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August 31, 2015

'The Celebrity Apprentice' Season 4, Episode 12 (Season Finale) Recap

by Katy Kroll, posted May 23rd 2011 4:30AM
['The Celebrity Apprentice' - '7Up Finale Part 2: Sweet Victory']

It's been a roller-coaster ride of a season, full of twists, turns and tons of freak-outs. But it all came to an end last night, with Donald Trump crowning this year's 'Celebrity Apprentice' on the season finale.

The competition started with 16 stars, and Trump knocked them off one by one until it there were just two: John Rich and Marlee Matlin. It was a showdown that pitted the country star against the movie star, ending a record-breaking season that raised more than $3 million for charity.

But there can only be one ... Celebrity Apprentice.

And it all came down to the final task, in which the top two had to launch a retro campaign for 7Up. In a live (yet rather brief and boring) boardroom, the Donald deservedly named John the winner.

At the end of last week's episode, we were left hanging when both teams -- beefed up with previously fired returnees -- were seemingly on the verge of self-destruction.

John had an argument with Def Leppard's manager, leaving it up in the air whether the band would be involved in his '80s-themed event. On Marlee's team, Meat Loaf had a mini-meltdown when '70s 7Up spokesperson Geoffrey Holder refused to sign a release form. Not surprisingly, everything worked out ... for the most part.

Holder showed up for Marlee's shoot, revisiting the soda's old-school ad campaign and leading her team to believe they had a real coup on their hands. (Sorry, but it wasn't as big of a "get" as they made it out to be.) Meanwhile, John smoothed things out with Def Leppard, and finished up his ad with Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider.

In a bold move, he got some last-minute donors to give a mind-boggling combination of $275,000 to his charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It was an unexpected game-changer, since he wasn't actually tackling a fundraising-based task. The money helped tie him with Marlee for the largest amount raised by an individual in this (or any) season: $1 million. He felt it was a move Trump would really respect, because it was so unexpected.

When the lights went up on the respective events, however, John really dropped the ball at his '80s-themed launch party by ignoring Trump and the 7Up execs when they arrived and introducing Def Leppard 20 minutes before the band was even in the building.

As the audience anxiously waited -- and the Donald shook his head in disbelief -- John panicked behind the scenes before deciding to take to the stage as an impromptu opening act. Pandering to Trump, he sang an off-the-cuff ditty about why he shouldn't be fired, and gracefully filled the time until the band arrived to rock the house.

At Marlee's '70s-themed party, Meat Loaf, La Toya Jackson and the other honorary teammates met Trump and the execs on the "green carpet." After a seamless introduction by Marlee, the audience was treated to a feel-good Harlem Globetrotters basketball game that Meat Loaf equated to being like a "Beatles reunion." (Seriously, dude?)

In the boardroom, both teams seemed confident they had won. But when they peeked at each other's campaigns, La Toya thought John's zebra-striped cola can "popped" more than Marlee's disco-themed packaging -- and Trump admitted that the execs agreed. He then went on to point out that John's team failed to greet him at the door and that the 20-minute concert gaffe was an awkward misstep.

When it was revealed that John had gone above and beyond the call of duty to bring in additional funds, Marlee's mouth fell open in shock. She was clearly ticked off that he'd pulled such an unfair antic when it wasn't a task requirement. Trump reassured her that he wasn't going to give John "extra credit" for the stunt, but it became a sticking point for John that he had pulled out all the stops till the bitter end.

When it was time for the final boardroom to unfold in front of a live audience, Trump welcomed back most of the season's past players. Surprisingly, loudmouth quitter NeNe Leakes showed up while Dionne Warwick and Jose Canseco were inexplicably absent.

Richard Hatch was also a no-show, but that's because he was recently sent back to jail for tax evasion. When Trump asked first-week castoff David Cassidy -- 'memba him? -- what he thought about his former nemesis' situation, the aging teen idol really stuck it to Richard by saying justice had been served. (Ouch!)

Also still feuding were NeNe and Star Jones, whose tempers flared once again when Star accused NeNe of "attacking" the only other black women on the show. The two were quickly back at each other's throats, raising their voices and taking verbal swipes until Trump broke it up.

Not to be out-crazied, Gary Busey stole the spotlight by continually interrupting everyone to tell a long, rambling tale. When he finally commanded the airtime he craved, he rehashed the oddball kite story he had weaved during the Omaha Steaks challenge. And, guess what? The company is now selling meat packages with mini kites included! Oh, how I wish Trump had chosen to keep goofy Gary over moody Meat Loaf for all those extra weeks ...

But other than those brief showdowns, the live boardroom was kind of a snoozefest. There was no real in-depth debate about who should win and why. John and Marlee both played nice, even though Marlee was clearly mad about John's freestyle fundraising. Aside from the fact that they both proved to be triumphant when it came to tapping donors, Trump really didn't dissect the final two's efforts that much.

In fact, in a frustrating oversight, the Donald never actually revealed who won the 7Up task. Since he crowned John the winner, should we assume John won the task because he won the whole shebang? Or should we assume Marlee triumphed in the task, and the reason there was little fanfare was because Trump didn't want to look contradictory by not picking her as the overall winner? Guess we'll never know ...

What we do know, though, is that the Donald thought John was more worthy of the win -- probably based on his consistently strong performance across the entire season. Of course, that's just me making my own assumption, since Trump really didn't explain his choice that well.

However he came to the decision, Trump ultimately made the right call. John was indeed one of the strongest players each and every episode, quickly becoming the one to beat. When the season began, I wasn't technically a fan of his, and I honestly didn't expect much from him. But he soon won me over with his down-to-earth attitude, keen business-savvy and lighthearted demeanor. Plus, his unlikely kinship with rapper Lil Jon was probably the highlight of the season. (Someone give those two their own reality show!)

It was a risky move, but John really leveled the playing field by bringing in those last-minute big bucks that helped him match Marlee's million. Even though Trump claimed it didn't sway his decision, whipping out those kind of cojones is exactly what the Donald loves. It was a shrewd step that ultimately nabbed him the win, and piled on an additional $250,000 to his overall haul.

But unlike past season's, Trump didn't say, "You're hired." Instead, he declared John "the winner" because he clearly didn't want to "fire" Marlee.

It was a "twist" that landed with a thud, as Trump hyped the move as "something different" but his final word-play was probably too subtle for viewers to absorb. Most people, including me, were left scratching their heads about what the big deal was; not realizing the "twist" was really just semantics. (*Crickets*)

While this season was touted as the "closest" and most evenly matched race in 'Celebrity Apprentice' history, it certainly wasn't the most exciting ending ever. But how could you ever top the season 2 smackdown between winner Joan Rivers and poker player Annie Duke, or the headline-stealing season 3 drama of Bret Michaels' post-aneurysm win?

Still, kudos to John Rich on a job well done!

Watch the full episode here:

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June 02 2011 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think this was the best Celebrity Apprentice finale ever....It was actually entertaining and fun to watch... When the season first started, I wasn't really sure I even wanted to watch it! FYI - Thrilled that the best ever actually WON! Congrats to John Rich and St. Jude's. Many many children will benefit.

May 25 2011 at 4:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

John Who? as Celebrity Apprentice. Both choices in the end were ridiculous and BORING! I didn't even watch after Star and Nene were gone. Why bother?

May 25 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the Sign Language is really cool.....I enjoyed watching the quire singing in Sign Language ..never seen that before.

May 25 2011 at 7:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why didnt the "players of color" (Star, Nene, Lil' John) rip into Trump. They were on Live TV but didnt have the guts.

May 25 2011 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great for charity but didnt watch the finale. TRUMP is a racist hater and I hate HATERS!

May 25 2011 at 5:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what did he mean"im going to do something alittle differnt tonight" did he mean he was not going to pick marlee even though she raises so much money in one night??

May 25 2011 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blazia Lydia

Never again will I watch Donald Hump's shows. It has become difficult enough to look upon his pouting, puffy countenance after his shameful ignorance with President Obama, as well as his attempt to buy out the folks building a Mosque near Ground Zero.... But his choice as the winner of Celebrity Apprentice was unforgivable. The winner, John Rich, completely lacks creativity and professionalism, and he screwed up his final task by committing two cardinal sins: not greeting Donald Hump and the sponsors of the evening upon their arrival, and making the audience wait because he screwed up the time the band he hired was to play. Hump didn't even give a reason for his outrageous choice. Perhaps it was because the other competitor was a female, and who always had to be a 2-person act (she must take her interpreter with her wherever she goes). And it's obvious Mr. Hump feels Marlee Matlin's handicap presented a weakness in the boardroom.

Whatever his reasons, he can take his arrogance, his ignorance, and his prejudice and shove it up his formidable posterior.

May 25 2011 at 2:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If it was a tough decision between the 2, the one who had to compete with a deficit should have been the winner. Can you imagine John Rich or even the Donald getting to were they are without being able to hear.

May 24 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i love this show im so glad mr trump wiil b their now and not in white house.... i started to send a donation to st judes each month now ,, great job mr trump and mr rich........and also to u marlee the best to all 3 of u

May 24 2011 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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