A totally reasonable case could be made that Gary Busey was thrown to the wolves this week by teammates who made him project manager in order to watch him fail. But even if he was, wouldn’t you have done the same thing? The absent-minded actor somehow outlasted stronger players Mark McGrath and Richard Hatch, and in doing so, lowered the men from a juggernaut to a slowly imploding machine. It was time for him to go, and at no point was that more clear than when he sat in front of a room full of strangers desperately trying to explain what the hell a kite had to do with Omaha Steaks.

Even though a C- effort would have bested the Busey-led men, the women ultimately proved far better than that, headed by surprisingly capable project manager Hope. Her voice may not have been loud enough to drown out Star’s meddling, but for the most part, she was assertive, willing to make decisions and competent. It wasn’t quite enough to move her up the rankings this week, but it definitely was enough to showcase her as more than an also-ran.

The Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings are a combination of ordered lists put together by Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert. Sixteen points are given for a first place vote, and this week, nine was given for a last place vote. Eight contestants have already been eliminated; thus, they automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here’s a look at how this week played out…

Celebrity Apprentice
The Favorites

#1) John Rich (32): I was a bit concerned about John this week after Busey called him “boy” and he, for all intensive purposes, shut down, but a good night’s sleep did him well. On the day of the presentation, he worked like a madman assembling the odds and ends and making sure all was ready for Meatloaf’s cooking expo. Expect a big effort out of him this coming week as he’ll surely recommit and become the dominating force so many of us have earmarked as the eventual winner. Prolonged exposure to Gary Busey drives sane men to the breaking point. Thankfully for Rich, the radiation has lifted before too much harm was done.

#2) Star Jones (30): Star Jones just keeps working her way through tasks. She’s vociferous about what needs to be done, she can at least pretend to be passionate about mundane graphics, and she is a presence in every task even if she isn’t managing. If Celebrity Apprentice were a high school group project, Star Jones would not be the most popular person in the group, but she would be the person you could rely on most without worrying about the outcome. At the end of the day, that’s what makes an administrator. I just don’t know if that’s what makes a Celebrity Apprentice. If Star Jones does get fired, she will not go gently into that good night. I do expect her to go with more taste than Jennifer Carroll from Top Chef All-Stars though.

#3) Marlee Matlin (28): I always like Marlee so much better when the women claim victory. If it only comes down to efficiency and creativity, few can compete with her, which is why when challenges go well for the girls, there’s not a complaint that can be sent Marlee’s way. I wish I could say the rest of the competition would be like this week’s dominant victory, but a team she’s on will lose again. What’s going to happen if Nene freaks out on her in the boardroom or Trump asks her straight out who should be fired? Win-after-win can’t tell us how she’ll respond, and if history is any indication, the result won’t be pretty. Get mean, Marlee. Start practicing now, you’re going to need to thumb out a few eyes if you want to win.

celebrity apprentice
The Contenders

#4) Nene Leakes (25): Nene has made it this high in the Power Rankings because she’s more motivated than certain people with certain creative talents. She’s still speaking her mind any chance she gets, and while that has made her a few enemies, it also means she can work on her own and make decisions during challenges. Unlike Star, she doesn’t try to micromanage and unlike Marlee, she’s unafraid to say what’s what. On the other hand, we’ve seen her play great in contained elements, but she’s shown a loss of control in the aftermath of the boardroom. If Nene’s wildfire ever fully sparks, the whole prairie is going to light up. I’m a little worried about that happening around LaToya.

#4) Lil Jon (25): This week, Busey asked Lil Jon to cut out scraps of paper. Then he asked him to put black tissue paper in a box. He might as well have asked him to wear a nametag that said “LaToya”. If anyone else were the project manager, I would condemn Lil Jon for not demanding more responsibility, but with Busey at the helm, all bets are off. Would you ask that loon to give you tasks when there’s a seventy percent chance he won’t even remember what he told you to do? I certainly wouldn’t. Like the rest of the men, expect a reinvigorated Lil Jon to cash checks and snap necks this week as a Busey-less euphoria prompts him to once again reclaim his swagger.

#6) Meatloaf (22): For such a fragile, non-confrontational seeming guy, Meatloaf has had to step up to bat in the boardroom an uncomfortable number of times this season. It’s more likely I’ll hear Meatload say, “Someone step in, please” in an episode than I’ll hear Trump congratulate the men on an aspect of a task. Meatloaf seems to be congealing like fat on the side of a pan into layers of stress. It was almost enough to land him in the bottom this week, if he hadn’t kicked ass as an in-studio chef personality. If Meatloaf caved in at some point, it wouldn’t be shocking. But he’s remained heated throughout the competition thus far.

#7) Hope Dworaczyk (20): Hope stepped up and played well this week. She played so well she won her task, yet she’s still near the bottom of the Cinema Blend Power Rankings’ pile. Hope exists in a sort of limbo where she’s too middle-of-the road good—her management style is a little too inoffensive and she doesn’t bring a lot to the table creatively, excepting her muse-like looks. Hope doesn’t have Meatloaf’s creative talents, she doesn’t take chances like Lil Jon, or speak her mind clearly like Nene. Hell, the world could implode and John Rich could go home next week. Or maybe Hope will manage to pull another rabbit out of her 34C bra next week and shock us all. I’ve seen stranger things happen.

#8) LaToya Jackson (18): With a win as project manager last week and no noticeable gaffs this week, LaToya’s efforts have to be considered a great relief for the rolling women. With only five teammates left, she’s no longer relegated to the role of timekeeper, but that hasn’t stopped her from constantly complaining about how everyone is out to get her. Maybe they are, but that doesn’t mean they’re sabotaging challenges to put LaToya in vulnerable positions. Yes, they decided to have her cook a burger instead of a steak. So what? They made that decision for the benefit of the group as a whole. She needs to man up and stop playing the victim before she winds up the next casualty.

Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out:

John Rich (16)
Star Jones (15)
Lil Jon (14)
Nene Leakes (13)
Marlee Matlin (12)
Meatloaf (11)
Hope Dworaczyk (10)
LaToya Jackson (9)
John Rich (16)
Star Jones (15)
Marlee Matlin (14)
Nene Leakes (13)
Lil Jon (12)
Meatloaf (11)
Hope Dworaczyk (10)
LaToya Jackson (9)




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