Every year since 1993 Barbara Walters has made a list of the year's 10 most influential and alluring characters. The veteran journalist described her number one pick this year as "an American hero."

General David Petraeus, the U.S. head of command in Afghanistan, topped Barbara's list as the Most Fascinating Person of 2010.

In 2003, Petraeus was credited with quieting the violence in Iraq, so when President Barack Obama needed a replacement in Afghanistan for former General Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus won the commission.

"If you had to fight a war in Afghanistan, a country which has defeated every foreign army that ever entered it, you would probably want the smartest, toughest, most rational, competent and realistic leader you could find," said Barbara. "In other words - General David Petraeus."

Petraeus revealed his mission in Afghanistan, saying, "What we're after is increasing security for the population, not trying to kill or capture every single Taliban in the country."

Barbara explained the critical component in deciding this year's most fascinating person: "A lot depends on General Petraeus and his combination of humanity and strength," said the TV host. "And that, for us, makes him the most fascinating person of 2010."

Also on Barbara's list: the cast of "Jersey Shore," Justin Bieber, Sarah Palin, Jennifer Lopez, Betty White, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Sandra Bullock and LeBron James.

J. Lo revealed the deciding factor in her joining the judge's panel of "American Idol": "I always loved the show," said the singer. "I thought to myself, I'll be at home with the babies. It just seemed like, 'Wow, we can have a little bit of a normal life for like, seven months.'"

Sarah's husband Todd joined her interview when the former Governor of Alaska defended against the rumors that the couple has been facing marital problems.

"There's also rumors that Trigg isn't my son," said Sarah. "I saw on the cover of a tabloid that we were getting a $20 million divorce and I called Todd when I was in the grocery checkout line when I saw it. I said, 'Todd, I can't believe the cover of this magazine… And Todd says, 'Twenty million bucks? Write me a check."

Sarah described Todd as her "everything."

The "10 Most Fascinating People of 2010" special aired Thursday night on ABC.

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