Casey Moss, Days of Our Lives
The revelation JJ's (Casey Moss) impending fatherhood is a lie was riveting. Not only was JJ duped by the love of his life, but he was lied to by some of his family members. Moss made you feel how hurt and crushed JJ was by those closest to him knowing Lani's (Sal Stowers) lie and not lifting a finger to help. Sure, those pesky HIPAA rules were a factor, but Moss made viewers empathize with the idea of having the rules eased in this instance so he wasn't made a fool. Yes, Lani had a good reason for her lies, but Moss provided the rawness of learning someone so close could create a life-changing lie. Moss was fantastic and proves again why he's a contender in this year's Outstanding Younger Actor Daytime Emmy category. – Jillian Bowe
Beth Maitland, The Young and the Restless
There are few performers left on daytime who seamlessly flow in and out of their roles as easily as Beth Maitland. Even more, she captures viewers every single time. This week was no exception. Traci returned to attend the Walnut Grove reunion and present a scholarship in her late daughter Colleen's (Tammin Sursok) name. Her few minutes of airtime trumped everything I watched this week. That's the magic of Maitland. Every time she shares scenes with another character, she turns her soft delivery into an emotional sledgehammer. There's rarely a dry eye and her tribute to Colleen was no different. In the ultimate supporting role, Maitland has transformed Traci into the heart and soul of the Abbott family. Because of Colleen, she shares a special bond with J.T. (Thad Luckinbill). Every bad guy needs an ear and Traci is poised to be the one who can soften his hard edges. - Mike Jubinville
Honorable mention: Scott Clifton, The Bold and the Beautiful.
Max Gail, General Hospital
I had reservations when it was announced General Hospital was recasting the role of Sonny’s (Maurice Benard) father Mike Corbin with actor Max Gail. However, as Mike’s early onset Alzheimer/dementia storyline has played out Gail has impressed and haunted me. Haunted, because the way Gail delivers the look in Mike’s eyes, his struggle with memory and the flashes of clarity hits too close to home.
Much like this week’s 55 anniversary episode that interwove Mike’s journey with the show’s long history my own family gathered last June. My grandmother’s dementia had worsened and I knew going in that it would probably be the last time I saw her alive. It was, and I am so thankful that for the majority of the visit she remembered me. I’ll never forget the final look she gave me as we said goodbye and she told me to behave. Each and every day Gail’s portrayal of Mike’s struggle comes across as authentic. Mike and Sonny’s difficult scenes are all-to reminiscent of my grandmother and her daughter’s experience. As difficult as this story is for me to watch it is one of the few General Hospital is telling that truly captivates me. That wouldn’t be possible without Gail and Bernard organic father/son chemistry. Kudos to both. As this story continues I fully anticipate more performances by Gail and Bernard deserving of recognition. – Luke Kerr
Honorable Mention: Maurice Benard, General Hospital.