With six contestants now left vying to win the title of Celebrity Apprentice – a prize as meaningful as a presidential endorsement from the show’s founder, Donald Trump – we can finally start to see the light at the end of the show’s ass-kissing tunnel.
Last week Penn Jillette got the boot. So now we’re left with what Arsenio Hall calls the “Dirty Half-Dozen.”
Aubrey O’Day, the project manager for last week’s winning team, delivers a check to her charity, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). The singer claims she was bullied as a child. This is believable. But for some reason it’s far more thrilling to imagine her as a hair-twirling, boyfriend-stealing cheerleader.
On to this week’s task! The six contestants, divided into two teams of three, must come up with a 90-second jingle promoting Good Sam’s roadside assistance service. They’ll also have to perform the tune in front of a live audience, which will include the company’s CEO. Hall and Dayana Mendoza step up as project managers for their respective teams.
Even before the task begins, Hall is skeptical of working with O’Day. “She’ll just have to spend the day constantly stealing my thunder,” he says. Per usual, O’ Day tries to take control: the kinda-pop star thinks a cheerleader theme (see where we were going earlier?) would work best. Hall disagrees. “Arsenio is the biggest girl on the team,” O’Day says, disgusted at his lack of support. He doesn’t think she’s so splendid, either. “When you don’t kiss her ass (Aubrey) shuts down,” he says. After meeting with the Good Sam executive, however, Hall becomes convinced that O’Day’s cheerleader idea will work after all.
The other team is having major issues of its own. “Dayana doesn’t know the difference between jingle and ‘jingle all the way’,” Lisa Lampanelli says. From the start, Clay Aiken and Lampanelli drive the team’s creative vision. Mendoza, meanwhile, continues to prove to be a weak player. And her teammates are done putting up with her idiocy. How bad is Mendoza on this task? Lampanelli and Aiken suggest a Sixties, Frankie Valli-style jingle. Mendoza listens to a group of session musicians play a melody in that fashion and suggests adding “more red and yellow.” It’s bad, people.
O’Day’s team decides to go with a Gwen Stefani-meets-Black Eyed Peas-style number (this sounds like aural hell). Hall is “trying to kiss (Aubrey’s) ass in every way” while their other teammate, Teresa Giudice, is doing, well, very little. When Donald Trump Jr. comes to check in on the team, O’Day takes him aside and tears down Hall. Even Trump Jr., who grew up around arrogance, can’t believe the ease with which O’Day’s belittles her teammates. “It’s difficult when people aren’t as good as you,” O’Day says.
Trump Jr. then goes to visit Mendoza’s team, and all hell breaks loose. Lampanelli, who by this point has been struggling not to erupt at Mendoza, goes ballistic after Mendoza calls her “loud.” “I can’t take this bullshit!” Lampanelli screams, calling Mendoza as a “little fucking bitch.” Aiken, while much more restrained, agrees with Lampanelli – working with Mendoza is a nightmare. “I’ve spent years teaching kids with disabilities,” Aiken says, “and never have I had to draw on that type of patience.”
The next day, both teams perform their jingles. Mendoza’s team goes first, and they fully embrace the innocent Sixties theme: Clay inhabits the voice of Frankie Valli and the look of Buddy Holly while background singers give him some shooby-doo-wop assistance. The Good Sam executive likes the performance, but he feels it may have been too conservative. Plus, he wonders where Mendoza was the whole time.
Hall’s team, by contrast, is far more energetic during their presentation. He and Giudice act out a scene as O’Day, along with backing singers and dancers wearing cheerleading uniforms, belts out the uppity jingle. The executive likes this team’s jingle as well, but feels the cheerleader outfits were too revealing.
Take us to the boardroom! Before the winning team is even announced, Lampanelli goes to war with Mendoza. The comedian claims the model did “next to nothing” on the task. “Enjoy your Sixties when you’re doing nothing!” Lampanelli says, adding that Dayana is the “female Lou Ferrigno.” Aiken stays mostly silent during the verbal shenanigans. The American Idol star does however, slip in a humorous aside when he mentions that Mendoza’s only musical suggestion for the task was to incorporate “Duran Duran and rhumba.”
Even though Hall and O’Day didn’t get along particularly well during the task, they’re noticeably quite civil in the boardroom. Both would rather let Lampanelli and Mendoza be Trump’s targets of questioning this week.
OK, so which team won? Hall’s team. The Good Sam executive thought Mendoza’s team’s jingle was too bland.
With Hall’s team safe, it’s now blatantly obvious who is getting the boot. The show’s producers must have agreed. Normally 20-30 minutes are reserved for Trump’s final decision, but this week we only get eight. Why? Mendoza is going bye-bye. And Lampanelli can only crack a smile when Trump informs the former Miss Universe she’s a goner. “You’re a good person,” Lampanelli tells Mendoza during the world’s most awkward goodbye hug.
Next Week: Three more episodes! A photo shoot where Aubrey gets half-naked! Arsenio Hall has a meltdown! And last year’s finalists, John Rich and Marlee Matlin, are back! Giddy up!
Last episode: Sweet Smell of Success