Last 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.