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The 2004 Hot List

NAME: Jane Monheit

WHO IS SHE: Jazz singer

HER STYLE: A sidepart with natural tight curls flowing a couple of inches below her shoulders.

WHY WE LIKE IT: It's pulled back nice and safe in our photo, yet still tempting with hair in front of her shoulder. It's that way as well in the December issue of Downbeat magazine, where her cover photo made us stop to learn more. But check her album covers to see how provocative she can be with this style. She sets long strands mere fractions off an eye, daring Hair Fans to come and get it.

SUPER-HAIR? Based on the few photos we've seen, it is. We believe the photo above is the best look for her. But we'd certainly want to be close by when the hair is close to her face. Maybe in some steamy jazz club, where the desire would blend into the scenery.... [Courtesy WGMC-FM; posted 11/27/4]

NAME: Alexandra Steele

WHO IS SHE: Meteorologist and travel reporter with the Weather Channel

HER STYLE: She tends to prefer a shoulder-length straight style that's flared a bit at the tips. We tend to prefer a look we've also seen -- with hair a couple of inches longer, and flared or folded back around the eyes.

WHY WE LIKE IT: This style is so natural-looking and dangerous-looking that it invites you in. Yet she's brainy enough (think AMS seal) to know how to lock this hair in place. One person who recommended her to us reports when she's outside providing travel information, the hair stays put very well.

SUPER-HAIR? From what we've seen, absolutely. A bit of sizzle can raise a Hair Fan's temperature, and this does with us. She proves "hair of Steele" can be strong, yet wonderfully attractive. [Courtesy Kaptured For You; posted 11/16/4]

NAME: Svetlana Kulikova

WHO IS SHE: Russian ice dancer

HER STYLE: A short sidepart, with hints of curl at the tips

WHY WE LIKE IT: Because she wears it loose and unpinned during performances, which makes for plenty of hair drama. We discovered her watching "Skate America" from Pittsburgh, and her locks flexed to the max doing back-and-forth steps. (Too fast, sadly, for our budget-priced digital camera to capture in motion.)

She took this pose just before the free dance began, giving us a great close-up look at how part of the style is cut. The hints of curl we mentioned prove quite valuable and critical, as they keep bangs from falling in her eyes. In motion, this sidepart becomes a de facto helmet with bangs completely across the forehead.

SUPER-HAIR? We think we saw longer strands bounce into her left eye during the "Skate America" free dance. But her moves were so fast that we can't be absolutely sure - and that's the fun of watching her in action. We hope to see more. [Posted 11/1/4]

NAME: Andrea Brody

WHO IS SHE: Co-host of U.S. television's George Michael Sports Machine

HER STYLE: Straight and parted off-center; grown out a bit in recent months from neck-length to the shoulders. She seems to prefer flipped curl at the ends.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Especially because of the looseness this style displays. It can flex quite a bit in the studio, yet maintain overall hold without any strands going astray. She probably uses a spray before the show, but we'd guess it's for moderate hold instead of maximum.

SUPER-HAIR? Even with the flexibility, we haven't seen her style fall into an eye. If this hair is Michael's "heir apparent," we'd like him to talk her into bull riding - so she can show some real bounce. [Posted 10/13/4]

NAME: At left, Deidre Downs; at right, Jennifer Dupont

WHO ARE THEY: The two finalists for Miss America 2005; Downs is from Alabama, Dupont from Louisiana

THEIR STYLES:  Downs has a shoulder-skimming sidepart, which can be teased on top or tucked behind ears for control. Dupont goes longer, with hair a bit below the shoulders which needs some sort of brace to stay in place (from ears to spray).

WHY WE LIKE IT: Let's applaud the Miss America judges right now -- because unlike some recent pageants, this year they got it right. Both women (and for that matter second runner-up Miss North Carolina) have attractive, well-secured styles. Dupont's length and occasional reliance on a product make hers a bit riskier, but both showed plenty of control on the final night.

SUPER-HAIR? Their head-to-head showdown in a talent competition allowed TV viewers a unique opportunity to find out. Dupont went first, performed a jazz dance....

....and as you might guess, she tied the hair back. The ponytail has to be especially secure for the hair above the right eye, which is behind an ear as well. That's the 'tail flying behind her, on your left.

But oh-oh, it bounces back around Dupont's head as she's moving! Her head is turning right, but the long 'tail is whipping very quickly. Can this hair-conscious woman make a lightning-fast adjustment, to escape strands getting in her left eye?

She turns the head a bit more, fighting as discreetly as she can to buy an extra inch or two and get out of reach. If you blink, you'd miss the moment -- and we did at first glance. But a frame-by-frame check of the tape indicates a few loose tips get in Dupont's left eye at the "maximum bounce" point. It was there for only a couple of frames, before the ponytail came down.

So how does Downs's 'do do? She sings a romantic number, with little moving around. This conservative approach shows off a tucked-back, soft-ended, beautifully-balanced style.

But just when you think she's won the battle, the song ends - and Downs, perhaps relieved it's all practically over, does a deep bow to the crowd! (That itself would have caused a stir at pageants years ago.) The mid-length hair drops with her - but will it come up with her, keeping its solid position?

Downs lifts her head quickly -- and we're not sure if she doesn't care, or she's trying to flip the hair back in line without touching it. Yet a strip of hair seemingly comes loose from the right ear, landing right across her face.

She lets the loose strip stay there for at least five seconds, not even bothering to brush it aside until she's walking off-stage. (By the way, the hair on her left came off the ear from the bow.)

Downs won the pageant and the Miss America crown - but Dupont scores a narrow victory from us in this hair showdown. We would have enjoyed watching the wind try to move her style on the Atlantic City beach. But we salute both women for having hair which can stand up to almost any challenge. [Posted 9/27/4]

NAME: Dee Dee Trotter

WHO IS SHE: Not really a "trotter," but a sprinter -- part of the U.S. Olympic champion 4x400 meter relay; also finished fifth in the women's 400-meter dash in Athens

HER STYLE: Shoulder-length and pulled back as far as possible (for aerodynamics, you know). In races it was curled at the tips, but we suspect she has to sizzle it straight for races. And we do hope there are no hidden pins around her ears....

WHY WE LIKE IT: We did a double-take when we saw her on the track in Athens. She's not tying her hair back for a sprint - and actually wearing it simply behind the ears? That's daring. And it worked, from what we saw. The hair stuck in place remarkably well at high running speed -- making us wonder why Mexico's Ana Guevara couldn't do the same. (We ask DeeDee in our Q&A section.)

SUPER-HAIR? We were ready to give her the benefit of the doubt - until we found this photo from a Knoxville, Tennessee news web site. With strands practically in her right eye, we must lean toward the tape against her. But we commend "Dashing Dee Dee" for providing an element of "hair drama" during the recent games. [Updated for correct picture 10/23/4]

NAME: Taina Hernandez

WHO IS SHE: ABC News reporter, based in Los Angeles

HER STYLE: Currently a shoulder-length sidepart with pillow-soft waves; we prefer them when they have a hint of full curl at the ends

WHY WE LIKE IT: In the hair derby that's bubbling below the surface at the Scott Peterson murder trial (Jennifer London, Gloria Gomez and even Amber Frey are strong competitors), she's showing a style at its finest. As added volume becomes more popular for hair, she has enough to get our attention - but not so much that it's outlandish.

Here's a vid-cap of what we consider her best look. Note the loose-looking tips, especially that one curl on her left side. Hair Fans in a "touchy" mood would have something to aim at -- but we wonder if she uses a light spray to coat this soft-looking set, and keep a hidden layer of control on top.

SUPER-HAIR? We regret to say historically, she does not. A live report from a tropical storm blew hair into her eyes a year or two ago. But this particular set-up is OHHHH so close to absolute perfection, so marvelous to watch and admire, that.... well, let's put it this way. Some styles are "hot." We say this one is scalding molten lava hot. (See much more of Taina in our Hair Watch section!) [Posted 9/2/4]

NAME: Denise Davis

WHO IS SHE: Christian singer based in Nashville; former Miss Alabama; model for magazines and newspapers

HER STYLE: Shoulder-length and straight; combed back a bit to keep the face and forehead clear

WHY WE LIKE IT: We received the most detailed endorsement of a style ever for this woman. It came from a longtime friend in Texas, and we defer to her:

"As her bio states, when she first entered a beauty pageant in 1975, the pageant director told her to 'lose 20 pounds and do something about her stringy hair.' Denise has always had very fine and rather thin hair; natural color is a dark brown which she has sometimes had highlighted. Mainly, it was STRINGY. She wore it long and curled for many years, a look which was all wrong for her hair texture and lack of natural body and fullness.

"Denise has had YEARS of bad hair [left, we assume] but she has finally found a style which highlights her beautiful face and eyes."

SUPER-HAIR? Davis's friend thinks it can be, as long as she doesn't let it go long and "stringy" again. She's admittedly new to us, so we don't know how well the improved style stays in line. With some spray around the sides and careful use of tuck-backs at the ears, it could be a winner. Thanks for a great example of how the right cut can turn an ordinary "before" into a great-looking "after." [Posted 8/24/4]

NAME: Marguerite MacIntyre

WHO IS SHE: Actress currently on the TV series The Days

HER STYLE: A short, efficient look with bangs on both sides of a sidepart, layered a bit around the left eye.

WHY WE LIKE IT: A Hair Fan suggested her to us after watching this U.S. summer drama. The left eye provides the style drama here, and we think some spray or mousse can lock the longer layer down there. The basic style seems easy for anyone to prepare. In fact, this reminds us of the look McKenzie Westmore had when she won a Crown Award.

SUPER-HAIR? If the bangs are kept well-trimmed, she has potential. Check ABC's home page for her series, and you'll find a picture with a strip sitting awfully close to her right eye. Yet the first night we watched her, the hair stayed well in place even when she bent her heads down. It's certainly worth our attention, so thanks for the nomination. [Posted 8/9/4]

NAME: Juliet Huddy

WHO IS SHE: Anchor and entertainment reporter for Fox News Channel

HER STYLE: Tight on top, then flipped at the shoulders. The obvious danger here is with hair near the right eye -- and it appears flipped as well, only with a curl that's sprayed down to prevent drooping.

WHY WE LIKE IT: We thank the couple which wrote us saying simply she has "great hair. Super hair." If it looks on-set perfect as it does here, we doubt anyone would disagree. The riskiness is sky-high with this style, and we'd bet the hold level of her spray is as well. Note also a little lift of hair near her left eye; it might be sprayed into place as well, to prevent "weak side" weakness.

SUPER-HAIR? We haven't seen it enough to say; "Fox Fans" who have are invited to tell us how well this style lasts. We did find a couple of pictures where she jumped outside on a pogo stick with this hair, alongside Super-Hair Wars champion Kiran Chetry -- and both women seemed to survive the challenge. The quality of cuts at FNC definitely has improved from a few years ago. [Posted 7/21/4]

NAME: Zain Verjee

WHO IS SHE: News anchor on CNN International

HER STYLE: We found two distinct straight sidepart looks online: pixie-short and medium-short. Assuming the picture at CNN's web site is current, that's the one we prefer.

WHY WE LIKE IT: "Her hair.... always looks fabulous," someone wrote in our Guestbook. It appears her key to success is a bit of round-brushing, a measure of spray -- and if all else fails, strong ears to support weak spots.

SUPER-HAIR? We've never seen her on TV to offer a fair opinion. But we found this photo where strands noticeably slip off her right ear. If they drop on a regular basis, that's not a good sign for her. (Ask her CNNI colleague Monita Rajpal about that.) In any case, we thank the writer who brought Verjee to our attention - the first woman from Kenya we've ever posted. [Posted 7/1/4]

NAME: Christie Cohen

WHO IS SHE: Chairperson of Aloette Cosmetics

HER STYLE: About bust-line long and naturally straight, with seemingly flawless bangs covering the forehead. We swooned for a "two-in-one" look she showed on Shop at Home TV, with the hair turning into loops of curl from the jawline down.

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is like a "combo platter," with beauty for Hair Fans with a variety of tastes. There's precision and closely-placed (but we don't think sprayed) hold around the eyes where it matters most. There's soft waviness at the bottom, which is a popular trend right now. There's a bit of flexibility (we noticed one quick throwback behind a right shoulder as we watched), yet the curl adds weight for a bit of extra control.

This photo from the Aloette web site shows Cohen's hair shorter, at shoulder-length. The emphasis is on all-around precision here -- but we personally prefer the added contrast and softness the curls and length provide.

SUPER-HAIR? Based on that TV appearance, we believe so -- but sadly, pictures of this woman are hard to find online. That's too bad, because this hair has a beauty which blends well with the "beauty products" she sells. We went looking for Lea Little on this night, but found a marvelous second option. [Posted 6/21/4]

NAME: Rosanna Tavarez

WHO IS SHE: Correspondent for the talk show "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest;" former member of the singing group Eden's Crush

HER STYLE: She's displayed two of them since the show premiered. The one above from the show's web site attracted us first - blunt-cut at the neck with side-swept bangs, looking like mousse is used for overall control.

This admittedly-blurry vid-cap shows her current look - growing everything out to shoulder-length, including those bangs. Now she seems to use round-brushing instead of mousse to keep shorter strands in position.

WHY WE LIKE IT: She's not a "stand-up" correspondent -- as she walks, turns and even skips around sometimes on camera. Whatever she does, her hair stays solidly in line. That was especially true with her old style, when she added mousse to the bangs for control.

SUPER-HAIR?  She has us watching, that's for sure - and so far she's passing the test. We never saw her with that "girl group," so we'd be interested in hearing from those of you who did. Our bottom-line text message to this show: Seacrest out -- Tavarez in. [Posted 6/14/4]

NAME: Donna (last name unknown)

WHO IS SHE: Once-divorced mother who joined her second husband in Dr. Phil McGraw's "Relationship Rescue Retreat," shown over a series of Tuesdays on his talk show

HER STYLE: A medium-long sidepart which can hide a secret; mostly straight, but occasionally with added curl at the ends.

WHY WE LIKE IT: At first glance, this hair seems too simple. It's on the thin side, and doesn't seem to need much preparation. But we hinted above this style can hide a secret....

....and here it is. She can blend short bangs into the longer locks - bangs which can fall above the right eye. They act almost like a warning system, telling her it's time to adjust the hair to prevent a full collapse.

A closer look shows the amount of bangs is almost microscopic, but it's enough to do the job. Other video shown during the series actually show scattered bangs across the forehead; we don't know if she adjusted the style before this studio appearance.

SUPER-HAIR? If she can respond in time when bangs drop, it could be. She's not afraid to wear long hair in front of the shoulders - and from what we've seen, it stays in position under controlled situations. If you followed this series, you know she's a tough woman. Her hair is deceptively tough to match. We hope her marriage lasts just as well. [Posted 5/24/4]

NAME: Melissa Charbonneau

WHO IS SHE: Washington correspondent for CBN News and The 700 Club

HER STYLE: Long in back, to the nape of the neck; progressively shorter from the ears forward, resulting in thin bangs at the forehead

WHY WE LIKE IT: For the bit of deception this style presents. It looks long enough to get in the face if it's not tucked behind the ears. Yet it's cut so she can brush the bangs back to hide them for a clean forehead, or spray the sides so they remain secure. The hair in back seems quite "out of play," unlikely to blow forward into trouble.

SUPER-HAIR? Here we go again -- with a "live TV" showdown to settle the issue. We caught Charbonneau outside the White House 29 April, with a breeze blowing. What would this style do under pressure? Let's see....

Charbonneau started with the bangs brushed back and longer hair combed behind the ears. But the left-to-right (from her view) crosswind loosens a few strands. Are these merely the short forehead bangs? Or is this longer hair, putting the style in trouble?

To her credit, Charbonneau refuses to shake her head or bring up a hand. She stands there and fights the breeze, without batting an eyelash -- and the flyaway strands bend farther inward....

....until a strip of bangs is curved almost straight down. Is hair in the left eye or not?

This picture makes the answer clear -- alas, yes. Her bangs are so thin that you almost can't tell, and they certainly didn't bother her enough to adjust them on camera. But half-inch by half-inch, the wind made them cave in.

Overall, this cut can be both attractive and safe. In the hands of actress Katie Sagal, the critical side hair in front of the ears sticks solidly. For Charbonneau on this day, it didn't quite happen. Perhaps the answer would have been to not only tuck back the hair, but add some spray or mousse for heaviness as well. [Posted 5/5/4]

NAME: Amy Henry (her web site goes by "Amelia")

WHO IS SHE: Manager with a Texas consulting company; finalist on the reality show The Apprentice

HER STYLE: A short sidepart which can be stylish in two directions. If we were the customer, we'd ask for the wavy look which seems to have mousse for support. But she's shown straight layers as well, and we're guessing that's how her hair naturally is.

WHY WE LIKE IT: A Hair Fan wrote us to ask where "The Apprentice girls" were. (Excuse us, but we consider them women.) While Carolyn the C.F.O. might "Trump" them all, this is the best look we found among the contestants.

For a woman who says acting a bit flirty can be good for business, this hair does it for us. We want to reach for those curls, and try at least to straighten them out -- but the hair seems constructed to stop us and hold well. She's proof curls can work attractively with short hair.

SUPER-HAIR? Here's where we need some help. We admit we did not watch The Apprentice at all; in fact, we've been shying away from "reality shows" because contestants tend to come and go quickly. If you watched every week, did this style hold up in the big city? Considering the hair "bad boys" at FHM magazine didn't get her locks in her eyes in a photo shoot, we think the potential's there. [Posted 4/27/4]

NAME: Stephanie Guerrero

WHO IS SHE: Miss Texas USA 2004; qualified for Top 15 at Miss USA

HER STYLE: A shoulder-length sidepart, shaped so the hair ends in back of the shoulders (think Amelia Vega with shorter hair)

WHY WE LIKE IT: This was easily the most daring style at the Miss USA 2004 pageant -- daring to have strands pass mere millimeters from the left eye. Yet the hair is flexible instead of rigid, so she can shake her head a bit to flex it back if it comes too close for comfort. She seemed to need this regularly -- but the movement only drew our interest more, as the hair never could quite get down in her face.

SUPER-HAIR? We honestly doubt it. It appears any light breeze could do it in - unless she teases it back or uses spray for those situations. She seemed to do neither on pageant night, adding to the drama with her hair.

The fact that we're mentioning this "top-15" style from Miss USA, however, should tell you something about the pageant as a whole. Not many cuts among the finalists thrilled us. Miss Oklahoma (third runner-up) had a nice short Reese Witherspoon-type style, but bangs kept falling off her right ear and practically hit her eye once. North Carolina and Tennessee made the final five with long teased hair which was good, but not spectacular. And how did Miss South Carolina finish second with a "topknot" style which we only saw unpinned for a few seconds on videotape? Susie Castillo, we miss you already. [Posted 4/13/4]

NAME: Portia di Rossi

WHO IS SHE: Actress, currently appearing in Arrested Development

HER STYLE: Assuming the photo from Entertainment Weekly is current, right now it's straight and bustline-length (it's been longer in the past); a thin layer of bangs sits across the forehead

WHY WE LIKE IT: Her long waves from the Ally McBeal era were head-turning, but this look is even more so for us. That's because of the precise cut of the style, with hair framing the face without getting in it. Blonde bangs give the impression that they hide the forehead completely (but look closely and they don't) -- and they go back far enough so breezes can't push stray strands into the eyes.

SUPER-HAIR? In the past, her hair fought hard to hold but occasionally fell. This style doesn't look like it has to fight as hard, yet we suspect it holds better. Seem strange? Well, she's a good example of what many stylists say -- the key to a Super-style is the right cut, more than how hair is prepared. [Posted 4/9/4]

NAME: At left: Norah O'Donnell. At right: Kate Snow

WHO ARE THEY: White House Reporters -- O'Donnell for NBC News, Snow for ABC News. O'Donnell is a two-year Top Ten Tresses member.

THEIR STYLES: Quite a contrast of sideparts. O'Donnell normally has a flowing pageboy, softly resting around her shoulders. Snow has a short efficient cut, kept tight to the head and tucked behind her ears for security.

WHY WE LIKE THEM: O'Donnell dares to wear her hair unpinned almost every day, in almost any condition - and through a mix of teasing, spray and placement (behind the ears or shoulders at times), she's outlasted anything that's come her way.

Snow appears to rely on a mousse of some sort to slick down her style, so no strands go out of line. Her look is more precise, but both of them have plenty of risk.

SUPER-HAIR? If you haven't peeked yet, that's what you're about to find out. On the morning of March 22, both women took their great hair outside the White House for live reports on morning news shows. But a tricky early-spring wind was blowing. How would these top-quality styles handle the challenge? Somewhat side-by-side, a dramatic duel begins:

6:02 a.m. (CT): Snow appears first, and a light breeze does nothing. The style remains as our photo above shows (borrowed from another live appearance).

6:03 a.m.: O'Donnell's introduction (pictured above) shows hair behind the shoulders, expecting potential problems. Then after her taped report....

6:06 a.m.: Lifting is noticed on the right side of her style, as the wind seems to blow left-to-right as you look at the screen. Strands are starting to go out of line.

The wind shoves O'Donnell's hair in front of the right shoulder. Notice she's starting to lean her head right, perhaps to push the hair down so flyaways are blocked by other strands and can't move farther.

The head-tilt is more obvious here - but note a few strands lifting up to near her nose. They bounce up and down a couple of times -- and we say to ourselves, "She's in big trouble."

Indeed she is -- as moments later right-side hair flies into the right eye, then up to the forehead.

We missed the critical moment (hopefully our picture partners caught it) where hair actually stopped in her right eye. It didn't last long, but it happened.

Finally O'Donnell does what she clearly does not want to do -- and reaches with her hand to throw the hair back. But it's too late to stop what viewers saw. Regular visitors will recall we speculated during a Hair Watch on O'Donnell the "off side" someday could be her undoing, as it was in 2002 for NBC colleague Campbell Brown.

7:02 a.m.: Snow's second turn live. With no wind at the start, her hair is securely in position behind her ears - but we estimate no more than one inch off her right eye.

Then a gust comes, from the same direction as before. Hair is pushed to Snow's left -- out at the ends, and sideways across the forehead. But the wind's not moving hair forward from where she stands.

We stop our tape at the point where it seems the hair blows back most. That means it's going away from the eyes - but it's coming up at the right ear.

We zoom in on that critical ear, and tucked-back hair is blown almost above it. Should the wind die down, will those strands go back into position -- or will they drop off, causing her to be in big trouble, too?

The live introduction ends with hair still tenaciously stuck to that ear. The style is clearly loosened and a bit messed-up, with hair appearing even closer to the right eye. But it survived without falling, and she never had to reach for it on-camera.

For Hair Fans, this unusual head-to-head duel was the equivalent of a sudden-death hockey playoff game. It proves Super-Hair truly can be a game of inches -- or even fractions of them. We had seen Snow's short hair fall in her eyes, with a different sort of style. But we'd never seen O'Donnell's mid-length locks collapse until this day.

We applaud both women for their work to keep hair looking great under pressure, their confidence and daring to face the wind without pins, and their ability to stay intently focused on the camera despite obvious distractions. Even for championship-level Super-Hair, March can be the cruelest month. [Posted 3/22/4]

NAME: Jackie Hyland

WHO IS SHE: New York TV news reporter

HER STYLE: Straight and barely touching the shoulders; an off-center part produces hair angling just past the left eye

WHY WE LIKE IT: The Hair Fan who recommends her told us this style "is always amazing, from every angle. Whether she is out reporting on the street or anchoring from the desk." There's certainly plenty of drama here, as bangs sit mere millimeters off her left eye. She'd need either frequent trims or top-of-the-line spray to keep the hair out.

SUPER-HAIR? We haven't seen it in action, so we really can't say. Her station certainly isn't helping us decide; no picture of her is posted on its web site, and our request for one has brought no response. We'd certainly want to take a close look at her -- especially if she's reporting amid Manhattan skyscrapers, with their swirling breezes. [Posted 3/11/4; photo courtesy Feathered Back]

NAME: Ashley Powell

WHO IS SHE: High school basketball coach in Columbus, Georgia

HER STYLE: A straight medium-long sidepart, reaching to about the bust line

WHY WE LIKE IT: If you ever sit behind her team's bench at a game, with a view as in this photo, you'll understand. She wears her hair unpinned practically all the time, preferring to tuck some behind her ears and throw it all behind her shoulders. While she gestures, turns and gets in some players' faces, the hair flows without causing her any distractions. Her "defensive game-plan" works almost without a hitch.

We monitored one game where she did a couple of jumping jacks to get players' attention, and even got on her knees to towel down part of the court. Yet not many strands came forward - and even if a fast move knocks hair off her right ear, the shoulders work as a wall to keep long hair out of her face.

SUPER-HAIR? So far it is -- and given her job, that's saying something. This ranks with Ultimate 50 members Carolyn Peck and Cheryl Burnett, when it comes to top-quality hair among female coaches. Perhaps her team's appearance in the Georgia high school "Final Four" will persuade some college to give this woman a higher-profile job, so more Hair Fans can watch her in action. [Updated 3/11/4; vidcaps courtesy WRBL-TV and GPB]

NAME: Paula Abdul

WHO IS SHE: Judge on American Idol, occasional correspondent for Entertainment Tonight

HER STYLE: Currently trimmed to the shoulders, with bangs across the forehead and random flares at the tips

WHY WE LIKE IT: Abdul has displayed many styles over the last couple of years (see Cutting Edge Hair News for a comparison we made between two of them). But a Hair Fan in southern California recommended her latest look, which we snapped 17 February -- and we can see why she called it "hot." It's cut like a helmet, but the flared semi-curl adds some weight to longer hairs. This especially adds hold to strands closest to the eyes.

SUPER-HAIR? Historically she has not been. This style can be, if gel or mousse can keep the flares in line so a light breeze doesn't make them fly around. The contestants need to get her on stage to dance a little. [Posted 2/17/4]

NAME: Lea Little

WHO IS SHE: Hostess on Shop at Home TV as well as a Nashville entertainment news show

HER STYLE: Shoulder-length with bangs which don't appear to be cut very deeply; possibly curled a bit at the ends.

WHY WE LIKE IT: On the day we noticed her, she wore glasses - and believe it or not, that addition made all the difference for us. The hair is worn close to the face, and flexes a good bit when she turns her head. Yet the glasses and bangs work in tandem to make sure strands don't drop into her eyes.

SUPER-HAIR? From what little we've seen of this style, it is. We don't normally buy things on impulse, as with the big-ticket item she was selling. But many Hair Fans would have to control their impulses to reach for this style and try to bring it down. [Posted 2/9/4]

NAME: Darla Hahn

WHO IS SHE: Actress, co-host of infomercials for "The Tony Little Gazelle"

HER STYLE: A shoulder-length sidepart that's well-teased for hold on top, softly curled for bounce at the bottom, and probably sprayed all around for safety.

This view from the other side shows hair closest to the forehead is teased back on the right "non-vulnerable" side as well. (Our apologies for the grainy off-air photos; if anyone has clearer vid-caps, please send them and we'll post them.)

WHY WE LIKE IT: This woman now has appeared in two 30-minute ads for Little's exercise device - and her hair has wowed us both times. It's built to bounce flexibly when she's doing a quick-moving routine, yet spring back into position when the drill is over.

This view shows she even can dip the head a bit, without the left side drooping or weakening. It's combed back like a pageboy, but the turn of the hair occurs much lower at around eye-level.

SUPER-HAIR? In the first infomercial, this style bounced very close to the left eye - but we believe the hair stayed out. Based on that, she's Super to us. This look has softness and bounce, yet at the same time plenty of deep-down strength. And it sure beats Tony Little's unimpressive ponytail. [Posted 1/21/4]

NAME: Diane Dimond

WHO IS SHE: Reporter for Court TV, also appearing occasionally on Entertainment Tonight

HER STYLE: Tight and short, working a bit like a helmet with bangs across the forehead -- only longer locks are not always rounded, and can be tucked behind the ears.

WHY WE LIKE IT: This style has risky length, yet the focus clearly is on hold and security. As she covers the Michael Jackson case, outdoor reports from the California coast show only slight flexing of the hair when wind blows -- and the bangs seem unwilling to budge at all.

SUPER-HAIR? We don't recall this style failing during her years on the tabloid show Hard Copy, and it certainly hasn't failed since she started covering events at Neverland.

Our only question would be one we've asked about the Ultimate look of Betsy Stark: why tuck hair behind the left ear, but not the right one? Perhaps the idea is to show the style's length, but we prefer unity on both sides. Either way, though, this style looks good and holds very well. [Posted 1/7/4]

EARLIER HOT LISTS: 2003 2002 2001 2000

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