The Apprentice 3, Analysis of the Final Two: The Games People Playby Angela Dalecki -- 05/12/2005
Since there was no “winning team” this week—the top three candidates simply went head-to-head against each other—this week’s “Analysis of a Win” column will be slightly different than usual. Since Craig’s firing was a surprise to no one, I’m going to discuss what Kendra and Tana have to offer to Mr. Trump, and what qualities they’ve shown over the course of the season that has made them the cream of the crop. I’m also going to take a look at how the final task is setting up, and offer my predictions based on what we’ve seen so far.
After what was possibly the fastest firing in Apprentice history (Craig, you’re an idiot and no one likes you - go home, you’re fired), Trump was left with the two people whom viewers have been predicting for weeks would make it to the end: Kendra and Tana. So what do Tana and Kendra have that set them apart from the other sixteen candidates?
Let’s start with Tana. The Mary Kay saleslady from Iowa has been a serious contender for the final two ever since she and Craig first moved to Team Magna. If you recall, that was the task where she busted out her “jive-talking” in the Fuse TV task. Even before that, she’d succeeded as Project Manager in the mobile business task, when she built on Angie’s idea of running a mobile talent agency. After Tana moved to Magna, she became an increasingly strong candidate - willing to take risks, and shining as both a team member and as Project Manager. As part of Team Magna, she proceeded to win six tasks in a row, including the American Eagle task, where she presided as Project Manager. She’s smart, savvy, a great salesperson, and a good leader.
Tana’s weaknesses include poor decision-making skills (who can forget the field trip to Staten Island for a Bedazzler?) and a tendency to make things too personal. For example, in the interviews with the executives this week, she claimed that her friend Craig was a stronger candidate than Kendra (despite all evidence to the contrary). And don’t forget that Carolyn and George - who are usually good judges about this type of thing - said that they can’t imagine her fitting into Trump’s organization.
On the other hand, there’s Kendra. Kendra didn’t really emerge as a strong candidate until more than halfway through the season - her unobtrusive nature and quiet competence let her fly under the radar for several weeks. However, she was noticeable if you were paying attention: When Magna was in the Boardroom the very first week, she was the only person to defend Danny, the team’s scapegoat, and point blame at Todd, who truly deserved it. She is the only candidate in Apprentice history to have never been in a final Boardroom. As another member of Team Magna, Kendra won seven tasks in a row, starting with the Fuse TV task where she was Project Manager. She’s been PM twice since then - on the Pontiac and Hanes tasks - and has an impressive 3-0 record as Project Manager. She’s intelligent, assertive, confident, and has a great work ethic. Plus, she has real estate experience, and so would fit into Trump’s organization almost seamlessly.
Kendra has her weaknesses, too. She’s not the strongest manager - she has a tendency to take on too much “ownership” of a project, and not trust her teammates enough to pull their weight. (The flip side of that, of course, is that she takes it upon herself to make sure everything gets done.) Her communication skills leave a little something to be desired, as well - she and Craig were at each other’s throats for five weeks in a row, and she was never able to talk to him frankly and put their animosity aside. She’s young and somewhat immature, and for that reason, she has a sort of need to continuously prove her competence to other (older) teammates who haven’t taken her seriously. Perhaps that was the reason that two of the executives this week found her to be “too assertive.”
The morning after the interviews, Kendra and Tana received their assignments for the final task. Kendra’s task was to oversee the Best Buy video game tournament, and Tana was put in charge of an athletic exhibit to promote New York’s 2012 Olympic bid. Then they were each reunited with ex-contestants who would make up their new teams: Kendra got Danny, Michael, and Erin; Tana got Brian, Kristen, and Chris. Yikes.
Kendra and her team of “scatterbrains” got to work immediately, meeting with sponsors and setting up the venue for the tournament. Kendra, honey - one piece of advice: Do not leave Danny alone with your sponsors. Or anyone else. In fact, put him somewhere where he’ll have no interaction with anyone, anytime, anywhere. He’s a complete disaster, and has no idea how to act professionally. I mean, he actually sang a jingle to the sponsors he was meeting with.
Tana wasn’t any better off, though. Her team, “The Three Stooges” (as she so eloquently put it), started bickering right away. The animosity between Kristen and Brian hasn’t lessened since they were fired eons ago - I imagine they’ve been at each other’s throats for weeks in the losers’ hotel. It’s obvious that Tana has a real problem with her team. I mean, when Chris is the picture of sanity and coolness compared to the other two - that’s really not good.
So far, it looks like Kendra has a leg up on Tana. Danny, Michael, and Erin all seem to be genuinely pulling for her to win (so far), so it shouldn’t be difficult for her to get them to do what she needs. She will need to keep a closer eye on Danny, and she might need to try some micromanaging, but I think she’ll be okay. Even if her team screws up royally, Kendra is the type of person who won’t rest until it’s fixed. She did that during the Pontiac task, and she’ll do it again. This is definitely a situation where her tendency to take complete ownership of the task will help her out a lot.
Tana, on the other hand, really needs to reign in her team. I actually doubt that Chris will cause her much of a headache - he was a good team member, and the anger management issues only became a problem if he was provoked (and I think Tana is smart enough not to stoke that fire). But Kristen and Brian: a) can’t get along; b) are loud, hostile people; c) have absolutely no people skills; and d) are more or less incompetent. Tana will definitely need to keep a closer eye on them, and she might want to rethink her questionable judgment about letting them make decisions without her.
Both of these women are very smart and extremely talented. But only one can be the next Apprentice.
Angela Dalecki is a part-time freelance writer based in Wilmington, DE. Her work can also be seen a tNights & Weekends and Suite 101. She pays her bills by working at TV Guide. You can email Angela at email@example.com.
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