I love Celebrity Apprentice. Without question, it is one of my fifteen favorite shows on television, but sweet mother of Trump is three hours way too long. The typical two hour episodes can even prove a bit taxing at times, but that final sixty minutes drug out this week like the last minute and a half of a twelve point basketball game where one team keeps intentionally fouling. Reel it back in, NBC. Tone it down. I want my Celebrity Apprentice, just not all at once. If Star Jones is going to be sent packing, I want to relish it, not be happy it’s over.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take any satisfaction in Star getting the heave ho, but with LaToya already fired and Nene on an impromptu fail bus headed for Atlanta, none of the contestants remaining had any real stake in her going home, at least apart from Meatloaf. The emotional singer who spent long segments of the first task sobbing looked to be dunzo, but thanks to longtime Trump right hand man George Ross advocating Star be let go, the crooner was able to save himself in the final few minutes. I can’t see anyway he finds enough Kleenexes to make it to the finale, but the final four has a nicer ring to it than the final five.
The Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings are a combination of ordered lists put together by Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert. Each week the remaining contestants are ranked with sixteen points given to a first place vote. Twelve contestants have been eliminated; therefore, this week’s last place votes automatically received thirteen. Here’s a look at how the order shook down…
#1) John Rich (32): This season of Celebrity Apprentice is John Rich’s game to lose. Not only does he have a shrewd sense for business, he also has maintained an almost unprecedented warmth for the people he is working with. When Meatloaf was an emotional wreck concerning his charity this week, John Rich personally offered to match the donor’s money if Meatloaf’s team lost. On that same token, he doesn’t empathize too much with his competition; this week he willingly gave blunt criticism when the other team’s commercial was unveiled. He’s as motivated, as good of a delegator, and as affable as Marlee Matlin, but he’s also a hell of a lot more willing to stand up for himself. John Rich is no demigod and he can be beat, but the players left will need to step up their games.
#2) Marlee Matlin (29): Marlee has mostly avoided criticism throughout the season. Donny especially likes to throw small criticisms her way, but they have mostly been deflected in favor of larger team drama, which is fine. Marlee has been a fine player, bringing in big donors, delegating when asked to, and going out of her way to provide extra help in challenges. This week, she opted to go onstage during the first challenge and perform a deaf-based comedy routine. Marlee is truly there to champion her cause, but we have yet to see how she will handle a situation if heavy criticism were to head her way. She might be the first female this season to tactfully but firmly be able to argue circles around “The Johnz.” Alternatively, heavy criticism might fall on deaf ears.
#2) Lil Jon (29): With John Rich battling a sinus infection, Lil Jon stepped up and took the reigns from his sickly project manager. The power grab was a microcosm of the rapper’s entire performance on Celebrity Apprentice. He’s never really gone out of his way to grab as much responsibility as possible, but when he’s delegated a task, asked to be project manager or is the only capable person who could possibly execute what’s needed, Lil Jon has always plugged the whole with aggressive creativity. Of course, this is a huge bonus with just a few players left, but it’s hard to forget the numerous weeks in which he sat in the background content to be a bit player. That’s what separates him from John Rich, but moving forward with an equal onus on everyone, it’s not necessarily a weakness that’ll come into play.
#4) Meatloaf (26): “Fight, Meat, Fight!” That’s what John Rich screamed at the television as Meatloaf was getting his lunch handed to him by Star in the boardroom, but almost as if the challenge was piped through the speakers, Meatloaf responded with an aggressive defense, pinning the branding blame on Star and keeping himself in the clear. There’s no way he makes it past the three previous winners and their interrogations next week. He’s too scatter-brained, with too many outbursts in the closet and too many so-so performances to beat any of his remaining competitors, but a solid case could be made that Meatloaf overachieved more than any other contestant on this year’s show. His lack of organization and occasional inability to communicate nearly doomed him early on. I’m glad he outlasted Gary Busey, and something tells me he is too.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: