The 'Celebrity Apprentice' Premiere Was a Ball of Crazy ... and Things Are Just Going to Get Crazier
by Joel Keller, posted Mar 7th 2011 2:30PM
The cast is such a big ball of crazy that NBC's promos -- and Trump himself in interviews -- have been promoting that fact, emphasizing the screaming matches with Patsy Cline's classic song 'Crazy' as the soundtrack.
But from the first minute of the premiere, the nuttiness factor was amped up a few notches, and not just because Gary Busey talked in a language only Charlie Sheen could understand. By the end of the first task, the entire men's team -- Backbone -- already hated Richard Hatch, who was the project manager. And on the women's side, Lisa Rinna was already at odds with Star Jones, who was the project manager for the team, who called themselves ASAP.
As screwy as things got in the first week, things are only going to get worse, and there are a few glaring clues that this is going to be a heck of a ride:
We Already Know That NeNe Leakes and Jones Don't Get Along
Anyone who watches 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' knows how loud and outspoken Leakes can be. And Jones, who was so controversial on 'The View' that she even got to the usually-stoic Barbara Walters, has a sense of entitlement that's about as big as her former waistline.
So to hear that the two of them were at odds during the shooting of 'Celeb Apprentice' isn't a shock. What's surprising is that Leakes has already gone on record calling Jones a "backstabber" and "a witch with a 'b' in front" on 'The Talk' last week. NBC has also shown a scene or two of Leakes and Jones facing off.
Trump generally likes to keep details about the show close to the vest, so the fact that Leakes is already out there talking about how much she dislikes Jones makes me think that either a) he's setting this up as the centerpiece dispute of the entire series or b) this rivalry is mild compared to what's coming up.
Lil Jon, Rinna and Jose Canseco Actually Have a Shot at Winning
Why? Because, compared to many of their teammates, they display at least a modicum of either smarts or business savvy. And, believe it or not, they seems somewhat less nutty than the rest of their teammates.
Sure, on both teams there are "normal" team members: Backbone has John Rich, who has already shown the potential to bring in a lot of money. ASAP has Niki Taylor and Marlee Matlin, two people who have the potential to get a lot done without a lot of drama.
But in other seasons, folks like Lil Jon, Canseco and Rinna would be considered the "crazy" ones on their teams. Rinna has shown she can be off the wall on 'Dancing with the Stars' as well as the Nick at Nite reality show she had with her husband Harry Hamlin. But compare her to, say La Toya Jackson (who had problems remembering what they agreed ASAP stood for), and Rinna looks relatively sane.
Jones Is Just Getting Warmed Up
Trump has joked in interviews that some people in this year's cast make notorious 'Apprentice' contestant Omarosa look "like a very nice, very meek person," without naming who those people are. Sure, Leakes has that potential. And I'm not casting aspersions on her caginess and ability to navigate this celebrity shark tank. But the person I'm keeping my eye on is Star Jones.
Jones is Omarosa, only more intelligent and cunning. She also knows a ton more people in high places than Omarosa ever did. In her time on 'The View,' Jones showed that she could be vicious, sometimes without the person she's being vicious to even knowing that she's doing it. In a lot of ways, she could progress through the contest like Piers Morgan did three years ago, studying her teammates, being blunt and critical, and waiting to pounce.
Richard Hatch Thinks He's Going to Win ... But He Won't
Let's be honest; Trump wants to keep the original 'Survivor' champion and convicted tax cheat in the game as long as possible. It's why he dismissed David Cassidy last night, despite the fact that Hatch badly lost the challenge, was accused of pushing Cassidy on multiple occasions, and had almost the entire team turn on him.
But Hatch knows that this isn't 'Survivor.' He even mentioned the one big difference between the shows: he was in complete control on that island, creating alliances and making sure he stayed in the game. This time around, it's all up to Trump. And he may be able to maneuver himself into a place where he'll outlast some of his teammates, but if will he a) be able to take orders from others and b) survive another task where he's the PM and the team gets crushed?
Besides, he may get the crap beat out of him by Canseco if he's not careful. The guy's pretty damned strong, even without the steroids.
NBC has been promoting the hell out of a shouting match between Meat Loaf and Busey. So it was surprising to me when Meat mentioned in the premiere that he's friends with the actor. This tells me that Busey's a wild card; he may hang in longer than you'd expect, if only because his unique brand of crazy helps whatever team he's working for. Also, Trump may just keep him around because he's so damned entertaining.
Tell us: Who is the craziest contestant on 'The Celebrity Apprentice' this year? Who do you think will win?
|NeNe Leakes||17 (8.3%)|
|Lisa Rinna||12 (5.8%)|
|Star Jones||13 (6.3%)|
|Lisa Rinna||8 (3.9%)|
|La Toya Jackson||11 (5.3%)|
|Richard Hatch||14 (6.8%)|
|Gary Busey||74 (35.9%)|
|Meat Loaf||15 (7.3%)|
|Jose Canseco||29 (14.1%)|
|Ohter - I'll tell you in the comments||13 (6.3%)|
'Celebrity Apprentice' airs Sundays at 9PM ET on NBC.
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