NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” had one of its strangest episodes yet as the top three were whittled down to the finalists for Season 14. After a clip show, Trump kicked things off by firing one more person and sending the remaining two to Universal studios.
The penultimate episode of the season began with a slightly different twist. After sending home Ian Ziering, Brandi Glanville and Johnny Damon in one fell swoop at the end of last week’s episode, the two-hour block had only one person to fire. To make up for the time deficit, Donald Trump hosted a look back at some of the biggest moments from the past seven seasons of the show’s “Celebrity” incarnation. Trump took us through the favorite feuds, favorite fails, best boardroom backstabs/betrayals and more. It was fun, but the suspense for the final team task was too palpable.
The second hour opened right where we left off last week. The three remaining contestants were waiting to see who returned from their rival team, not yet knowing that they’d all been sent home. The trio was called back into the boardroom and Trump revealed that he would be choosing the finalists immediately. That’s right, in one night he sent four people home in one of the most shocking boardrooms to date (which I can say with confidence having sat through the clip show).
It was a tense boardroom but a quick one. The three winners had a lot of respect for each other but none more so than Vivica A. Fox. When asked directly by Trump if she thought she was better than Leeza Gibbons, the woman who defended herself so vigorously against Kenya Moore and Kate Gosselin practically bowed out of the competition by admitting that Gibbons was better.
With her benevolence being her biggest weakness, Fox was fired and the final two were locked. The last task sent the dynamic duo to Universal Studios to create a 90-second commercial and a presentation highlighting the park’s appeal as a vacation resort. However, as soon as they arrived in Florida, their new/old teams greeted them.
Returning to help Gibbons was Johnny Damon, Brandi Glanville and, Rivera’s biggest rival of the competition, Kevin Jonas. After losing very early on in the Boardroom by trying to stack the deck against Rivera, Jonas went home cursing the former newsman’s name. He’s an impressive competitor and proved to be a really strong and level-headed asset to Team Gibbons. This proved necessary as Glanville and Damon were of precious little help.
Meanwhile, Rivera’s team was made up of Vivica A. Fox and Ian Ziering, who were presumably hiding in the back of Trump’s private jet to save on travel costs, as well as Lorenzo Lamas. It’s worth mentioning that Lamas and Ziering went head-to-head and lost against Rivera during this season, making things a little awkward. Luckily, everyone had charity on their minds and no one appeared to be actively sabotaging their project manager.
“It was never anything personal.” Zeiring told Rivera. “It was all because I thought you were the toughest competitor.”
Surprisingly, despite all the toes he’s stepped on this season, it looked like Geraldo Rivera’s team was working much better than expected as they balanced the creative side of the task as well as the fundraising side of the task. Meanwhile, Glanville and Damon were proving to be useless to Gibbons as they opted for a roller-coaster ride rather than buying props for their team’s commercial.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger with Gibbons’ team in turmoil and Rivera’s team falling apart. The “news icon” proved to be his own worst enemy as he ruffled his team’s feathers by taking creative control on the day of shooting, basically negating Fox and Lamas’ work the day before. The episode’s last shot saw Rivera yelling at Lamas for not having the child actors they needed in place with just minutes left on the shoot.
Unfortunately, with the teams seemingly neck-and-neck, fans will have to wait until next week’s live finale to see who comes out on top as the Season 14 “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Odds and Ends
- The teams were really stacked against Rivera going into this last task. Having said that, most would agree he doesn't deserve an easy final project.
- How in the world did Kevin Jonas get fired? The guy is making spreadsheets, coming up with good ideas and putting in the necessary time. Even Gibbons said he was her biggest asset. It seems Trump sometimes makes mistakes when firing people.
- Ian Ziering said he wasn't going to try and sabotage his project manager, but he did seem to be having trouble raising money for the very first time in the competition.
- I know I mentioned this already, but every one of the returning contestants had just been fired the night before (plus Kevin Jonas). It really did feel like they were trying to shock us and save money on flights from Los Angeles.
- Lorenzo Lamas' impression of an angry Vivica A. Fox may have been one of the weirdest and best moments of the season so far.
- Lamas was the breakout star of the show when he shut Rivera up by asking him if he'd personally followed through on getting the child actors in place. Never has an awkward silence been more deafening.
- What will they do to fill two hours next week? More clips?