This week, NBC treated Celebrity Apprentice fans to a special 3-hour episode, featuring two challenges and two very specific firings. With various butts on the line, two strong players went home this week, while two weak players slipped through the cracks, once again. Trump is on a role with punishing his players for small missteps and, man, is it cringe-inducing to watch.
In the first challenge this week, the men and women were tasked with creating a New York guidebook and hawking it on the street, as well as bringing in major donors to also purchase the guidebooks. From the beginning, the women were so emotionally charged, it is almost no surprise they ended up losing the task, if we forget for a second the challenge was far more donor based then teamwork-oriented. Despite their challenges, the women actually won the extra $35,000 grand allotted by Regis Philbin for the best guidebook, but in the end they lost due to accumulating $14 less than the men.
Up on the chopping block was project manager Teresa, who brought back Dayana for being Dayana and Debbie for not raising enough money. Ironically, Trump sent Debbie home, even though the women were very close in the amounts of money they raised and even though Aubrey actually raised less money than any other woman. Usually money is a big factor in these donor challenges, but with Teresa’s leadership issues, under the circumstances, Trump’s call seems a little suspect.
On the bright side, as project manager on the men’s team, Dee was able to donate over $300 thousand dollars to his charity, March of Dimes. He only got to ride his high horse for a few minutes, however, because in challenge two, he found himself with trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble. First, Trump needed to split the team’s up.
The women had lost five challenges out of seven, and thus were down to four players. Split into pairs, Aubrey and Teresa joined Clay, Arsenio and Paul. On the other team, Dayana and Lisa were paired off, joining Penn, Dee, and Lou. The task was simple: Both teams were to advertise for Walgreen’s new walking platform, replete with snazzy graphics and a live presentation. Unfortunately, Penn had to leave for a short gig and would pull an all-nighter right before the performance. Other than that Lou’s second stint as project manager was uneventful, with Lisa and Dayana even managing to mostly rein their claws in, at least until the boardroom.
On the other team, however, tensions were high. Aubrey being Aubrey might work in a room chock full of unassertive women, but add a few men and her way of working becomes a little more abrasive. As project manager, Arsenio could not rein Aubrey in at all and the arguing began almost immediately. Still, back in the boardroom, their team won, due to a combination of Lou being a mediocre manager, Dee making uninspired graphics for the second time, and Penn making a big flub, accidentally saying “Walmart” instead of “Walgreen’s.”
Although Lou really is a one trick pony and that one trick does not involve management, it’s hard to fault Trump for sending Dee home for bad graphics. That was the second time he had earned the criticism and Lou refused to bring Penn back to the boardroom, leaving Dayana and Dee as his best options. One can hardly fault Dayana for being a “weak player” in a week she saved Penn’s butt after his epic flub, however. Thus, Dee or Lou had to go, and it seems Trump has a soft spot for Lou. One thing is certain: Dayana may not be creative, but she is a slippery character and not nearly as stupid as Lisa would have audiences believing.
I could have waited a whole week to see Dee get sent home, but on the bright side, editing two episodes together reminded us of his big win before he was chucked from the rankings. In the end, Aubrey walked out, too. It seems like a stunt, but we’ll see if she pulls a Nene Leaks when Celebrity Apprentice returns next week.
#1) Clay Aiken (33): Clay’s ascent to the top of the rankings has been gradual, but with everyone having completed a turn as project manager, he deserves to be considered among the best. Apart from the one week in which he freaked out on Penn, Clay has remained cool, composed and strategic. Notice in the boardroom how differently he chose to express his resentment of Aubrey than Arsenio who created untold amounts of friction and lost his composure? That steadiness should carry Clay to the finals if he can avoid any major screw-ups.
#2) Penn Jillette (32): Despite bringing in major donors in this week’s first task and being a big creative force in task two, Penn had a major fuck-up this week when he used a competitor’s name during his portion of the presentation. Normally, this would be enough to knock a player down a notch, but with Paul Sr. and Dayana sneaking under scrutiny and Aubrey, Lisa, Arsenio, and Teresa all making mistakes on top of having major freak-outs, Penn is fairly safe at number two.
#3) Aubrey O’Day (31): Aubrey was Aubrey this week. A thousand good ideas, plenty of energy and lots of angry teammates in her wake. She’s clearly far better creatively than most of the people left, but to get ahead in life (and usually this game), one needs to be a politician, not a lightning rod for criticism. I firmly believe Aubrey will wind up coming back. Maybe it’ll be with a new attitude and a new reliance on her teammates. Let’s hope so because if nothing changes, she’ll be thrown under the bus in every remaining boardroom.
#4) Paul Teutul Sr. (27): Paul Sr. has made several clutch contributions and decisions within the course of this season; however, he has mostly been a man of few words, and has hung back when the going get rough. Thus far this has proved a boon for Paul Sr. and kept him fairly high in the rankings. At some point, however, he will have to stand up once more as a leader. Now Lisa may have totally gone over the age, Paul Sr. might be the only wild card we have left in this competition. We’ve seen him lead once and he did an alright job, but I have no idea what to expect now the teams have been redistributed.
#4) Lisa Lampanelli (27): People talk about Lou having a chip on his shoulder, but my God, Lisa has the bigger chip. She spends 50% of her time on Apprentice complaining about how beautiful women are brainless and the other 50% of the time actually busting her ass. Insult comic or no, half of life is developing people skills, which is something Lisa seems to simply have missed. Ironically, those she is consistently knocking down seem to have the people skills thing down. Lisa is smart and she is a hard worker, which pits her in the top half of these rankings, but her mouth could give her major trouble if she does not keep it in check..
#6) Arsenio Hall (23): Arsenio won as project manager this week. The executives gave him rave reviews for his performance as the game show host, but by the end of the boardroom, all of that was overshadowed by his explosive blowup on Aubrey. On the one hand, I understand how it happened. Arsenio seems like a really nice dude. As he admitted with his teammates, he googled every single person in the cast to find out what their likes, goals and aspirations are. It’s that attitude that has made him such a wonderful team player, but in order to win, you need to be willing to utilize and deal with all sorts of people. Ultimately, his freak out on Aubrey didn’t really help anyone and was misplaced and not very pointful.
#7) Dayana Mendoza (22): Dayana may have had her problems in week’s past, but she was very good during the fundraising challenge. She brought in more than twenty-five thousand dollars and dutifully worked the crowd. During the second task, she also took care of whatever was assigned to her, even though that didn’t prove to be a whole lot. One of these weeks in the boardroom, she’s going to wind up going home, but it’s still fairly impressive she made it this far.
#8) Lou Ferrigno (21): Lou’s team lost their task this week, despite the fact Lou actually did a marvelous job relating his own experiences with walking to Walgreen’s program. However, he did not contribute creatively to the task, he barely delegated activities out to his team members, and he got emotional once again in the boardroom. Honestly, Lou’s a great team member. He will always work goddamn “110%” but he does not necessarily have the capacity to be a great team leader, which is what Celebrity Apprentice is about. Trump seems to like having him around and he could totally eke it out for a few more weeks, but at some point Lou really needs to just head home.
#9) Teresa Giudice (18): I still can’t figure out why Teresa turned on Debbie. That made no sense whatsoever. She got the printing done and raised more money than Aubrey. It was idiotic to bring her in the boardroom given how much she’s brought to each task. Like Dayana, Teresa has slid by thanks to not having any outright screw ups. At some point though, you need to contribute something huge that wins your team a task or you need to go home.
Here’s a look at how the ballots shook out…