Celebrity Apprentice Recap – And Then There Were Two
Posted by ImaJustSaying on May 16, 2011
Published: Monday, May 16, 2011, 1:10 PM
By Mark Maurer/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
(After Meat Loaf returns from the boardroom)
John Rich: I thought they were having a Meat Loaf sandwich in there.
Meat Loaf: They were trying.
LAST WEEK’S POLL
Voters, on the whole, were sure of themselves when predicting the winner, to be revealed on next Sunday’s finale. Roughly two-thirds of the vote went to John, trailed by Marlee Matlin (17.5%), Lil Jon (11.45%) and Meat Loaf (4.55%). Marlee, who had proven herself as a savvy competitor, was lazy in letting Meat Loaf dominate last week’s OnStar task, and I think it disappointed folks. Not only does John bring in piles of money for his charity, he crafts a heck of a jingle.
The “Apprentice” quartet is lounging when Trump barges into the suite to tell them the show’s past winners – Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers and Bret Michaels – will interview them for the title. They recommend two people be fired, and the other two advance to the final task, its airing divided into this week’s show and next.
With Backbone and ASAP dissolved, each of the contestants sit down with the trio and are hit with stock questions from Bret, jokes from Joan and obnoxious “killer questions” from Piers.
Bret, for one, respects how John has played the game. He says: “I think he is absolutely at the top of the fiercest competitors here. He knows where he wants to go, (and) he comes from very humble beginnings. He is a fighter.”
John touts his writing as having helped Backbone consistently win tasks, and ease with serving as project manager simultaneously. But Piers is not impressed by the fact that John can write songs and tells Trump he feels John merely benefited from being on a good team.
The main issue with Lil Jon is his ability to be calm under pressure and perhaps too laid-back is viewed as a weakness in the business world. Lil Jon’s second reason for appearing on “Apprentice,” aside from the charity work, has been “to show people that all rappers are not blunt-smoking, crack-selling, ignorant people.” Joan jokes, “Could you give us names?”
He believes John or Marlee will make it to the final round, which shocks Piers, who now has the rapper pegged, as a “loser.”
The interviewees seek to clear up one of the season’s great ambiguities — whether Meat Loaf is passionate or mentally imbalanced. Piers asks if he thinks it’s wise to be overly emotional in a business competition.
Meat Loaf explains he cries often because he cares deeply about his designated charity Painted Turtle. As for alleged anger management problems, he did not intend to strike Gary Busey, “just wanted him to know to back off.” His blood pressure is fine, he assures Joan.
Joan is blown away by Marlee’s intelligence, particularly how someone with no stand-up experience would excel at a comedy show. Marlee tells them “Celebrity Apprentice” has been the hardest challenge she’s ever done, and has allowed her to go beyond the label of “deaf actress.”
HOW THEY FARED
In the boardroom, the remaining celebrities – even John himself – want John with them in the final two. Referring to a past season, Trump recalls he fired Lennox Lewis because he did not pick himself to be in the final two. Lil Jon made that mistake in his interview, and it is back to haunt him. Trump fires him for primarily that reason.
The judges also did not recommend that Meat Loaf advance. Trump feels he is just too emotional and gives him the axe, as well.
Not to brag or anything, but my Final Two predictions from the third week proved correct. Marlee and John move on to the last task – and interpreter Jack Jason, for one, is thrilled.
John and Marlee have to help launch 7Up Retro by: designing a new can and in-store display; writing, creating and producing a commercial; and launching the product at a star-studded event. Marlee takes the ‘70s theme and John takes the ‘80s. The Harlem Globetrotters and Def Leppard will appear at the respective gala events. Chief marketing officer James Trebilcock hands out $50,000 in start-up money for the task.
Trump brings back six fired players to help them. John recruits Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and Star, while Marlee picks Meat Loaf, Richard Hatch and gets La Toya Jackson who is last, and might win an award for most appearances on “Apprentice” after she was first fired.
TEAM JOHN – ‘80s
John has surely risen in status over the course of this game, thus evoking the more lascivious side of his new teammate Ms. Star Jones. Seeming drunk off champagne, she refers to him as “Big Daddy Rich.”
For the theme of “Still keepin’ it real,” Lil Jon heads up directing the commercial and Star takes on logistics. Meanwhile, Mark brainstorms some strong ideas, which hint that the player may have been fired from the show before his time. The can gets designed with zebra print and the commercial focuses on an audition for ‘80s icons. Actors play Axl Rose and Madonna, while Dee Snider plays himself as a musician who needs a soft drink to give him rock star mojo.
Snider gets the green light to shave a Fu Manchu mustache he grew out in order to appear in “Rock of Ages” on Broadway. Leading up the gala event, John argues with Def Leppard’s manager over the use of a kick drum on stage. The multi-level difficulty of the task has the cowboy in charge mildly overwhelmed.
TEAM MARLEE – ‘70s
No sooner than Meat Loaf’s gone, he is back in the war room upstaging Marlee and inadvertently grandstanding with his wacky ideas. He wants to wear a fairy suit with wings in their commercial, among several ideas Richard shakes his head at. His suggestion to design the 7Up box as a boombox is pretty clever – even team adviser Ivanka Trump is a fan – but Richard and the paid graphic designer find it too complex, and the idea is chucked.
The can comes to resemble a disco ball with the theme of “Feel the love!”
Meat Loaf calls up Geoffrey Holder, the original voice in the 7Up commercials, and he agrees to participate in their 30-second ad spot. At the soundstage, the team gets into costume. La Toya is a Wonder Woman-esque superhero, Marlee plays a “dancing queen,” Richard is a dude in a blonde afro wig and purple sequin shirt, and Meat Loaf is ‘70s Meat Loaf.
For the commercial, Meat Loaf cobbles together a series of song allusions that has everyone laughing with him: “For crying out loud, if I’m by a dashboard light, there’s no stop right there. It’s a hot summer night. ‘Cuz I’m like a bat out of hell.”
At the last minute, however, Holder backs out because he cannot sign the “Apprentice” release due to a contractual conflict. Meat Loaf hits “shout” on his internal “shout-or-cry” switch, threatening to throw his cell phone across the room. Now, the group must scramble for big-name talent.
Sell-out moment of the night: Holder agrees to appear on “Apprentice” in a matter of seconds, only to cancel when he calls up his lawyer.
It’s the live finale next Sunday at 9 p.m. Cut to pre-taped footage of the second part of the 7Up Retro task, followed by Trump picking a fourth-celebrity-season winner in the boardroom.