You know how Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice normally call in the previous winners and various executive types to interview the final four candidates and make recommendations that Trump either contorts to validate his previously decided opinions or ignores entirely? Well, the show went in a different direction this year. Instead, the remaining players were called back into the boardroom and asked a serious of relatively generic questions by Don Jr and Ivanka involving strengths and weaknesses and skills they learned from last time around with the goal being to fire one remaining player on each team.
Poor Lisa Rinna was canned from her side almost immediately. After being run over by the louder and more aggressive women during her initial season, the actress made a hell of a comeback this time around. She just can’t compete with Penn Jillette’s rolodex. Luckily, she was all smiles after getting fired. On the other side of the table, however, the matter was a little more contentious. Lil Jon and Trace Adkins never directly went at each other, but they both made it very clear how much they wanted to be in the finals. In the end, Trump used the better record as project manager to decide and sent Jon packing for the second time within a hair of making the finale.
Fortunately for Penn and Trace, their dearly departed former teammates didn’t leave angry. The former was given Lisa, LaToya Jackson and Dennis Rodman to assist in the final task, and the latter was assigned Jon, Marilu Henner and Gary Busey. Meeting with executives from Walgreens, the players were asked to create a brand new flavor of ice cream that would be launched with the help of a minute long commercial and a star-studded gala for charity.
After some product testing, Penn’s team went with a flavor called “Chocolate and Vanilla Swirtle”, swirtle being a mix of the words swirl and turtle. They also sprinted forward with a magic theme to play up Penn and Teller’s fame and cast the two magicians and four showgirls for their commercial. Unfortunately, as this week’s episode lumbered to a close, the team was unable to cut the video down to the necessary one minute.
On the other side of the aisle, Team Trace went a little more outside the box and picked a Macadamia Maple flavor. For their commericial, they, of course, incorporated Busey as the star and Lil Jon as the director. To some, it might seem like a bold decision to not use the project manager heavily in the commercial , but given Busey’s fame level and his acting chops, it was probably a smart move.
Next week, the second part of the finale episode will air, and we will know once and for all who the All-Stars Celebrity Apprentice winner is. Strong arguments could be made for why either side should win; so, Power Rankings writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Rawden have written up a few paragraphs to outline the pros and cons of each’s case.
Trace is clearly looking at the ice cream task from a creative standpoint, while Penn is looking at it from a business standpoint. This means he went for some more unique ice cream flavors this week, including the one the team eventually decided was the best “Maple Macadamia Mash-up.” Additionally, going into the finale, Trace has a pretty competent team. Gary’s endless ability to try all of the flavors of ice cream this week came in handy, and Adkins is utilizing Marilu’s brainstorming skills and Lil Jon’s directorial skills pretty effectively. So far, the man has put together a good plan and has not hit any big walls in the creative process, which is good news during the final task.
On the con side, Trace does seem to be having a bit of trouble getting some celebrities to show for the finale. While his ideas are sound, he’s missing some of the details Penn’s team has easily accomplished. Penn has a cute message on the bottom of his ice cream container and is pulling in sports memorabilia and other unique items to entice people to come in. Trace will really need to bring in some big names to compete with the Vegas spectacle Penn is bringing to the table. Still, it’s a close race between the two tall men, and we can’t wait to see how the finale pans out next week.
From a money standpoint, Penn is looking pretty good. He’s still not sure if Wayne Newton will show up, but even if he doesn’t, several other celebrities have already RSVPed yes. I’m not sure there’s ever been a celebrity on Apprentice with a more impressive rolodex, and one would imagine those connections would show themselves during the final challenge. From a managing people sense, Penn has also done extremely well this task. Dennis is getting sports memorabilia, which is a perfect assignment for him. Lisa and LaToya are taking care of the details, which is in their wheelhouse too.
On the con side, however, is that pesky commercial. Magic tricks aren’t something you can simply cut the camera on. That calls into question the entire illusion, and since Penn’s commercial entirely hinges on an illusion, the footage timing out ten seconds or so too long is a really big deal. No doubt they will be able to find a way to get down to sixty seconds, but at what cost? When it comes to fundraising Trace has always proven to be an incredible force. He’s got some big donors in his back pocket too, and while they might not be as famous as Penn’s, they should be a serious worry for the comedian.