Gary Busey has to be the strangest winning project manager in the history of The Apprentice, right? He’s certainly the only one to abandon tasks to play catch and praise another team member for taking a nap mid-challenge. It’s all funny in retrospect after you win, I guess, especially when it’s a goddamn landslide.
This week’s challenge was to show off Camping World RVs to perspective buyers. The boys went with the massive, tour bus-looking choice, and the ladies settled on the smaller, more family friendly option. Female project manager Niki Taylor assigned each of her team members a room to decorate, though that didn’t stop human snail Dionne Warwick from bitching, arguing and backhandedly putting quotes around the term “project manager” when she used it in interviews.
The boys may not have been anymore cohesive, but after both Richard Hatch and Mark McGrath took it upon themselves to privately call landscaping services to get discounted greenery installed around the entirety of their RV, the challenge was pretty much over. Throw in an original song from John Rich with background vocals from Meatloaf, and the boys bested the girls in nearly every area of the challenge except interior decorating and product knowledge. The largely unsung LaToya Jackson was the lone bright spot for the ladies as she memorized loads of little facts about the RV and properly implemented them during the guided tour. If these subtle little touches are her niche, she needs to roll with them.
After Trump selected team Busey as the clear winner, the boardroom seemed to be setting itself up for a Niki/ Dionne showdown with a random third party along for the ride, but surprisingly, Niki told the Donald the loss was her fault, she was the project manager and she was willing to accept the consequences. One has to admire a willingness to lay in the bed you made, but at the same time, Niki had a lot left in the tank to offer this competition. Dionne is not going to win, and I would have really liked to see the model stay and fight for her charity. I guess that’s mute now.
The Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings are an averaging of ordered lists put together by Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert. Each competitor is judged according to previous performances, as well as long-term prospects to win. A first place vote nets the player sixteen points, while this week, a last place vote was awarded four. Three competitors have gone home already; so, they automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here’s a look at this week’s order…
#1) John Rich (31): Another week, another successful performance from the country singer. It started out a little shaky after he got into a heated (and possibly unnecessary) argument with Jose Canseco and Richard Hatch over the intelligence level of his fans, but it’s unclear whether he may have let it go had cameras not been around. I can’t imagine his followers would have been too pleased to hear a slandering of their education greeted with tacit support from John Rich. After that though, it was all smooth sailing, as he partnered with Meatloaf to sing an original composition for Camping World and did much of the heavy lifting when the team assembled their equipment.
#2) Mark McGrath (30): Mark was a rock this week—and I’m not leaning toward dumb as a rock. He was steadfast and unmovable throughout the various stressors he faced, and there were stressors. Garey Busey proved he could not manage and at one point promised both Mark and Richard the same budget money for trees. While annoyed, Mark handled the situation gracefully and moved on. Later in the challenge, Mark also proved he has random skills as a salesperson. Hearing him chant, “It’s affordable, convenient, and fun,” with enthusiasm was almost creepy, as if there were a ventriloquist hiding out in the wings somewhere to speak for him; all in all, the performance was effective, and it moved Mark up in the rankings this week.
#3) Richard Hatch (28): Like Mark, Richard also ran into some problems with the whole Busey miscue over the budget for trees, but the important part here is they both took the initiative to outfit their RV with lots and lots of green. That was the single biggest edge the boys had. That two of their team members were all over it from jump street is a testament to just how well the team performed as a whole. After a first week loss in which Richard was rude but largely effective, he’s really morphed himself into an effective team player. We’ll see if this passive, yet competent and firm demeanor becomes his calling card or is just a brief aside to more power grabs.
#4) Marlee Matlin (26): Marlee needs to be less diplomatic. She’s a strong, smart competitor, but after Lisa was sent home, she’s chilled out on her criticisms. This week, Marlee was willing to discuss Dionne’s shortcomings, but she only skirted around the issues rather than being totally up front about them. If she figures out how to delegate, it seems like Marlee could go far. She’s respected, she’s tough, and she’s likeable. She often has good ideas, as long as you aren’t asking her to decorate tents with American flags. Her biggest problem is that she is sometimes spoken over and sometimes unclear. Again, this will come back to her ability to delegate. She will have to dominate the room as project manager to keep her place in these raucous rankings.
#5) Star Jones (23): As Nene humorously pointed out this week, Star is going to be Star. She just can’t help herself. She’s too strong and assertive to differ, even when the situation might call for taking a backseat. That aggressiveness should propel the girls to a few random victories when she calls bullshit on a project going haywire, but it may also send her home if her teammates and the Donald view it as meddling. I can’t shake the feeling she’s going to end up finishing fourth or fifth in an epic boardroom where the entire team collectively points the finger at her selfishness.
#6) Nene Leakes (22): Nene showed an ability to speak out during the boardroom last week. This week, she was much stronger vocally. She also spent the entire challenge micro-managing Dionne, which should have helped Niki. Nene speaks up and is patient when she needs to be, but her strengths so far have come from her ability to use her mouth. As far as her ability to work hard goes, I haven’t really seen it. This could have to do with what the camera shows audiences each week, or it could just be Nene being Nene. As she said about Dionne, “When I’m seventy I don’t want to work either.” She isn’t seventy, but god knows what her work ethic as a forty-something is.
#7) Lil Jon (20): Lil Jon essentially had a two-fold role this week. First, he listened to poor Mark McGrath freak out about how incompetent and lazy the leadership was. Second, he pissed off Gary something fierce in the boardroom. When asked who the weakest player on the team was, Mr. Busey pointed the finger toward Lil Jon. It was somewhat comical and completely unfair, especially since Jose literally took a nap during the challenge, but there’s no point in assigning motivations to Gary’s behavior. Lil Jon was hardly an ace in the hole this week, but he pulled his weight. Whether he can do the same whenever he steps up as project manager is still anyone’s guess.
#8) Meatloaf (19): Meatloaf was mostly a non-factor during the camping challenge, though he didn’t exactly win himself any points after he didn’t have any idea what was inside the RV compartments. Of all the competitors, he seems the most relaxed and down to Earth, which makes him ideal to hang out with but perhaps less than willing to access the inner douche bag needed to facilitate a long run. That’s not to say I think he’ll go home next week. When you’re not the project manager, if you work hard and achieve even reasonably in these early rounds, there will always be someone who screws up more, but once the field is whittled away, Meatloaf may be in trouble when he’s forced to throw other competitors under the bus for slight infractions.
#9) Hope Dworaczyk (16): Hope may be the smartest foolish person I’ve ever watched on television. She’s quiet, she keeps to herself, she avoids drama, and she does what is tasked to her. If she keeps this strategy up and gains some confidence before she takes project manager, she could do pretty well. However, when Hope does get solo camera time, she often makes obvious or ill-informed comments. This week she couldn’t figure out whether we live in the 20th or 21st century. Hope is our wild card. She has some spunk and she’s played innocuous so far, but it's impossible to guess how this competition could turn out for her. Sounds about right for a former playmate of the year.
#10) Gary Busey (14): Gary Busey was project manager this week and his team came out on top. I say team rather than Gary because Gary failed as a project manager. If he didn’t have capable workers around him to lend him ideas and take initiative on their own, this challenge would have been a disaster. At one point, Gary sat in a chair with Jose Conseco for hours, leaving Mark McGrath to do virtually all of the work at the RV station. Gary has no idea how to compete in Celebrity Apprentice. This week, Trump called him "mentally tough." Mentally tough doesn't necessarily include an aptitude for competing in a business setting. Unfortunately for Gary, his biggest strength lies in the fact he’s amusing to have around.
#11) LaToya Jackson (13): LaToya Jackson came out of the woodwork with a moderate level of competence this week. Though she was dressed completely inappropriately to sell family-oriented RVs, she listened when lectured to by the Camping World representative, and she applied the knowledge she accrued to the tours she gave. If the women had any strength this week, it stemmed from LaToya. Her work was an absolute surprise, and it moved her up a few positions in the rankings. It’s still rather up in the air if she will be capable of leading or is better as the loyal-puppy figure on the team.
#12) Jose Canseco (10): What do you say about a behemoth of a man that sat around napping and twiddling his thumbs while there was equipment to unload? And how do you even complain about said man when his boss, the project manager, told everyone who would listen he was doing a great job? Both Jose and Gary are extremely lucky the men won this week. At one point, Mark McGrath even filmed them playing baseball rather than working, but at the end of the day, if your team gets the job done, there’s no finger-pointing required. Jose needs a big effort this week or he might end up grounding out in the boardroom.
#13) Dionne Warwick (8): Dealing with Dionne Warwick is like dealing with a cranky two year-old who has missed her nap. Like a two year-old, Warwick is selfish, she will not share, and any time she wants to make a point she will state it bluntly and often illogically. Every family has an older person who has sort of thrown all of the life lessons they’ve learned to the wind; and Dionne Warwick is it for the Celebrity Apprentice family. Or, maybe she’s always been this stubborn. Either way, Celebrity Apprentice is a competition that gauges contestants’ abilities to work as part of a team and to sometimes earn respect from other contestants by leading efficiently. Dionne Warwick may be able to belt out demands, but she’s a far cry from having her shit together on this show. She’s stuck around because of the mistakes of others.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: