I came thisclose to drop-kicking I Wanna Be a Soap Star after last season. And you know it’s got to be bad when I’m threatening to turn my back on Cameron “Mr. Chisel” Mathison. But there I was, completely floored when the best actor of last season’s bunch, BethAnn Bonner, came in third. Even worse, the eventual winner was one of the least talented of the entire group.
But Soap Star obviously saw the error of its ways and shook things up a bit. This season viewers will have a say in the finale, so I decided to give the show another chance.
Boy, am I glad I did.
From the start, the reality series has had a different feel. The panel of judges is mostly changed, with talent manager Michael Bruno the only returnee. The requisite head honcho is there, this time in the form of Days of Our Lives head writer Hogan Sheffer. I’ll just call him “Big Ole Teddy Bear” (those who watch know what I mean). Then there’s Mary Beth Evans, the marvelous actress who plays sweet yet steely Kayla on Days. Who knew she was such a hoot in real life? And Bruno adds his typical, surly, matter-of-fact, no-holds-barred perspective; I may not always agree with him, but I’m always interested to hear what he has to say.
So far, the judges have been pretty right-on in their assessments. The only casualty I wasn’t keen on was Travis. I thought he was good enough to go all the way. But maybe he was too busy thinking that, too, beacuse he just didn’t bring the emotion to his last scene.
Anyhow, that’s water under the bridge. Soap Star is down to the final four, and I think any one of them could be a worthy winner (although I do have my clear favorite).
Here’s a rundown on how I think they should place, based on their work so far:
Yves. He should be the one to go tonight. Yeah, he’s cute in a Tom Cruise meets Jeff Goldblum kinda way. But I don’t see a lot of depth to him. Please, please, please judges and viewers, don’t fall into the Mikey trap of last season. Just ’cause a guy’s got a cute smile, it doesn’t mean he can act on a soap opera. Give the genre a little more credit than that.
Ashlee. She’s good, but sometimes I think she’s too polished. I don’t generally feel for her when she’s performing; it’s like I’m always aware that she’s acting, and that shouldn’t be the case. I should be able to forget that I’m watching someone playing a role. I think she should come in third.
Justin. My second-favorite male after Travis. There is something pretty raw about him that makes him interesting to watch. The tattoos don’t hurt, either. He can be inconsistent, though, and the fact that he balked at the striptease scene gives me pause. I’m not saying that kind of role would be my druthers, if I were an actor, but I don’t understand how someone can be on show, trying to become a soap star, and not expect some outlandish scenarios. He’s my vote for second.
Jimena. Ah, my girl, Jimena. I hope I don’t jinx her with this, but she has been my favorite from the start. She is such a natural actress, and she seems to be able to do it all: drama, comedy, romance. And she takes it so seriously; I’m not sure she’s even aware of how good she is because she spends so much time worrying. Just take a deep breath, Jimena, and keep feeling your way through the scenes. You’re my pick for this season, and I hope others out there agree. It’s about time we had a little girl power in Soap Star‘s winner’s circle, don’t ya think?
The show airs Tuesday nights at 8 (eastern) on SOAPnet.

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