No. 10: William deVry, General Hospital
Storm Logan, who? Michael Cambias is so 2003. Hello, Julian Jerome! William deVry returned to soaps in 2013 as the latest General Hospital mob boss to challenge Sonny's (Maurice Benard) grip on Port Charles. He did so with swagger and charm.
The handsome actor sold Julian's concern for his secret grandson Danny and his mother, Sam (Kelly Monaco), the product of a one-night stand Julian had with a teenage Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn). He also masterfully drove home Julian's ruthless side, as he schemed to reclaim the city with his diabolical sister Ava (Maura West). With the mob war heating up, another secret offspring on his way home and Julian's unfinished business with Alexis, we can't wait to see what 2014 holds for The Talented Mr. deVry.
No. 9: Blake Berris, Days of Our Lives
Blake Berris makes being bad look oh-so-good on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Whether he's drawing Gabi (Camila Banus)—or one of his female cousins—in with those sad eyes and pouty lips, or plotting against Sami (Alison Sweeney), Kate (Lauren Koslow) and Will (Chandler Massey), you can't help but have a soft spot for troubled Horton grandson Nick Fallon.
In the hands of a lesser actor, Nick would be universally despised by this point. A homophobic, murderous, obsessed, attempted rapist, Nick is generally the type of character soap operas have end up ground to bits in a trash compactor. Well, they did try to drown the lad!
Berris manages to keep just a hint of humanity in Nick's eyes, no matter what unspeakable acts he's committing. We're hoping to see him keep up this delicate, psychosexual balancing act for seasons to come on DAYS.
No. 8: Bradford Anderson, General Hospital
Bradford Anderson has been a General Hospital gem for years, but in 2013 he was given his most powerful storyline to date. When quirky private dick Damian Spinelli found out he was the father of the baby Maxie (Kirsten Storms) planned to give Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Lulu (Emme Rylan), the actor revealed a much different side of Spinelli.
Gone was the silly geek, who had allowed Maxie to break his heart over and over again. In his place was a brutally hurt and angry young man, demanding to know how the woman he'd loved for so long could do something so heinous to him. We're sad to see him leave GH, but we have no doubt we'll one day be seeing the name "Bradford Anderson" in lights.
No. 7: Michael Muhney, The Young and the Restless
The rumors, Twitter drama and headlines surrounding Michael Muhney's exit from The Young and the Restless can't take away from the stellar work the actor did on the No. 1 sudser in 2013. This past year, Adam managed to finally form a bond with his father, Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) — only to lose the relationship by teaming up with Jack (Peter Bergman) yet again.
He also found out he was a father and accidentally killed his sister's stepdaughter. Heavy stuff.
No matter what the soap's writers threw at Adam, Muhney brought it. One minute he was the gleeful son, finally happy to find love in his father's eyes; the next he was a vengeful ex-husband, threatening to strip Chelsea (Melissa Claire Egan) of her parental rights.
Everything changed for Adam once he realized his son Connor might go blind. Would the "sins" of the father be passed down on the son?
Desperate and distracted, Adam was driving a little too fast down a dark Wisconsin highway when a horrifying tragedy occurred. Without so much as a line of dialogue, Muhney electrified the screen with Adam's realization of his culpability in Delia's death. It was as if the actor was playing multiple characters on the soap in 2013, all of whom managed to be thoroughly entertaining.
No. 6: Maurice Benard, General Hospital
Don't call it a comeback, Mo has been here for years! In a year that saw several new and old leading men arriving in fictional Port Charles, New York, Maurice Benard showed without a doubt that General Hospital is still his house!
We know, we know, GH is an ensemble show, but we can't imagine it without Sonny Corinthos. That lethal stare. The enraged, primal yell. Those dimples. All were on display in 2013, as Sonny dealt with enough tragedy to fill a volume of Greek plays.
Not many actors could keep a character so razor sharp, as he mourned the loss of his childhood sweetheart, plunged into a bipolar episode, found his business threatened, embarked on a promising new romance with an old flame and suffered the ultimate betrayal at the hands of his own son. Mo did all of those things and then some in 2013.
No. 5: Billy Miller, The Young and the Restless
Billy Miller was handed a gruesome tale to play in 2013, as Billy Abbott's daughter, Cordelia, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on The Young and the Restless. What made things worse, is Billy's own negligence was partly to blame for Delia's death.
Suddenly, Miller wasn't able to use his stable of "Billy" tricks — that wide, toothy grin, those delightfully-inappropriate wisecracks. None of that would work for a guilt-ridden father, hungry for justice and to escape the pain of losing a child.
Miller delved right in, taking us into the depths of Billy's despair. We watched as the once lovable rogue drowned in grief and shame, episode after episode, weeks stretching into months.
Honestly, we don't know how the guy did it without having a shrink on speed dial! But then again, there is a reason Daytime Confidential's Jillian Bowe christened him "Killer Miller".
No. 4: Vincent Irizarry, All My Children
Has there ever been a time when Vincent Irizarry wasn't entertaining in a role? We can't think of an instance. In 2013, the popular actor reprised Pine Valley's dastardly Dr. David Hayward on All My Children, only this time around David wasn't nearly as sinister or snarky.
Don't get us wrong, Doc Hayward was still able to get in several particularly nasty zingers at Jesse (Darnell Williams) and JR's (Ryan Bittle) expense, but it was the compassion he showed fellow physician Angie Hubbard (Debbi Morgan) that most impressed us.
No. 3: James Scott, Days of Our Lives
Beatles, schmeetles. The best gift England ever gave us is James Freaking Scott! As Days of Our Lives' dashing-but-deadly lead male character EJ DiMera, Scott was an integral part of several of daytime's best storylines in 2013.
Whether Elvis was risking it all for the woman he loves—the equally lethal Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney)—or having his bat-poop-crazy sister Kristen's (Eileen Davidson) back, Scott kept a tight rein on who his character is, what he's capable of and where he draws the line.
How can the same character be so loving with his myriad of children and stepchildren one minute, yet so terrifying the next? We still have chills when we think of EJ turning up on Adrienne's (Judi Evans) doorstep with the most well-mannered death threat we've ever witnessed!
Then there were the scenes where EJ begged his father, the indestructible Stefano DiMera (Joe Mascolo), to arrange for Sami to get a pass on killing a dirty cop. We've heard horror stories about plenty of egotistical thesps who would have refused to act out such a scenario, but Scott did it with panache. Now if Daytime Emmy voters will finally realize what Scott's legions of fans have known for years, this guy is the real deal.
No. 2: Jason Thompson, General Hospital
How many times have we seen an actor play the "I'm-moving-on-but-something-in-my-spirit-tells-me-my-wife-is-still-alive" shtick on soaps? If we actually took the time to count, we'd still be here when it came time to publish our 2014 Best and Worst lists.
Jason Thompson had the task of helping to sell a tried-and-true return from the dead storyline on General Hospital in 2013. As Dr. Patrick Drake grew closer with Nurse Sabrina Santiago (Teresa Castillo), he couldn't shake the feeling that his beloved "late" wife was somewhere out there. Probably because Dr. Robin Scorpio-Drake (Kimberly McCullough) most assuredly was alive and well, locked up in the lab where the Cassadines once figured out how to freeze the world!
Does it sound ludicrous? Well of course it does, but this soap excelled in the absurd during its early 1980's heyday, to the tune of the biggest ratings daytime has ever seen. Considering its significant ratings spikes this past year, GH was smart to add back in a little cray-cray...okay a LOT of cray-cray!
Thompson proved more than up to the task of being the straight man during this arc, leaving the action and adventure to McCullough, as Robin raced to get home to her loved ones. The actor quietly exemplified Patrick's struggle between Robin's "ghost" and an omnipresent Sabrina.
Was Patrick truly ready to move on? Then, at his wedding to Sabrina, one word changed the game — "Mommy".
When Patrick's daughter, Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer), spotted her mother at the back of the church, it was time for the money shot. Leave it to Thompson to put a fresh spin on a scene very familiar to soap fans. If you didn't get out of your seat and yelp when a shocked Patrick raced to Robin and planted that smooch, then you have a rock where a heart should be.
No. 1: Don Diamont, The Bold and the Beautiful
Remember the days when soaps would be mortally wounded by two or three veteran performers exiting? In 2013, The Bold and the Beautiful kept right on trucking without Susan Flannery or Ronn Moss, by refocusing the soap around Don Diamont.
As cocksure publishing tycoon Bill "Dollar Bill" Spencer, Diamont plays daytime television's only unapologetic scoundrel. Dollar Bill doesn't beg, whine or whimper to the women in his life. He beds them—and their sisters—while smoking a nice cigar and having a stiff drink!
The captain of industry received the bitter taste of his own medicine, when estranged wife Katie (Heather Tom)—angry that Bill had passed her over for nubile big sister Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang)—teamed with Bill's own sibling to oust him from his empire. Not one to be deterred, Bill used a near-death experience to con his way back into Katie's bedroom and the Spencer Publications boardroom.
Even though his power move was short-lived, a furious Brooke switched the contracts he had Katie sign with leaves, Bill never stops believing he has every right to do whatever he sees fit, and we love to hate him for it. Kudos to Diamont. The late Larry Hagman would nod his Stetson.