Vote for Duke of the Year in our Flame Awards and win prizes
That time of the year has rolled around again, where The New Paper names and shames the people and events which turned us on or ticked us off in 2014.
Look out for our roll call of nominees over the next few days in all-time favourite categories like Babe, Shocker and Turn-off Of The Year.
We will also introduce new categories such as Favourite Viral MV and Cutest Celeb Baby.
This year, a string of hotties kick off this year's awards, but with a twist.
A Duke - instead of the usual Dude - will be crowned winner of this category, which takes a fun new twist.
After all, 2014 has been the year of the Duke. Eight of them, to be exact.
We're talking about the rising pretty boy stars of Caldecott Hill - Desmond Tan, Romeo Tan, Ian Fang, Shane Pow, Jeffrey Xu, Aloysius Pang, Xu Bin and Zhang Zhen Huan.
Since the label 8 Dukes - an unofficial spin-off from Caldecott Hill's former showbiz collective Seven Princesses - was coined in April, these actors have been seen as a group everywhere.
The dukes, who have graced the covers of local magazines and newspapers, are so popular that they have more than 700,000 followers on their Instagram accounts in total.
Heck, they even have their own hashtag #8Dukessg.
Question is, who is top of the crop?
It's time for them to, ahem, duke it out and for you to decide.
Vote online at http://www.tnp.sg/flameawards.
TODAY’S CATEGORY: DUKE OF THE YEAR
You can decide which nominee wins - and win attractive prizes. To vote, visit tnp.sg/flameawards
Tomorrow's category: Babe Of The Year
Newbie is hot favourite
He has only been on the scene for two years, so when Xu Bin edged his way onto the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes list at this year's Star Awards, he surprised many.
The 25-year-old's fan base is massive and growing rapidly, and the other dukes seem to know it.
When asked who they think will bag the Duke of the Year award, several named him without hesitation.
The chatty, affable idol has more than 135,000 followers on Instagram, a testament to his overwhelming popularity.
The China-born Xu, who studied in Singapore, said: "I think I do stand a chance of winning, but I want to give myself some leeway.
"Aloysius (Pang) is a strong competitor too. He has a strong fan base, especially on social media. Shane (Pow) is very popular recently as well, because of his TV drama Three Wishes."
Xu Bin, who currently stars in the long-running Channel 8 drama 118, alongside Chew Chor Meng and Pan Ling Ling, believes in communicating with fans regularly to maintain a good relationship with them.
He said: "I am very lucky to have many supporters even though it's been a short time since I debuted. It's important to keep in touch with my fans and also have a good fan club manager."
Riding on his comeback
Compared to the other dukes, Aloysius Pang had a head start in showbiz.
The 24-year-old started acting in dramas when he was nine, but stopped at the age of 14 because of incessant teasing from his peers.
But since the former child star made his comeback in 2012, he hasn't looked back.
With his boyish good looks and brooding personality, Pang has attracted a huge fan base in the past two years, having amassed over 102,000 followers on his Instagram account.
He admits that he is not used to the duke status but says that "it's a compliment being part of it".
"In terms of marketing, it's a plus point," he said.
"You put eight different guys together, and we get to share our fan bases and more people get to know about us individually. It feels like a new boy band."
Pang is now busy filming Chinese New Year-themed drama Good Luck alongside fellow dukes Romeo Tan and Zhang Zhen Huan, as well as drama Tiger Mummy, with Ian Fang.
On his nomination, the practical Pang said: "It's incredible. I've never been nominated for anything like this before.
"But I don't think my chance of winning is as high as the rest because this sounds like a popularity contest.
"I think Xu Bin or Desmond (Tan) will win."
No pressure to win
Romeo Tan embraces the royal label unapologetically.
The handsome 29-year-old said candidly: "I am the romantic and sentimental duke. I like the title. It's an honour to be part of the 8 Dukes."
Tan gained notice after finishing fourth in the 2010 Star Search talent competition.
Since then, he has been slowly but steadily working his way up, earning a nomination for Best Newcomer Award at Star Awards 2012.
He also won the Rocket Award, which recognises an artist's improvement in performance, in 2013.
This year, Tan also made it onto the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes list at the Star Awards.
In year-end blockbuster The Journey: Tumultuous Times, which is currently showing on Channel 8, Tan plays the main villain Zhang Yan, a man who becomes corrupted by power.
He was initially worried that the role would tarnish his boy-next-door image, but decided to take it on to challenge himself.
He said: "I think fans are looking forward to (see) how bad I can be. If I act well, I believe that viewers will still support me."
Tan, who thinks that Xu Bin or Ian Fang will emerge victorious in this Flame Awards category, added:
"I don't need to win a lot of things to know that I am doing well in my career. If I don't win, I won't take it too hard. But if I win, it will come as a pleasant surprise."
Nomination a surprise
This sporty duke stands out among the rest because of his chiselled good looks and hot, taut bod.
The 24-year-old broke onto the scene two years ago and gained the attention of viewers with his role as B-Niu, the son of a fishball noodle stall owner in Channel 8 drama It Takes Two.
His performance earned him a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Star Awards in 2013.
This year, the Manhunt 2011 finalist has been busy with multiple acting and hosting projects.
He was last seen on the small screen playing a fitness instructor in the popular drama Three Wishes, which scored one of the highest ratings this year with an average viewership of 1.04 million.
Pow said of his 8 Dukes status: "It's refreshing and it's something new in the local media industry. People are talking about it, so it gives us more exposure which is always good."
"I am surprised and also happy to be nominated in this year's Flame Awards. It's an achievement."
He added candidly: "I don't have much confidence in winning it. I think my ranking is in the middle though, as I have more exposure these days with my recent TV drama. Xu Bin and Aloysius (Pang) stand a high chance as they have a strong fanbase."
ZHANG ZHEN HUAN
'I welcome competition'
Having honed his craft for six years, China-born Zhang Zhen Huan's hard work was rewarded at this year's Star Awards when he clinched a spot on the Top 10 Most Popular Male Artistes list.
The 30-year-old, who won the title for the first time, was also a nominee in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as a hardworking chief financial officer in the drama Break Free.
The oldest duke among the eight said being nominated for the Flame Awards is "very special".
He said: "It's unavoidable that there will be some form of competition among us. It is difficult to choose who will win though, because each of us caters to a different crowd. Of course I do hope I will win."
The 1.84m-tall actor, who is now busy filming long-running Channel 8 drama 118, does not think that there are downsides to being branded a duke.
"Competition is not a bad thing. No matter who wins, I will feel happy for him," he said.
"I think the eight of us have attracted more attention together and more positive energy. It motivates me to want to do better in everything."
Big break took 4 years
With his towering frame, bronzed physique and good looks, Desmond Tan fits the definition of a duke to a T.
Yet the 28-year-old admits that he wasn't used to the label in the beginning.
The straight-talking 1.82m-tall actor said with a laugh: "It was too much to handle at first.
"I turned from (being) a normal person to being part of a royal family suddenly.
"I slowly got used to it. I guess it's a good thing (that) we are always being mentioned together (as) a package."
Tan made his showbiz debut after coming in second at the Star Search talent competition in 2007.
However, it wasn't until 2011 that he got his big break playing a rickshaw puller in period drama A Song To Remember. It earned him a Rocket Award at 2012's Star Awards.
Tan, who is currently starring in Channel 8's year-end blockbuster The Journey: Tumultuous Times, went on to take home his first Top 10 Most Popular Male Artiste award in April.
On being pit against the other dukes, he laughed and said: "We are not supposed to fight each other, we are a group of good buddies.
"It's a friendly competition and there are no hard feelings. Since it's via voting, (I have) a 50-50 chance. If I win, of course I will be very happy."
It's a friendly competition, and there are no hard feelings.
- Desmond Tan
'If I win, fans get a treat'
Bad boy Ian Fang, 25, is not new to our Flame Awards.
He was previously nominated for several categories, including Selfie King/Queen of the Year, but lost to Ah Jie Fann Wong in the end.
In 2011, he bagged our coveted Dude of the Year award, something he didn't fail to remind us of when we spoke to him.
The confident Shanghai-born actor said: "Maybe this year, the other nominees will have a higher chance than me. It really depends on our fan base."
Since his debut three years ago, Fang's career has been on the rise.
Last year, he edged out Elizabeth Lee, Jayley Woo, Shane Pow and Edwin Goh to win the Best Newcomer title at the annual Star Awards.
Fang, who stands out due to his unique fashion sense and classic bad boy looks, promises his fans a treat if he wins the Duke of the Year award.
He said without hesitation: "I will write a song and film a video of myself rapping it to thank the readers.
"However, I'll be cool with the results no matter who wins. Everyone stands a chance."
Dark horse has acting chops
This duke has serious acting chops to match his pretty face.
Shanghai-born Jeffrey Xu bagged the coveted Best Supporting Actor award at last year's Asian Television Awards (ATA).
It wasn't just luck for the 26-year-old.
This year, he is a double nominee in the same category at ATA for his role as an arrogant rugby captain in the drama Scrum! and a hairstylist in the drama Gonna Make It.
The awards ceremony will be held in Singapore on Thursday.
On being labelled one of the 8 Dukes, the 2010 Star Search champion said in Mandarin: "It's not bad. Because of the 8 Dukes, I have been given a nomination in this year's Flame Awards. More people notice me now too. I am very happy.
"Each of us has our own unique characteristics. I have a very diverse personality and I can adapt well to different roles in variety shows and dramas, be it hosting or acting."
However, Xu does not think his chances of winning are big, saying matter-of-factly: "I think I will be in the last few, especially since this is a voting contest. My fate with the audience is not that strong.
"I am usually the dark horse. If I win, it will come as a surprise."