Pity poor Heidi Montag. Earlier this year, the controversial reality star made headlines after enduring 10 separate plastic-surgery procedures on the same day, and yet none of her new appendages included fangs, a tail, or a subdural metal chassis. If only someone had been kind enough to tell her that in today’s pop culture landscape, it is the beast that reigns supreme. Vampires and werewolves, aliens and mutants, monsters and machines — these are the new objects of our lust. Built from DNA that’s infused with a little danger, beasts are always ready to kick ass, take names, and raise our collective pulse in the process.
It’s no wonder, then, that when ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY rounded up 64 of the all-time most crush-worthy creatures for a single-elimination online bracket game, the response was frenzied. Over a 30-day period, EW.com readers cast more than 1.5 million votes as they whittled down the field to just two opponents. (There was more than one Facebook campaign, too.)
Of course, as with any tournament, there were a number of upsets and surprises: Battlestar Galactica‘s slinky Number Six (Tricia Helfer), a contender in our ”Aliens, Machines, and Their Ilk” division, was a shocking second-round casualty. Meanwhile, in the ”Mutants, Monsters, and Creatures” category, Cole Turner/Belthazor (Julian McMahon) — from TV’s defunct Charmed, of all places — somehow managed to crack our Sweet Sixteen.
Not to say that there were any easy contests in the quest to unleash the ultimate Sexy Beast. Even The Vampire Diaries‘ executive producer Kevin Williamson momentarily considered a mutinous quarterfinal vote for True Blood‘s Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) over his own franchise player Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder). ”I’m sorry, I’m voting for Eric. I love Ian, but I see him every day,” Williamson said with a laugh, before rethinking his lack of home-team loyalty and insisting that he would ”double-pick” Damon. So many hard choices between the delightful and the delectable. Mr. Williamson, you were not alone. (Additional reporting by Mandi Bierly and Emily Exton)
Who is the sexiest?
TV Vampires and their friends: Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard), True Blood VS. Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), The Vampire Diaries
We say: Voters in this round faced a painful choice: Drive a stake through the heart of HBO’s virile Viking or The CW’s snarky Southern gentleman? Hey, it’s not just love that bites — lust does too.
Readers say: ”I’m a big fan of Eric, but I like Damon’s character better. It’s not just looks that make someone sexy. Same reason I voted for Spike all those days ago. Spike and Damon make me laugh, too.” — Rica; ”Eric might have a better six-pack, but Ian has a hot face and overall is just better-looking.” — Kay
The winner is Damon Salvatore
Mutants, monsters, and creatures: Storm (Halle Berry), X-Men VS. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), X-Men
We say: He’s got an adamantium skeleton and regenerative powers. She can control the weather. But Wolverine flexed his big guns (with those retractable claws) to clinch a division that may as well have been called X-Men: Sexy Beasts. (Hey, Fox! Greenlight that movie!)
Readers say: ”Halle may be sexy, but she wasn’t as Storm. Plus, Jackman showed way more skin.” — Eric; ”In straight Halle vs. Hugh, Halle wins. But she’s saddled with that indecipherable accent and that horrid hair!” — Hugh
The winner is Wolverine
Aliens, machines, and their ilk: Anna (Morena Baccarin), V VS. Cameron (Summer Glau), The Sarah Chronicles
We say: The final two combatants here were played by actresses from 2002’s Firefly. The showdown hinged on whether Anna’s seduce-and-destroy tactics could work against a ruthless machine. Readers say: ”Summer Glau is the sexiest person alive. Michelangelo himself could not have carved such beauty and perfection out of solid marble. Although if he had ever laid eyes upon Summer Glau, I am sure he would have tried.” — The Dude; ”Anyone who’s seen Firefly should realize that Morena owns Summer any day.” — Argh
The winner is Cameron
Movie vampires and werewolves: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Twilight VS. Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), Twilight
We say: The Edward vs. Jacob debate is so polarizing, it divides families and crashes Internet message boards. Though the war rages on between The Twilight Saga‘s smoldering vampire and fit werewolf, only one could advance to our semifinals.
Readers say: ”I voted for Taylor ’cause he’s ripped and not pasty and could probably lay Rob out with one punch.” — Brent D.; ”Taylor is cute, but he’s a boy. I just want to bake him cookies. Now Rob, I would like to have for dessert!” — Heidi
The winner isEdward Cullen
Damon Salvatore The Vampire Diaries VS. Wolverine X-Men
We say: Here’s where the actors’ histories came into play: Damon got a boost from Lost fanatics, while Wolverine found support among Broadway lovers. In a jaunty twist on Rock, Paper, Scissors, this contest became a game of Muscle, Fang, Metal-Alloy Claw.
Readers say: ”Hugh Jackman is a MAN!! Ian is too pretty! This is Sexy Beast, not Pretty Woman! Wolverine makes my heart pound.” — Melissa; ”Wolverine’s bulging muscles don’t do it for me, but Damon’s gorgeous eyes and witty remarks do.” — Sarah El
The winner is Damon Salvatore
Cameron The Sarah Connor Chronicles VS. Edward Cullen Twilight
We say: Cameron rolled into the semifinals carrying the hopes of womankind and robotkind on her sleek metal frame. But could she overcome her opponent’s sparkling skin and luscious hair? Just as important, would fans of Jacob, Edward’s rival, stick with Team Twilight — or rally against the vampire who TKO’d their werewolf?
Readers say: ”Summer Glau will terminate Edward without problems.” — Andreas; ”Cameron will rip his head off, and look HOT doing it.” — Jojo The winner is Edward Cullen
The final face-off
Damon Salvatore The Vampire Diaries
X-Men purists would balk at a bloodsucker joining Marvel’s merry band of mutants, but considering Damon mustered 57.5 percent of the vote to vanquish Wolverine, perhaps Professor Xavier should place a ”Help Wanted: Vampire” ad.
Edward Cullen Twilight
The sensitive vampire showed no mercy toward terminatrix Cameron, pulling in 63.4 percent of the vote. But fans shouldn’t question Edward’s chivalry: Cameron was more metal and wire than flesh and blood anyway.
Winner! Damon Salvatore