to sell it to viewers.
It wasn’t just opposite the young adult cast that Clifton excelled. He held his own with The Bold and the Beautiful’s heavyweights and even did some of the heavy lifting in scenes with other B&B veterans. We can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for this talented actor.
No. 9: James Scott, Days of Our Lives
James Scott has been helping drive story on Days of Our Lives since his SORASed EJ arrived in Salem in 2006. Since then, he’s both impressed and disappointed us, as his acting choices swung like a pendulum between emotionally powerful to over-the-top. In 2011, Scott seems to have found much more of a balance. With Taylor, (Natalia Livingston) we caught a glimpse of EJ’s softer side. With Nicole, (Arianne Zucker) he conveyed EJ’s humor and passion. Not unexpectedly, Sami (Alison Sweeney)–the mother of his children–brought out both the best and worst in EJ, which was right up Scott’s alley. Delivering a convincing performance during the Fake Rafe (Galen Gering) storyline proved more challenging for Scott than Alison Sweeny. While not his best work, Scott was successful in avoiding many, but not all of the opportunities to detour into the over-the-top world, of which he's been a victim in the past. Through everything Scott still maintained EJ’s devilish bad boy persona he's perfected.
As 2012 dawns, we look forward to seeing whether-or-not Scott will be able to continue walking the fine line he balanced in 2011.
No. 8: John-Paul Lavoisier, One Life to Live
2011 was the year of John-Paul Lavoisier! We were treated to a whole new range of Rex Balsom and loved every minute of it. Shane’s bullying story allowed JPL to show fans how Rex hurt and agonized for his son. When Shane (Austin Williams) attempted to take his own life, we felt we were up there on the roof with Rex, Gigi (Farah Fath) and Shane. JPL conveyed every bit of loss, anger and despair perfectly when Rex took the love of his life Gigi off life support only to donate her heart to the father he hates, Clint Buchanan (Jerry verDorn). However, it was Rex’s revenge against his father that made us truly stand up and take notice of JPL in 2011. We couldn’t help but root for Rex when he set out to make Clint and Todd Manning (then Trevor St. John) pay for their crimes against Gigi by taking their money and power. This was most certainly John Paul’s year and we applaud you, sir.
No. 7: Steve Burton, General Hospital
For those who say Steve Burton can only display one emotion, you're wrong. This year, Burton did more with a single look than Academy-Award nominee James Franco did with his numerous stints on General Hospital. Many daytime thespians tend to go in "over the top" mode and overact when given a storyline dealing with the death of a loved one. When Burton's Jason Morgan learned his only son Jake was a victim of a hit-and-run driver, he went against the grain of being overly dramatic. The actor’s subtle display of a grief-stricken father who lost his first-born shows how much of a hidden threat Burton is with his daytime counterparts. Burton held his own and more while his character had a showdown with Tony Geary's Luke Spencer. Torn between taking the life of the man who recklessly killed his son, or letting him live with the guilt, Burton's portrayal not only showed viewers how much it ate at him to let the aging Peter Pan of Port Charles get off, it rocked them to the core.
No. 6: Darnell Williams, All My Children
Darnell Williams delivered amazing performances this past year. Jessie Hubbard’s realization that the daughter he just helped his blind wife Angie (Debbi Morgan) deliver had died, was absolutely heartbreaking. When Jessie made an equally heartbreaking and painful decision to replace their dead daughter with a baby that had been left behind, Williams left All My Children fans in tears. We’ve seen Darnell Williams put out some pretty good stuff, but 2011 had us cheering Jessie and Angie on!
No. 5: Tony Geary, General Hospital
Despite Luke Spencer being behind the wheel of the car that ran down our beloved Jake Morgan, this particular storyline gave the faithful GH fan a glimpse of the Tony Geary we love so much. His raw, heart and gut wrenching scenes surrounding Jake’s death, the realization that he was at fault and Luke’s denial of being an alcoholic are the scenes we want to see at Emmy time. The stand-alone episode centered on Luke’s intervention was a GH we only get to see from time to time these days, and something only Tony Geary and crew could pull off.
No. 4: Billy Miller, The Young and the Restless
Billy Miller is the next generation of The Young and The Restless. Miller proves every time he graces any scene that he can hang with the best of them and handle anything that is given to him. The actor has held his own, and then some, more times than we can count in 2011 with powerhouses Eric Braeden and Peter Bergman. It only shows why he's earned the nickname, "Killer Miller" by DC's Jillian Bowe. During the dreadful Myanmar storyline, Miller sold us on his character’s confliction of being away from his wife and baby girl. The actor is quickly becoming a member of the Kim Zimmer school of "Turning shit to sugar" whenever he's handed a turd of a storyline. It was a huge shock when Miller decided to exit Y&R this year, due to contract negotiations, but we can't blame him. His skills are needed for primetime and thank goodness shows such as Justified and Ringer decided to harness them. Praise the Soap Gods YR Showrunner Maria Arena Bell came to her senses and renegotiated with the actor.
No. 3: Jonathan Jackson, General Hospital
If we were Jonathan Jackson, we’d be exhausted too! Lucky Spencer has been around the world and back again, all while Jackson has given fans some phenomenal performances. When Lucky agreed to raise Jake Morgan as his own, he took the job very seriously. Therefore, when he lost his son, Jonathan Jackson made fans hurt with his character, not for him. When Lucky confronted Luke (Tony Geary) for being the one who ran down his little boy, we were reminded why Tony Geary needed his cowboy back in the saddle. General Hospital is making a grave mistake by not coming to some compromise to retain Jackson and his talent.
No. 2: Jacob Young, All My Children
When David Canary left Pine Valley as Adam Chandler, it was left to Jacob Young’s JR Chandler to bear the burden as head of the Chandler family. Jacob Young took the reigns and stepped up. Over the years, Young has provided us with more than a few memorable moments, but in 2011 he did some of his best work to-date. We watched with fascination as JR’s drinking and life spiraled out of control. Even though, when confronted by friends and family, he pushed them away, we were still pulling for JR to find his way.
Not even his mother’s, Dixie, (Cady McClain) return from the dead or a visit by his beloved dead wife Babe (Alexa Havins) was enough to get him back on course. In the end, JR wasn’t able to overcome the demons that plagued him and he pulled the trigger that was AMC’s cliffhanger. While we will never know who JR shot, we will never forget Jacob Young’s portrayal of his tragic character.
No. 1: Roger Howarth and Trevor St. John, One Life to Live
Two powerhouse actors and one incredible storyline brought One Life to Live and its fans to another level in 2011. Roger Howarth and Trevor St. John battled to be the Real Todd Manning, and in the process earned their spot as Daytime Confidential’s Male Entertainer(s) of the year.
Trevor St. John has undoubtedly been giving us top-notch performances for as long as we can remember, and his role in A Tale of Two Todd’s was no different. As Trevor’s Todd struggled to hide secrets from his family, St. John flawlessly portrayed a conflicted man who only wants to know the truth, before his family finds out. However, we knew the truth before he did, when Roger Howarth (complete with scar) appeared on our screens. Somehow, Howarth managed to shake off all that phoning in he did in Oakdale and get back to business as usual in Llanview. Through the summer, Roger’s Todd was hell bent on getting his family back from “Todd Manning”. His persistence eventually paid off as Roger and Trevor’s Todds met face to face, leaving their family in a state of shock. Before anything could be sorted out, Roger’s Todd ended up in jail.
While in the big house, Roger’s Todd finally spoke to his sister Viki (Erika Slezak) and daughter Starr (Kristen Alderson). The scenes with Viki were great, but it was Todd’s scenes with Starr where Howarth truly shined. It was like his version of Todd had never left. Eventually, Llanview’s only crime solver John McBain (Michael Easton) came through and found Todd Manning’s mustache twirling mother, Irene Manning (Barbara Rhoades), who was believed to be dead for well over 30 years, to name the true Todd Manning. She announced Roger’s Todd as the one and only Todd Manning, and Trevor’s Todd was his twin brother Victor Lord, Jr.. Howarth and St. John were so devastatingly good at feeding off each other’s every move during the big reveal. Victor didn’t take the news well and tried to lie to his immediate family about his true identity. The moment when Victor reluctantly admits the truth to his family was absolutely gut wrenching.
Shortly after, Victor was murdered and all fingers pointed to Todd. Tea (Florencia Lozano) managed to get him off for the murder, but internally, Todd began to remember that he actually murdered his brother. Howarth is doing a bang up job of portraying a vengeful, but slightly remorseful Todd Manning these last few weeks of One Life to Live. Our only wish is that Trevor St. John’s Victor was somehow still around to add another layer to the Todd saga.
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