Gee, remember when the Daytime Emmys were presented before thousands of deliriously happy fans at Radio City Freakin' Music Hall in primetime during May sweeps and drew massive Nielsen ratings? Now they're on the Internet. Yep, the 41st Annual Daytime Emmys Awards — hosted by Kathy Griffin — will live stream on daytimeemmys.net on Sunday, June 22 (8 p.m./ET, 7 p.m./CT, 5 p.m./PT). What should we expect? Only two things are guaranteed: Griffin, working without censors, will shock the crap out of us (can't wait!) and most of my fearless predictions in the drama categories will, as usual, be laughably wrong. So, dear soap stars, don't be offended if I didn't pick you. It means there's a damn good chance you'll win! Here we go:
Outstanding Drama Series
How is it possible that daytime's most creatively troubled soap — The Young and the Restless — could take the top prize? Executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, brilliant at choosing Emmy reels, submitted the wrenching hit-and-run death of little Delia, the kind of well crafted, awesomely acted tragedy that can move even the coldest of souls (and judges). Days of Our Lives chose Kristen's aborted wedding, while The Bold and the Beautiful picked the episodes where Katie reacts to the news that her hubby bedded — and knocked up — her big sister. Internet reboot One Life to Live sent its first episode, the splashy, trashy grand opening of the club Shelter. Of course, when the real best soap of 2013 — that would be General Hospital — isn't nominated here, how can this category be anything but an exercise in pointlessness?
Predicted winner: The Young and the Restless
Likeliest spoiler: Days of Our Lives
Outstanding Lead Actor
This is a tough one, because any one of the five guys is strong and stellar enough to take it home. But I'm mostly torn between Y&R's Doug Davidson, last year's winner, and his ex-costar Billy Miller. Davidson is again revelatory, this time in scenes where Paul convinces young, suicidal Jamie not to jump off a building, then blasts Phyllis for letting her daughter bully the poor kid. Miller, as dead Delia's grieving dad, is so profoundly touching and at his wit's end that you want to do two things — hug the guy and give him a shiny gold lady with pointy wings.
Predicted winner: Miller
Likeliest spoiler: Davidson
Outstanding Lead Actress
No Maura West? No Debbi Morgan? No Finola Hughes? No Ali Sweeney? What the hell kind of madness is this? Then again, would it have mattered if they were in the race? There's a good (make it great) chance that Daytime Emmy history will be made when The Bold and the Beautiful's Heather Tom becomes the first four-in-a-row acting winner thanks to Katie's magnificent meltdown over the Bill-Katie affair. Should anyone even bother submitting themselves in this category in the future? It's starting to look like Tom — always flawless, ever riveting — can only be stopped in her annual Emmy bid by an act of Congress.
Predicted winner: Tom
Likeliest spoiler: Days' Eileen Davidson
Outstanding Supporting Actor
Weirdly, four of the five nominees submitted the same kind of material — deeply emotional, pass-the-Kleenex scenes involving men and their babies (dead ones, found ones, switched ones). All are great, and Y&R's Steve Burton (Dylan) and GH's Bradford Anderson (Spinelli) are even terrific, but the recurring theme gets to be a bit much. That's good news for Days' Eric Martsolf, who went against the daddy flow and picked cokehead Brady's intervention where he gives a masterful, wildly inventive performance as hilarious as it is harrowing. Dude is on fire.
Likeliest spoiler: Burton
Outstanding Supporting Actress
Make no mistake: This award belongs to GH's Jane Elliot, thanks to Tracy Q's already-iconic "whole enchilada" speech to her gadabout lover Luke. But will her name be in the envelope? I suspect the voters may be swayed by tears and hysterics instead of truly titanic acting and go for one of the Y&R stars who were so moving in the Delia story. But I'm sticking with Elliot, because I can't bear to do otherwise.
Predicted winner: Elliot
Likeliest spoilers: Y&R's Elizabeth Hendrickson and Amelia Heinle
Outstanding Younger Actor
For the first time in memory, this category isn't an embarrassment. Still, there's no real contest, either. Days' much-missed Chandler Massey, up for his third consecutive win, chose scenes where Will worries about the fate of his unborn daughter, but even though his acting is fascinating and divinely nuanced as always, the material only runs three minutes. (My colleague Stephanie Sloane at Soap Opera Digest perfectly tagged it the "Judi Dench reel"!). GH's Bryan Craig, on the other hand, gives us a banquet. His scenes where Morgan's scorching secret — Michael and Kiki aren't cousins! — is exposed by Sonny are incomparable and unbeatable. Keep your eye on this one. He's going to be a huge star.
Predicted winner: Craig
Likeliest spoilers: Massey and GH's Chad Duell
Outstanding Younger Actress
It's the battle of the Manning chicks! GH's Kristen Alderson, last year's winner, is wooing the judges with that episode where Starr finds out it was Johnny who killed her child and boyfriend, and she's truly exceptional. But then so is One Life to Live's Kelley Missal, who submitted the scenes where druggie Danielle wakes up in the hospital after her O.D. and comes face to face with the supposedly dead Victor. Will this be the category where the suds industry honors Prospect Park for its brave but disastrous attempt to save those cancelled ABC soaps? I think maybe so.
Predicted winner: Missal
Likeliest spoiler: Alderson
Who are your picks for Emmy glory? Tell us which stars you want to see holding the gold on Sunday night and don't forget to watch the awards online. Let's support our soaps!