No. 10: Don Diamont, The Bold and the Beautiful
It takes panache to play a royal douchebag A-hole like The Bold and the Beautiful’s Bill "Dollar Bill" Spencer. Good thing The Young and the Restless refugee Don Diamont has panache for days!
Diamont's ever-present charisma—generally exhibited via a poop-eating-grin— turned what could have been unforgiveable instances for his character (Scheming against Hope and Liam; kissing his postpartum depression-suffering wife's big sister), into opportunities to shine in 2012. No longer does this actor deserve to be called "just another pretty boy" like he was during his early years on Y&R. Sure, the Stallion is still hella pretty, but he can also act.
No. 9: Jerry verDorn, One Life to Live
While for many One Life to Live fans, the late Clint Ritchie will always be Clint Buchanan, former Guiding Light icon Jerry verDorn more than made the role his own during the soap's final season on ABC. Although OLTL was only on the air for a handful of episodes in 2012, verDorn's stellar performance, as Clint faced mortality, paternity and destiny with Viki Lord (Erika Slezak), made him quite deserving of a spot on this list. Prospect Park better cast verDorn in their planned OLTL reboot, or there will be Texas-sized hell to pay!
No. 8: James Scott, Days of Our Lives
As Days of Our Lives' EJ DiMera in 2012, James Scott masterfully flirted with ex-stepson-turned-weapon-of-choice Will Horton (Chandler Massey); struggled with the fact that Stefano (Joe Mascolo) wasn't his father (He was all along!); dealt with the death of his beloved sister and conscience Lexie Carver (Renee Jones) and realized that in the end, he would still hang over the edge for one Samantha Jean Brady (Alison Sweeney).
We've given Scott a bit of grief for scenery-chewing over the years. However, in 2012, all we could feel was jealous of any set piece lucky enough for him to nibble on.
No. 7: Brandon Barash, General Hospital
If you think James Scott had too much to contend with as DAYS' EJ in 2012, you obviously weren't watching General Hospital. On that sudser, seemingly-reformed mob prince Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash) tried to kill his father—we mean grandfather—failed, but killed a Llanview teen mom's family instead! He later succeeded in offing his campy Paw Paw, only to be blackmailed into a marriage of inconvenience by a style icon's even campier alternate personality.
The aforementioned scenarios would have resulted in a hot, steaming mess in lesser hands, but not with Barash, easily one of daytime's Most Valuable Players, in the role. Joey Tribbiani wouldn't have learned any fart-smelling techniques from this guy in 2012. Instead, he would have garnered how a truly talented thespian takes insanely-outlandish set ups and plays them for each and every emotional beat possible. Brava, Mr. Barash.
No. 6: Sean Kanan, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful
Sean Kanan is the only guy on this list who can rightfully claim being hella entertaining on not one, not two, but three daytime soaps in 2012! He kicked off the year by wrapping up an arc as Deacon Sharpe on The Young and the Restless. Later in the year, Kanan reprised Deacon on the character's soap of origin The Bold and the Beautiful.
In a blink-and-you-missed it plot twist, Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) sprung Hope Logan's (Kimberly Matula) father from prison to ruin her wedding to Bill's son Liam (Scott Clifton). While Kanan was barely used by B&B, his scenes opposite Matula proved to be some of the best character moments the heroine has ever been afforded. He also provided Diamont with what could have been a worthy opponent for B&B's 2.0 leading man title. Why Brad Bell didn't sign Kanan to a longterm contract right then and there, we'll never know!
SoCal's loss was Port Charles' gain when Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati made the smart decision to invite Kanan back as presumed dead, bad seed AJ Quartermaine on General Hospital. With AJ back, the Q's were finally front and center again in 2012. Kanan fit right in like he never left. Does anyone else notice their television set crackling when he shares scenes opposite Jane Elliot, who plays AJ's aunt and rival for the family fortune, Tracy Quartermaine?
Kanan's return as AJ has also accomplished what we previously thought unimaginable, it's causing Chad Duell to relax enough in scenes to turn in solid performances as Quartermaine/Corinthos heir Michael. Jason (Steve Burton), who?
No. 5: Michael Easton, General Hospital
Cartini's decision to bring Michael Easton’s John McBain to General Hospital was one of daytime's best power plays of 2012. Immensely popular on One Life to Live, fans also fondly recalled his time on General Hospital spinoff Port Charles as Caleb, opposite of Kelly Monaco’s Livvie. This time lightning did in fact strike twice. Easton and Monaco proved just as hot together on GH,as they had playing a rock-n-rollin' vampire and his fang banger on PC all those years ago. We can't wait to see vampire slayer-turned-CEO Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) get a load of those two on this side of Port Charles!
Don't think the silent-but-studly Easton was a one trick pony on GH. McBain's stint in Port Charles' mortal realm also had us wondering what a mentor/mentee sexual match-up between Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) and McBain might have looked like in 2012. This can't be the same character we called McSnore and McBore when he was on OLTL, can it? Again, Jason (Steve Burton), who?
No. 4: Doug Davidson, The Young and the Restless
For the better part of a decade, daytime's best male crier, Doug Davidson rode the bench on The Young and the Restless.This was strange, since his popular, P.I. character Paul Williams had previously and consistently driven story on the soap throughout the late 70's, 80's, 90's and early 00's. Of course there's always a changing of the guard on soaps, but when 70-something Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) is still getting a new trophy wife each year, we felt there was still room for Paul to get some action!
We got our wish in 2012, as Paul found himself experiencing new love with Nina (the always brilliant Tricia Cast), coping with a psychotic son and kissing ex-flame Cricket Blair (Lauralee Bell). The plot twist that found Paul having to kill his own son, Ricky (Peter Porte), was the ugliest scene we'd witnessed play out since, well, the last ugly scene written by Maria Arena Bell and her team, but the actors made it work.
The harrowing image of Davidson begging Ricky to drop the huge knife the nutjob planned to use to off Eden (Jessica Heap) will stay with us for awhile. Here's hoping Daytime Emmy voters will be as horrified-yet-impressed as we were.
No. 3: Chandler Massey, Days of Our Lives
The most compelling story Days of Our Lives has told in years has been Will Horton's journey as a young gay man in the fictional burb of Salem, U.S.A. Twentysomething actor Chandler Massey managed to more than hold his own with veteran scene partners like Deidre Hall (Marlena), Alison Sweeney (Sami), James Scott (EJ) and Bryan Dattilo (Lucas), as Will's story took center stage in 2012. With Massey's deft, emotionally-transparent performances, he proved himself to be one of DAYS'—and daytime's—hottest commodities.
Whether dealing with being awkwardly outed to his cop grandpa in order to beat a murder change, or dealing with his complicated feelings for poster child of gay self-acceptance Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith), Massey brought it. DAYS better make sure this Daytime Emmy winner is locked into an ironclad, years-long contract, because Lord knows they need him.
No. 2: Jason Thompson, General Hospital
Jason Thompson has long been a talented member of General Hospital’s cast, but the “death” of Dr. Patrick Drake’s great love Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) allowed the actor to really shine in 2012. Thompson surgically removed our hearts right from our chests, sans anesthesia, as he explored the depths of Patrick's grief over Robin.
Who can forget his shell-shocked countenance at Robin's funeral? As Patrick began popping pills to deal with the pain of his loss, Thompson was able to provide a more reserved, and somehow much more believable, version of the standard soap opera addiction storyline. Who knew death would become him so well?
No. 1: Roger Howarth, One Life to Live and General Hospital
We here at Daytime Confidential would like to take a moment to ask daytime's most awesomely-rad fellow Roger Howarth to beg us a thousand pardons for all the shittake mushrooms we gave him during his regrettable stint on As The World Turns. In 2012, Howarth was everything right about daytime soap operas.
First during One Life to Live's final weeks on ABC Daytime, then crossing over to General Hospital as roguish, publishing tycoon Todd Manning, Howarth was without a doubt the medium's most entertaining male performer of the year. Forget that drippy love story by Molly Lansing (Haley Pullos); Disney's Hyperion imprint needs to publish a book of Todd's one-liners! Seriously, the first five seasons of The Golden Girls didn't have as many laugh-out-loud zingers.
Not that Todd and/or Howarth only existed in Port Charles for comic relief last year. During the poisoned water saga, we saw our man show and prove in action hero mode. We also witnessed him wrestle with tremendous guilt over having switched Tea (Florencia Lozano) and Sam's (Kelly Monaco) babies, not to mention knowing that Johnny (Brandon Barash), not Connie (Kelly Sullivan), killed his daughter's loved ones.
Perhaps what we loved most about Howarth's portrayal of Todd in 2012 was the slight redemption he found with kindred spirit Carly Corinthos-Jacks (Laura Wright). If anyone knows what it's like to feel intense remorse after taking a bulldozer to the lives of many, it's Carly. Let's hope these two turn out to be as amazingly-entertaining as lovers as they have been friends.