No. 10: Elizabeth Hendrickson, The Young and the Restless
Spunky fashionista Chloe Mitchell (Elizabeth Hendrickson) had more to obsess over in 2013, than whether or not a belt was on trend. When Chloe's daughter Delia died following a hit-and-run accident, Hendrickson came to life, portraying Chloe's rage at irresponsible ex-husband and baby daddy Billy Abbott (Billy Miller).
Hendrickson broke our hearts as Chloe struggled to get through each day. When she made the decision to donate her daughter's corneas to the ailing son of her best friend, Hendrickson skillfully revealed her character's agony. We weren't big fans of this ugly storyline overall, but there's no denying Hendrickson did beautiful work.
No. 9: Robin Mattson and Kathleen Gati (tie), General Hospital
No two soap stars provided more devilishly-comedic entertainment in 2013 than General Hospital's Robin Mattson and Kathleen Gati. As psychotic escape artist Heather Webber and deadly Dr. Liesl Obrecht respectively, Mattson and Gati were charged with acting out some of the most insane, over-the-top stories in the history of daytime television.
Both women managed to make you feel for their characters, by reminding viewers there were hurt, fragile souls underneath all of their malevolent antics. Heather Webber has been obsessed with motherhood since the early 80's. We should have suspected Franco (Roger Howarth) was her offspring, the way she started diabolically doting on him! Mattson proved capable of playing Heather equal parts farcical and Hitchcockian, as Heather transferred the devotion once reserved for Steven Lars onto Franco.
For her part, Gati vulnerably offered up the reason behind Obrecht's vile acts. She's in love! Cesar Faison (Anders Hove) will never look at Obrecht the way he does Anna Devane (Finola Hughes), which literally drives the doctor mad. Who can't relate to the pain of unrequited love?
No. 8: Debbi Morgan, All My Children
It's a pity Debbi Morgan tweeted she won't be submitting herself for Daytime Emmy consideration in 2014. We think the former All My Children favorite would be a shoe-in for a nod. As Dr. Angela Hubbard, Morgan lived out every mother's worst nightmare in 2013.
Angie's adopted daughter Cassie (Sal Stowers) was abducted from the airport and sold into sexual slavery. As if Cassie's ordeal wasn't horrifying enough for Angie, she also had to contend with the knowledge that her husband Jesse (Darnell Williams) was once again keeping things from her. Morgan had to realistically play out enough meaty material to fill eight Jodi Picoult novels during one brief AMC season, and did so with gusto. Starz new drama Power is lucky to have her among their cast.
No. 7: Kirsten Storms, General Hospital
Kirsten Storms has been a comedic cornerstone on General Hospital for years. The year 2013, however, turned out to be a heartbreaking one for Maxie Jones.
The generally plucky gal made some ghastly decisions this past year. After losing the baby she was carrying for Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Lulu (Emme Rylan)—and getting pregnant by Spinelli (Bradford Anderson)—Maxie decided to pass her own baby off as the one belonging to her friends.
As with most of Maxie's well-meant schemes, this one blew up in her adorable face, leaving all of her relationships in ruins. Maxie's logic for trying to give her own baby away was hard to follow, but each and every time Storms desperately revealed her character's motivation, sometimes with little more than a look, you couldn't help but understand why Maxie did what she did. Maxie may be off finding herself on screen, but in Storms, GH has already discovered its next outstanding supporting actress.
No. 6: Alison Sweeney, Days of Our Lives
Alison Sweeney doesn't get nearly as much credit as she deserves. As feisty Sami Brady, the actress has carried Days of Our Lives on her well-sculpted shoulders for well over a decade. Sure, she had more help than usual in 2013 (Hiya, Eileen!), but Sami's milkshake has been bringing the boys—and the ratings—to the yard for quite a while now.
The year 2013 found Sami reuniting with her soulmate/partner-in-crime EJ DiMera (James Scott) to the delight of droves of DAYS fans. The EJami sex scenes alone should net Sweeney and Scott slots on any 2013 Best list, yet both proved there was much more to their characters and coupling than sex this past year.
When Sami found herself facing life in prison for killing a dirty cop, she was forced to contemplate what life would be like away from EJ and her kids. Sweeney took DAYS watchers along for the volatile ride, as Sami attempted to process what was happening to her. We hope NATAS voters will finally give Sweeney the chance to be called The Biggest Winner come time for Daytime Emmy nominations.
No. 5: Finola Hughes, General Hospital
Fierce. No one word better sums up Finola Hughes' performance as Anna Devane in 2013. From facing off against Dr. Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) and storied nemesis Faison (Anders Hove), to reuniting with her believed-to-be-dead daughter Robin (Kimberly McCullough), the stylish ferocity of Hughes and Anna Devane had us glued to the tube anytime General Hospital was on.
No. 4: Heather Tom, The Bold and the Beautiful
Few actresses in daytime are as sure a bet as Heather Tom. The multiple Daytime Emmy winner is almost incapable of turning in a poor performance. The year 2013 was no exception, as Katie Logan Spencer suffered one betrayal after another on CBS Daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful.
Tom could have gone the easy route in playing the scorned wife, but she refused. Instead she served her character up on a plate, raw, cut up and opened wide by her own sister and husband.
It wasn't all teary eyes and "How Could Yous". Out of the ashes of Katie's marriage to Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) and her once-trusted relationship with Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) arose a Phoenix capable of giving as good as she'd been given.
When Katie teamed with Bill's sister Karen (Joanna Johnson) to take control of Spencer Publications, we were reminded of the late Beverlee McKinsey (Alex)blasting the late Michael Zaslow (Roger) on Guiding Light. Any lead actress in daytime hoping to snag a golden lady just may have to pry it out of Tom's hands.
No. 3: Maura West, General Hospital
Someone alert Dick Tracy. Breathless Mahoney is on the loose in Upstate New York!
Maura West recalled the brassy broads of Old Hollywood as mob queen Ava Jerome on General Hospital in 2013. We didn't think it was possible to love a character played by the actress more than we adored As The World Turns' Carly Snyder, but boy-oh-boy were we wrong!
On a soap known for its larger-than-life females, West quietly staked her claim to a piece of Port Charles landscape, slinking seductively in and out of scenes before people could realize she'd robbed them blind. Ava has done everything from botch a hit—shooting an innocent woman—to seducing a boy-man, but we're in no rush to see her pay for her crimes, especially if it means West would be off our screens for more than one red-hot minute.
No. 2: Kimberly McCullough, General Hospital
Kimberly McCullough returned to General Hospital in 2013 and with her came huge ratings. As presumed dead Dr. Robin Scorpio-Drake finally reunited with her friends, parents, stepdad, uncle and aunt, cousin and most importantly, Patrick (Jason Thompson) and Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer), GH fans were treated to old school soapy goodness.
Before all the family reunions, McCullough showcased a soapy skillset we didn't know she had. She proved to be damn good at action/adventure!
Who knew underneath the dutiful medical researcher, was a Robin up for battling terrorists, mad scientists and the like? She is her mother and father's daughter after all.
No. 1: Eileen Davidson, Days of Our Lives
We know soaps are well past the days of paying actors Lucci-size salaries, but if any soap queen deserves a pay raise in 2014, it's Eileen Davidson. This lady is so badass, she's coveted by not one, but two Sony-owned sudsers! As glad as we always are to see Ashley Abbott pop in for a visit on The Young and the Restless, it was Days of Our Lives where Davidson soared in 2013.
Fifteen years after Kristen Blake DiMera lost John Black (Drake Hogestyn) to principled Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), the bitch goddess returned to exact her revenge. Salem U.S.A didn't know what hit 'em.
Davidson looked like she was having a blast, as Kristen gleefully played with Doc and John's family. It was as if the Brady-Blacks were a chest full of toys given to Kristen by her father, Stefano DiMera (Joe Mascolo).
The stunning actress could go from delighting in Kristen's machinations, to being horrified at the thought of losing Brady (Eric Martsolf) in the same scene. Even as Kristen committed one of the most heinous acts in soap history by raping a priest, Davidson more than exhibited all this tragic creature truly wanted was to be loved. DAYS should give this woman whatever she wants to get Kristen back in Salem.