'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: The Final Two

Celebrityapprentice_lLast week, dear readers, you’ll recall I wrote this passage in my TV Watch:

I will say it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Carol and Trace will make up the final two. Unless Trump wants to turn the finals into a battle between good vs. not-so-good — I’ll reserve the ‘evil’ stamp for our ousted Omarosa — in which case Piers might make the cut alongside Trace.

Well, I’m glad that I didn’t put money on my first prediction — Carol eventually was called out of the competition — but I do want to give myself a pat on the back for divining Trump’s ultimate quest for drama. Though Carol might have been a better candidate for the top two, since the supermodel was both poised and intelligent in her final interviews, Trump was far more interested in good TV, and thus greenlit a "good vs. evil" showdown between Piers and Trace. And if I’m to judge by the episode’s final half hour, when the two contestants got down to work on their deal-breaking charity event, the face-off will be — as Trump noted — one hell of a fight.

But let’s start with the show’s beginning boardroom scene. In a nice change of pace from the previous formulaic episodes of Apprentice,the Donald decided to fire two contestants in the course of just acouple hours at the top of the episode. In order for Trump to determinewho our final two celebrities would be, the contestants were questionedby two "great business minds": CNBC’s Erin Burnett and Mad Money‘s Jim Cramer (pictured, left, with Donald and Ivanka Trump. It should be noted that this appearance was filmed prior to Cramer’s controversial, arguably imprudent adviceto viewers in light of the Bear Stearns collapse). During theseinterviews, it became apparent to me just how much Sleepy Boy has been ridingPiers’ coattails over the past 12 weeks. If you need some evidence,look no further than Lennox’s response to Cramer’s question about howhe’ll use Celebrity Apprentice to benefit his charity, TheMuhammad Ali Center: "Uh what does this? — um, um… people have tofeel that you know, they want to, you know, you want — they want togive you money for your charity." He later told Trump in the boardroomthat he is "used to those questions," but Burnett and Cramer wiselyadvised Trump to fire the heavyweight boxer. (You know that Trump issleeping with his lights on tonight.)

Cramer, however, was gunning for Carol — a great business mind and a"knockout" in his opinion (Somewhere, Sleepy Boy just punched a Kodakprinter, angry that Cramer stole his Piers-anointed, now-trademarkphrase). But once Trump caught wind that Trace harbored a slightresentment towards Piers, he nearly jumped out of his seat withexcitement and fired Carol, anticipating the "good vs. evil" showdownto come (It’s gonna be HUGE). Should Carol have been fired? Probablynot (though her QVC mix-up did make her a good candidate for a futurefiring). Still, let’s face it: would it be any fun to watch tworelatively normal, nice contestants duke it out for the win? No. I’ddare you to find a good recipe for drama that doesn’t mix in a bit of"evil" (and don’t forget that Stevie B cherry on top… yummy!). Sothat’s why we have Piers. And the Backstreet Boys.

Yes, our final two celebs are going head-to-head organizing acharity function. And yes, the entertainment for the evening is theBackstreet Boys (whom I will refer to here on out as the Backstreet OldGuys, as Trace hilariously labeled them). Lennox, Marilu, Carol, andStevie B returned to help Trace and Piers, and I have to say I wassurprised with our finalists’ first choice of teammates. Piers pickedStevie B? Trace picked Sleepy Boy? Either way, Piers chose to be incharge of catering and the auction with his new team — Stevie B andCarol — while Trace naturally decided to head the event’s décor andentertainment with help from Lennox and Marilu.

Piers, ever the idea man, went straight to who was probably hisbiggest contact, Fergie. (The original one, all you young’uns). Andthough I do find a "tea with the Duchess" charity package to be a greatconcept, I’d wager that tea with the Backstreet Old Guys would probablypull more money in good ol’ Americerrr. (After all, they’ll have teaalready stocked in their dressing rooms, so it’s a cost-effectiveoption!).

Trace, on the other hand, was dealing with some princesses of hisown while acting as the liaison for the night’s entertainment. Who knewthat a late ’90s boy band that’s no longer relevant in today’s musicscene would be so demanding? Sure, we’ve heard of unreasonablebackstage demands from divas like Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey, butthe Backstreet Old Guys? I know their requests weren’t all thatoutrageous, but demanding wheatgrass for a small charity event was abit excessive, don’tcha think? (You can drink as much wheatgrass as youwant, Nick Carter, but that won’t erase the painful memory that wasyour solo career. For either of us.) And considering all the liquidsthey requested — Gatorade, vitamin water, spring water, "local beers,"red wine, tea, and Red Bull — I would hope that Trace looks intoinstalling a nearby bathroom for the band in order to avoid an on-stageembarrassment akin to that of the other, non-British Fergie.

Now, if Trace weren’t a country superstar, I would have thought thathis waiting to buy the backstage materials until he met with the band’smanager was a poor judgment call. But we’re talking about Trace Adkins,a country star that tours regularly, and probably more often than theBackstreet Old Guys, to be frank. It’s only natural to assume that hisown loose demands are similar to those of other musical acts, right?Wrong. The Backstreet Old Guys seemed shocked — SHOCKED — that theywould need to share just one small room, and that Trace would evenimply that some of their requests were frivolous. After that obnoxiousshowcase, I’m actually ashamed that I played "Shape of My Heart" oniTunes the other day for nostalgia’s sake (on second thought, I’m moreashamed that I even had that track in the first place). Of course, itmay not be fair to judge the band so harshly. I’ve always suspectedthat Trump plants barriers in these final Apprentice challengesin order to create drama, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if he told theBackstreet Old Guys to up the ante when it came to their requests. Butprobably not, because those guys are most definitely grade-A d-bags.

Tell me PopWatchers, who do you want to win it all? Do you likeTrump’s "good vs. evil" plug? Are you rooting for the U.K. orAmericerrrr? Are you surprised that Piers chose Stevie B as a teammate?And finally, though Piers is certainly putting forth a good effort andhas the appropriate performance history to bag the win, how can you notwant Trace to claim the victory after this priceless disdain-filledquote: "Talking to the Backstreet Boys is time out of my life that I’llnever get back. Talking about wheatgrass juice…" ‘Nuff said.

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  • Ceballos

    I totally agree Kate, that Trace is the nicest, most grounded guy maybe in the history of trashy reality TV, and he had some great quotes last night. I actually prefer his coining the term Backstreet Gray Hairs.
    Seriously, what is up with those fools? Making outrageous demands for a charity function. Someone should also slip them a memo that it’s not 1998 anymore.
    Either way, I think in the end it’s going to be Piers. You may like Trace more (ok, EVERYONE likes Trace more), but you can’t deny Piers’ effectiveness in this competition with raising money for his charity. I actually liked his little speech about how he won’t stab anyone in the back and I don’t even care that he’ll be a little ruthless to win money for his charity.
    I’m also not THAT shocked that both captains picked guys with their first selection. Sure, Marilu and Carol (and a used Post It) are more effective than Lennox, but the guys had FANTASTIC success against the women early on, so why not stick with that?

  • Char

    Trace cracked me up last night. Though I think Piers is getting the win, Trace earned a place in my heart. His comments about BSB last night were comedy gold.

  • joanne

    I’m rooting for Trace — he’s been great the whole time and just lucked out not getting money for his charity. I do feel bad for Trace with the Backstreet Boys — are they for real — they’re demands are out in left field and their Manager seems to be a little out of it, not even a clue who he was talking to!
    Anyway — I’m still rooting for Trace — Piers may be more aggressive when it come to raising money, but it’s Trace’s turn!!!!

  • Elizabeth

    Hey Kate – in the midst of your haterade for the Backstreet Boys, did you ever stop to think that they might be “laying it on a little thick” for TV ratings sake? Isn’t that how these “Reality Shows” tend to go? Just an observation…

  • JP

    Trace – “Am I getting punked?” classic

  • Mike

    It was obviously scripted. As was the Piers’ picking of the useless Baldwin. The whole purpose of this season was for Trump to build some inroads into rural America. Trace and his daughter’s allergies are his ticket.

  • newshound23

    The Backstreet Boys look like the biggest douchebags this side of the feminine product aisle after last night’s episode. Do not want. EVER.

  • bri

    I’d bet money the bsb were asked to play it up for the cameras. Their rider wasn’t unreasonable at all.
    Bit disappointed you fell for it so easily.


    A piece of advice for the apprentice Kate Ward – just stop writing! You are useless. Your article shows me that you don’t know what means television, art and music. You can’t even think by yourself! Have a nice day!

  • Hoosier

    Trump gave Carol a chance to defend his interest in pitting Piers vs. Trace and she simply smiled said nothing to refute his interest. No wonder she got fired. Trace was very creative throughout th show, he deserves to face off against Piers. Interesting that Piers told Trump that Carol was the most formidable foe yet he picked Baldwin first??? Nothing against Trace but in the time it took him to meet with the BSB, he could have already rounded up all their requests. I have enjoyed this Apprentice season but I grew a little tired of how much the requests leaned on the “celebrities” black book.

  • Hoosier

    If I haven’t already mentioned it, Trump’s daughter is getting more attractive with every show. I know they are spectacular but are the “twins” real? Donald Jr. seems nice enough but his head seems too small in proportion to his body.

  • Hoosier

    Me again. Did anyone find that hilarious when Trace was describing his charity last episode in the board room and Stevie B rudely interutpted him and mentioned that he also had food allergies or something. That permanent grin on his face is straight off the villian in a Batman movie!

  • Danielle

    The fact that Trace took Lennox from Piers was true strategy. The look on Lennox’s face was so deer in headlights when Trace picked him. And BSB-or BSOG–sad, sad, sad. Are they actually still called ‘entertainment’?And it did seem to me that Stevie B wasnt necessarily trying all that hard–how could you when you’re working for Piers?

  • Alice234

    Loved this episode! I hope Trace wins. He never fell in the game of a reality show. His been the same from day one and that’s how these shows should be. Without Trace, this season would have been boring.

  • smurphy148

    As good as Piers is, Donald will never pick him as the winner. Piers will raise the most money but Donald made it very clear that the amount of money raised is not the deciding factor. There are two other factors, which are very subjective and not quantifiable, that will come into play. Trace (whom we all have come to love) will win.

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