This week’s Celebrity Apprentice episode was split between live interviews and footage from John Rich and Marlee Matlin’s final tasks. If you are not a seasoned Celebrity Apprentice veteran, Donald Trump always works the final episode like this so the Apprentice winner will be announced live. It’s not so bad. Two hours is pretty long on an average week to deal with celebrities working together in business situations, at least unless there’s major drama from the like of Nene Leakes. Besides, with live coverage we get to see David Cassidy bitch lengthily about Richard Hatch. That, and we get close-ups of Lisa Rinna’s once again overblown lips. I guess Trump complimenting her on her lessened pucker mass made her self conscious enough to plump those babies up again.
In regards to the task, both Rich and Matlin pulled through impressively to create packaging design, a commercial, and an event for the 7 Up’s Retro division. It wasn’t easy. Rich had to deal with a timing issue with Def Leppard about when they were to perform. Matlin’s commercial very nearly missed the mark when seventies 7 Up commercial legend Geoffrey Holder almost didn’t show up because of a contractual issue. The work was rough, but the finished products showed two contestants willing to work hard and professionally, as well as think outside the box.
Yet, after the arduous and grueling finale of an equally lengthy season, John Rich was crowned the fourth celebrity apprentice by Donald Trump. The “Redneck Woman” writer headed Cinema Blend’s Power Rankings nearly the entire season thanks in large part to his intelligence, delegating precision, and aggressive fundraising. He deserved to win. In all honesty, Marlee Matlin deserved to finish second, but after that, the placement of many of the competitors whittled down to fortune, luck and circumstance. Knowing what we know now, what order should the contestants actually have finished in?
There’s no exact science to this, but Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert have decided to put forth an end of season re-ranking in light of everything they’ve watched and considered-- much like college football’s AP End Of The Year Polls. Even retrospectively, there was no consensus between the two voters, but clear patterns did emerge in terms of who was deserving and who got lucky.
Here’s a look at the final, retrospective Cinema Blend Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings. As in weeks before, a first place vote was awarded sixteen points and a last place vote was awarded one. Here’s how the celebrities shaped up….
#1) John Rich (32): Determined, organized and willful to the very end, John Rich outworked and outthought his competition, ultimately emerging victorious in what may have been the most cut and dried victory in the history of The Apprentice. Don’t let the cowboy hat fool you. He’s one country boy that would do well in any Fortune 500 boardroom.
#2) Marlee Matlin (30): Also determined, organized and willful to the very end, Marlee Matlin worked her way into the final, doing nearly just as well with less efficient manpower in the finale. If John Rich hadn’t gone above and beyond by performing in the finale and gaining outside monetary support, Matlin really stood a chance. In the finale, it’s the little things that make the difference. For once, the detail machine that is Matlin fell short.
#3) Mark McGrath (27): It’s fitting Mark McGrath ended so close to Little Jon in these rankings, because both men went home for the same reason: sticking his foot in his mouth. Mark McGrath rocked as a creative force early on. He also showed poise when dealing with Busey about budgetary issues; and honestly, if Australian Gold had better business sense, the men would have clearly won that challenge and McGrath probably could have ended up moving into the final episode or close to it. As it stands, McGrath was still a huge help to John Rich in the finale, proving he was a force to be reckoned with all along.
#4) Lil Jon (26): Before being kicked off, Lil Jon said he had accomplished what he came on the show to do, make money for charity, and prove the rapper persona isn’t all that makes the man. We are all proud of Lil Jon, but that pride is somewhat bittersweet. Along with our two finalists, Lil Jon really had a great chance of making it to the final episode. If he had enough confidence to say he was better than Matlin, he could have been in the final two. But he didn’t. So he ended fourth in the competition, and fourth on our retrospective list.
#5) Star Jones (25): Star Jones is skilled with rhetoric and works hard, but it takes a people skills-oriented capacity to delegate that separates the winners from the rest of the top tier. There’s an old saying about kings ruling with either love or fear. If you apply this to the Celebrity Apprentice world, it seems pretty clear why Star lost. If you can’t get people to rally around and support you, it’s hard to get shit done. All in all, Star was a strong player. She was just missing a key puzzle piece.
#6) Richard Hatch (22): Richard Hatch is good at reality television. He won Survivor and was a smart player on Celebrity Apprentice (some more conspiracy theorist types at Cinema Blend might even believe Hatch went home only as a result of dealing with a lawsuit and court appearances). However, Hatch this season was way more low key than his stint on Survivor, avoiding drama and blending like a chameleon into the background. It’s no surprise he eventually went home, but I it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Hatch make it to the end of the season, either.
#7) Meatloaf (20): Meatloaf’s strong desire to earn money for his charity likely kept his king in play for a lengthy time. But like a king in chess, Meatloaf needed to be protected. Protected from Buseyisms, protected from criticisms, and protected from any overt stress. We saw Meatloaf be a mild lamb and a bat out of hell this season. It was a lengthy run worth watching, but at the end of the day, he’s still the king of the losing team.
#8) Hope Dworaczyk (15): Through the season, Hope fought her way from the bottom of these Celebrity Apprentice rankings into the upper echelons, and back to the bottom, again. Hope was quiet and this quietness seemed like incapacity…until she proved a capable delegator and a vociferous defender of the task she was project manager for. Her performance in that task wasn’t enough to let anyone think she could win. However, it was enough to show us Hope could play hard. When she traipsed home, it was only because she was outplayed.
#8) Nene Leakes (15): Delegating during challenges might be the one factor separating the lions from the lambs on Celebrity Apprentice. Nene is actually great at delegating, so it might seem weird her numbers are so low, but her inability to reign in her feelings and control the words coming from her mouth throughout this season shoved her into the middle of this list. Honestly, her behavior was so spectacularly aggressive and indecent, it’s actually a statement of her ability to work that she made it this high on the list at all.
#10) Niki Taylor (15): Like Mark McGrath, Niki Taylor was a case of foot in the mouth. When she lost her task, she refused to blame anyone and instead blamed herself for her mistakes. It was that willingness to respect others before herself that won her admirers, but it’s also what ultimately sent her home. At the end of the day, I bet she’d rather be known as a nice person than an effective businesswoman. A lot of people fall into that camp, they just aren’t Celebrity Apprentices.
#11) Lisa Rinna (14): We don’t know much about Lisa Rinna. She kicked it right off the back and was the second person to be tossed off this season of Celebrity Apprentice but, for weeks after she left, there was no one willing to challenge Star when she produced criticisms and sometimes outlandish comments. Lisa is a fighter and she could have stuck it out for a while. It’s no surprise Star Jones talked circles around Rinna, but it would have been nice if she hadn’t had to and we could have seen more from the pair.
#12) LaToya Jackson (11): LaToya was the first person to ever be brought back on Celebrity Apprentice after being fired. Cinema Blend attributes this to Trump’s willingness to cater to big name celebrities coupled with his random affection for LaToya. It has to be. She sucked on every challenge she was involved in, especially the first one she project managed. LaToya isn’t vocal, she seems to have no idea what it takes to be a leader and what it takes to command respect. She flits around like a giddy high school girl, and the only reason she’s higher than some on these rankings is because when she is given a specific assignment, she can fulfill that assignment. That’s something.
#13) Jose Canseco (8): Canseco is the turning point where the Power Rankings officially get shitty. Jose is a poor sport, he is whiny, he makes a terrible impression, and sometimes he just sat around during tasks. The only two reasons he isn’t lower: Canseco really sold the trailer challenge with his baseball-oriented antics and he rocked out at making pizzas during his first challenge. He’s not a great workhorse, but Jose Canseco would probably get you there, unlike these last three.
#14) Gary Busey (6): Gary Busey makes for great television. If someone could figure out how to build a program around a crazy man with over-the-top euphemisms, Busey would be set. However, on a show like Celebrity Apprentice, he’s hardly more than the man who made the boardroom lively. In all fairness, someone’s gotta be the court jester, it’s just not something to brag about.
#15) Dionne Warwick (3): The title of Diva might be a proud one for Warwick to uphold, but in Celebrity Apprentice terminology “diva” equals “bitch.” Being a bitch could prove useful if played right but, Dionne managed to alienate herself in the boardroom and even come across as extremely cruel. Couple this with the fact she moved slowly and was horrible with coming up with ideas and it’s easy to see why she’s landed at the bottom of these retrospective Power Rankings. It should be no surprise, as she’s landed near the bottom all along.
#15) David Cassidy (3): David managed to be the first to be kicked off in Season 4, so he could have ended up in the bottom just because we didn’t know much about his capabilities. If the reunion was any indication though, he would have ended up here more often than not. There’s a time to let things go. You can’t live your life bitching about perceived injustices. Cassidy couldn’t get over Richard Hatch’s “shove” at the time, and he’s still not over it. I wouldn’t hire anyone with that attitude, even if they did sell a lot of records back in the day.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: