Perhaps more than any other category, the Outstanding Younger Performer has seen the most changes in the past few years. It isn't just the nominees that are different. The category itself has been renamed and the rules for eligibility have changed.
In 2019, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced that the Younger Actor and Actress categories would merge into a single, gender-inclusive category. The change was made as the number of eligible younger performers had shrunk due to the shrinking number of daytime drama series.
In 2021, NATAS announced that the Younger Performer category would be opened to nominees 18 years of age and younger by 2023. The age limit had been 25.
General Hospital dominated the category with three talented performers -- Nicholas Chavez (Spencer Cassadine), William Lipton (Cameron Webber), and Sydney Mikayla (Trina Robinson) -- while Lindsay Arnold (Allie Horton) represented Days of our Lives and Alyvia Alyn Lind (ex-Faith Newman) represented The Young and the Restless.
This year's race was particularly fun to watch because Arnold and Chavez both managed to earn nominations as super newbies on their shows, while both Mikayla and Lind have since left their shows to pursue other endeavors. Meanwhile, none of the five nominees had received a prior Emmy win, meaning it was going to be a very special "first win" moment for whoever took home the gold.
And that ended up being General Hospital's Nicholas Chavez.
An emotional Chavez took the stage after his name was called and noted that he had been "selling cars in a little beach town in Florida."
"I always had the love and support of my family, but none of us had ever dreamed that I would be up on this stage," Chavez shared as he thanked the entire cast and crew of the ABC soap.
Backstage, Chavez confessed that his admittedly short acceptance speech more than likely left out the names of some people that he wanted to thank.
"My family, my mom, my dad, everyone in my family. There are so many people who have flown out to see me. All of the educators that I've had in my life, [like] my high school drama teacher," Chavez said. "The list really, really, truly goes on and on, and I'm far too run amok with emotions right now to think of all of the names, but I am going to make an effort to send my thanks to them."
Chavez then took a moment to thank his fans.
"I want to tell my fans, especially the Sprina fans, thank you so much," the actor said referencing the smooshed name given to his character and the character's love interest, Trina. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and for loving me through this and for accepting a new interpretation of this character. It really, really has meant a lot to me."
This was General Hospital's first win since the category became gender-neutral and its first win since Bryan Craig (Morgan Corinthos) won back-to-back Emmys in 2016 and 2017.
In recent years, the Guest Performer category has been stacked with well-known performers -- some previous Emmy winners -- who were able to be nominated for short-term stints in new roles on soaps they might not have appeared on previously. Last year's winner, Cady McClain, previously earned Emmys for her work on All My Children and As the World Turns. She picked up her win for filling in for Melissa Reeves when the actress was unable to reprise her role as Jennifer Horton on Days of our Lives. This year, however, all the nominees were first-time nominees.
The Emmy was awarded to Ted King for his work as Jack Finnegan on The Bold and the Beautiful. A complete rundown of his storyline is available in our Who's Who in Los Angeles character profile. The short version is that Jack and wife Li adopted a son named Finn and raised him through adulthood. It was revealed on Finn's wedding day that Jack was actually Finn's biological father. He had fathered Finn while having an affair with the evil Sheila Carter. Eek!
King received a warm embrace from co-star and fellow nominee Naomi Matsuda (Li Finnegan) as he headed to the stage. After accepting his award, King confessed that his fear of not winning had kept him from submitting himself for Emmy consideration in the past. It was a shocking admission from the long-time soap vet who made his first soap appearance on Loving in 1995. His character was then moved to the Loving spinoff, The City, for a couple of years. King eventually ended up playing twins Lorenzo and Luis Alcazar on General Hospital and Tomas Delgado on One Life to Live.
"I am very proud to be part of this category. A little quote. 'Our doubts are traitors that make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.' William Shakespeare. I just want to say that I doubted I would win this for years. It kept me from participating. I teach my kids not to fail, and yet I was afraid to participate," King said with his voice cracking. "Inevitably, as you all know, it's the failures that make us better creators."
King went on to thank the cast and crew of The Bold and the Beautiful and gave "a special shout-out to Eva Basler, Vice-President of Communications of The Bold and the Beautiful, who put this reel of my work together and demanded that I submit it because I was too chicken to do so."