11/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST
After a year on the airwaves exploring matters of the boudoir in hits like "Nice & Slow" and (the non-Sinatra) "My Way," it has come to this: "My security searches my hotel rooms," says R&B phenom Usher, "to make sure there aren't women hiding out under the bed." Note to potential dust bunnies: The 20-year-old abdominal showman, a former guest star on daytime's The Bold and the Beautiful, is surely the latter, but not, he claims, the former. "Everybody thinks I'm a player," the 5'9" Atlanta resident laments. "That's not me. I'm the silent type; I'm not really out there like that." More likely, he's at the gym doing up to 1,000 stomach crunches a day or flaunting his animal magnetism at concerts. Teen diva Monica, who has released two duets with him, says that onstage his sexiness is manifest in "his movements, his gestures, the way he expresses his lyrics." Winning the soulmate he one day hopes to find—"a woman with character," he figures, "sensitive but outgoing"—should be no problem. Adrienne Frantz, whose character was seduced by his on Bold, says, "Usher definitely has a way with women. His smile is sweet and sexy at the same time." Not only that: "He's a great kisser."