Celebrity Apprentice, Episode 12: It’s Come Down To Thisby Brian Towers -- 03/24/2008
Last week: In a Rolodex-free event, they sold sandwiches. Empresario couldn’t make up the disadvantage of having only two people on their team. Lennox’s celebrity also put Hydra over the top. Trace survived the Boardroom and Baldwin was fired.
By the way, both sandwiches will be available at Quiznos for a limited time! For details, click here.
One astute reader has noted that Baldwin finished fifth in both of his seasons on Celebrity Mole (assuming the Moles don’t count as players). With his elimination in fifth place last week, he has completed an unusual trifecta.
For your reference, here are the players remaining in the game:
The episode starts with Trump receiving the four remaining players in the Boardroom. Instead of wine and crumpets, he has an immediate task for them: the dreaded executive interviews! Performing the honors will be business reporters Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett from CNBC. Remember apoplectic Jim from his stint as a guest viceroy in week three, when Gene Simmons told him he was “a handsome and powerful man”?
Two people will be eliminated after these interviews. Piers thinks his chances are good, because if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s talking.
I’m not running through every question. Some of the topics covered are their charities and why they were chosen, their opinions about the other players, their best moment in the competition, and their fundraising, both past and potential.
Here’s a selection of responses. A nervous Lennox stumbles over the charity question. Trace says he’ll leave this show with his integrity intact. Trace tells Jim that Piers takes advantage of other people. Piers tells Jim that he hasn’t made a mistake in the game yet, and Jim responds that he’s never met someone who doesn’t make mistakes.
In the next scene, the interrogations are mercifully complete and Trump meets with the interviewers. Erin is impressed by the passion of everyone. Piers is the one she likes the least. Jim agrees, but he knows Piers can raise the most money despite shortcomings in teamwork and leadership. Trump says those qualities are important, so Jim passionately barks, “Then Piers must be stopped!”
Both are impressed by Carol’s quiet determination, but found Lennox was too laid back. Erin names Trace as her favorite. Asked to pick two names, Jim names Trace and Carol. Erin is asked the same thing, but we do not see her answer.
Trump now meets with the four candidates. Lennox says he was comfortable in what he found to be a familiar situation. Trace liked Erin, but Jim was too rapid-fire for him. Trump tells Trace that Erin thought he was “terrific.”
Piers is a bit surprised to hear the interviewers found him “ruthless,” saying he broke no rules in the game and wasn’t unethical or immoral. Ivanka informs him, “you walk a line that people aren’t comfortable with,” but she agrees that he never broke any rules. Piers admits he played hard and says, “If I am to lose because of my a lack of British tact in a game which is led by a man who is renowned around the world as a ruthless, tough businessman, then I plead happily guilty to that.” Good answer. Did he just save himself?
Trump asks Carol why she should win, and she says, “I’m organized, I’m detailed, I’m versatile, I can work on the fly, and I think I got the gumption.” Good answer!
Trump asks Carol who he should fire. She says, “I’d keep me and Piers.” She compliments his ability to look ahead and see problems.
Piers says that Lennox wouldn’t win as often without Piers on his team, and to Trump’s surprise, Lennox agrees. Piers also says he was the driving force in most of the eleven tasks, and Lennox agrees again. This confuses Trump, who wanted to see Lennox reply more aggressively.
Coupling this perceived weakness with the fact that interviewers Jim and Erin identified him as too laid-back, Trump makes his first decision and tells Lennox he is fired. As we see Lennox take his cab ride, he tells us the $40,000 he won for his charity is the best part of the experience for him.
Trump says it’s hard to fire Piers when he has raised so much money, even if he is the least nice person in the game. Piers takes exception at that characterization, but Trump tells him not to interrupt when he’s being exonerated.
The Donald asks Piers whom he would fire. He says, “I would beat Trace with more ease than beat Carol. She would be a tougher competitor. And I mean no disrespect to Trace.” Trump turns to Trace to ask what he has to offer, and Trace says he’ll call on celebrities and he’ll play with integrity.
Trump asks Trace, “Do you like Piers?” Trace replies, “We’ve been sociable and cordial.” He also thinks Piers has been ruthless and merciless. He adds that Piers wouldn’t stab him in the back; he’d stab him in the forehead. Piers agrees; he says he doesn’t believe in stabbing people in the back.
Trump says the decision in hard and reveals that both interviewers named Carol and Trace as the ones who should advance to the final round. However, The Donald likes the potential friction between the two guys. That’s a valid reason to make a business decision?
Apparently it is in Trumpworld, because Carol is fired. Trump is an idiot.
Carol leaves with a smile… I’d make them call for Security! As she leaves, Carol tells us that she accomplished what she wanted to in the game.
Back in the Boardroom, Trump likes the “good versus evil, U.K. versus U.S.A.” situation he’s set up. He could have had all that plus his original “man versus woman” scenario if he had chosen Carol over Trace.
It’s the next day. Trump, accompanied by children Ivanka and Don Junior, explains the final task. Trump asks Piers about the “good versus evil” and Piers says Trump will learn, “I’m not as evil as you think, and he’s definitely not as good.” Even Trace smiles at that one. Piers tells us he relishes the challenge of being the disgusting, evil foreigner battling the all-American hero cowboy.
Trump has invited four previous competitors to come back and help out on this final task. Fortunately for me, it’s Carol Alt, Steven Baldwin, Marilu Henner, and Lennox Lewis who have been selected to help out. Yay, no Omarosa!
Trace wins a coin toss giving him the right to make the first pick. He selects Lennox, because he thinks Piers wants Lennox for his team. Playing defense with the first pick overall seems a little negative, but we’ll see. As Piers considers his pick, we get some humorous footage of Baldwin praying that Piers won’t pick him. Piers takes Baldwin.
Piers’ reasoning is, despite their fights, he remembers that they did some good work together in the middle part of the game. Trace takes Marilu, and Piers is assigned Carol.
Teams will work on different aspects of the same event, which turns out to be a charity concert and auction. Ivanka says that one team will handle catering and produce a live auction. Don Junior adds that the other finalist is responsible for the décor, plus working with the entertainment, The Backstreet Boys.
The victory will be decided in three categories: Tickets sold, money raised by the auction, and how well they run their part of the event.
They will be provided with some items to sell at auction, but should also solicit additional contributions. I think I see Kiss guitars, an autographed Taxi script, etc. Proceeds go to their charities, win or lose.
The six of them meet for Piers and Trace to split up the tasks. Trace takes working with the talent and Piers, the auction. Both are happy with the split. They then split up the initially-donated items. We don’t see most of this, but Piers chooses a shopping trip with Ivanka and Trace takes a Superbowl package. Piers wants one-of-a-kind items, and I think he’s right. After all, the people who can bid $20,000 and more at a charity auction are capable of cobbling together their own Superbowl experiences. When the items are split, Piers says, “May the best man win, and I will.”
Piers advises Trace to keep Sleepy Boy Lennox awake. Trace describes Piers as “a Chihuahua.” He defines that as, “one of the tiniest dogs on the planet. It barks loud, they make a lot of noise, and they’re a pain in the ass, but they’re no real threat. That’s Piers Morgan.”
Piers feels they can win by out-selling at the auction and by selling a greater number of high-price tickets. Baldwin interviews that Piers is wrong when he says that for Trump, this challenge is all about the money. Baldwin thinks it will be all about “faces” (celebrity).
In the other room, Trace says that he expects Piers will beat him on the money aspect, but he will concentrate on the other two objectives. He is going to charter two jets to fly all his country friends up from Nashville. That impresses Lennox! It’s getting personal for Trace, and I hope he doesn’t lose his focus.
Trace’s team is trying hard to arrange for their contacts to show up. Lennox notes that this is hard, since they essentially are offering about one day’s notice. Trace lists some of the names that have committed to help him out, but alas, since I’m not a country guy, I don’t recognize them.
Lennox and Marilu go to look at props while Trace takes care of the band. Lennox is concerned that she’s taking too long to make decisions about the table decor. Every time they make a decision, he says, “Done!” so she won’t be tempted to keep making changes. As they walk out of the room, Marilu pauses at the door and takes a long, hard look at their setup. You can hear Lennox say “Done” from about twenty feet down the hall!
Carol and Steven go to check out the hors d'oeuvres they will be serving. Steven’s in his element, clowning as he stuffs his face. We get no indication if decisions are being made or not, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I trust Carol’s instincts on this one.
Piers knows that unique prizes will generate the largest bids. He meets with “my favorite royal” – Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (pictured at the top of this article). She offers a tea with her as one prize, and also a tea set. Piers thinks securing the “Tea With Fergie” prize may be the deciding move in his favor.
In the other war room, Trace asks if the Backstreet Boys are now known as The Backstreet Old Boys. Well, there goes the “nice” image down a peg!
Marilu has a list of their extensive requirements. It’s a lengthy list, and it seems like the Old Boys still see themselves as being in a position to command anything and everything. Trace can’t believe all the items are deal-breakers, and has her hold off on making these purchases.
Trace contacts the group’s manager to try and discuss on the phone, but the phone call goes poorly. The guy has Trace repeat his name a few times, as well as his function, and Trace is visibly irritated. Trace arranges that they will meet the next day at 10 AM.
Meanwhile, Piers meets with a representative of the Fallen Heroes Fund. He feels that giving up 20 seats for free to some veterans may pay bigger dividends that the sale of those seats. He thinks Trump will appreciate the gesture and their presence may increase bidding. That’s smart thinking!
The next day, Trace meets with The Backstreet Boys, and his worst fears are confirmed. The many demands they have are growing. When he tells them there’s only one dressing room, they are stunned into silence by the outrageous limitations that have just been forced upon them. Trace is sure these kids are playing games with his head (well, he said it more graphically), and when they ask for wheat grass juice (described as “like turf),” he is completely perplexed. Trace refers to his time with The Backstreet Boys as “time in my life I’ll never get back.”
Baldwin promises Piers a lot of big name talent, but despite dropping names like James Gandolfini and Ben Stiller, he can’t deliver a soul. No one. Further, he does so while acting like he’s about six years old. Piers wants to delegate tasks, but he needs to feel like the delegated tasks can be done properly.
A goofy-faced Baldwin faux-apologizes (to the camera) for not being able to get any celebrities. I doubt he’s getting a Christmas card from the Fallen Heroes Fund, whom he is really hurting. Ironic… Trace is booking two planes, yet Baldwin can’t even deliver the writer of an Internet column?
Next week: Trace is tested by the band over a sudden need for black nail polish. Piers tells the wait staff he wants his bidders tipsy to lower their inhibitions while bidding. Trace is visited by his family, and it seems like Piers patches in a phone call from some major-league individual. Sharon Osbourne, Andrew Lloyd Weber, and Simon Cowell all make an appearance, and not that I’ll recognize them, but I’m expecting country music’s best to drop by, too… so don’t miss it!
My Comments: Apparently there’s more to winning this game than having a famous, smiling face?
Next week: We’re almost done. It could go either way. Piers may raise the most money, but giving up 20 seats will surely cost his that point. That brings it down to who’s the best PM. I can see that subjective issue being a wash, so since the season is so much about raising money for charity, will that factor be elevated in making the final decision? Will Trump let Omarosa decide? Will a large donation from Gene Simmons be the deciding factor? Or, more probably, will a different scenario play out?
Brian lives in Toronto. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machines in generally unsuccessful attempts to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He can be reached at email@example.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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