It’s nearly the end of another season of Celebrity Apprentice, and Donald Trump has narrowed the field to two veteran contestants: Penn Jillette and Trace Adkins. In order to eke out every last drop of prime-time programming, NBC stretched the final task into two episodes – this week’s being a “live” finale with all the contestants back to reflect (although it’s mostly just prerecorded material being shown at a live event).
If you didn’t catch last week’s episode, Jillette and Adkins were tasked with creating a new flavor of ice cream for Walgreens (chocolate Swirtle for Jillette and Maple Macadamia Mashup for Adkins) and a 60-second commercial promoting it, and hosting a VIP fundraising event. Both men were partnered with former contestants: Jillette with Lisa Rinna, Dennis Rodman and La Toya Jackson; Adkins with Lil Jon, Gary Busey and Marilu Henner.
Last we heard from Jillette, the magician was stressing that his commercial was too long. It was a “bad, bad moment,” he says. “We were sunk.” Luckily, Jillette remedies the situation by cutting out the last part of the commercial – during which he reveals a magic trip involving Rodman – and plans to show it as an outtake.
Adkins, meanwhile, is running into some fundraising dead-ends. It seems NFL lightning rod Tim Tebow, who Adkins continually refers to as “Jesus,” is planning to come to his fundraiser with a $200,000 check, but may be cutting it close, time-wise.
Come the day of the events, all hinges on which man can attract the biggest donors. Jillette naturally gets a major Las Vegas contingency at his event: Taylor Hicks, members of Blue Man Group, Gilbert Gottfried, George Wallace and Wayne “Mr. Las Vegas” Newton all arrive with big-time checks. Adkins draws in major-name donors as well: Billy Ray Cyrus, Tony Stewart, Vincent Pastore (a.k.a. “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero) and, yes, Tim Tebow pony up donations. “If I’m gonna lose, I’m gonna lose to the best,” says Adkins. “And by God, [Jillette’s] the best.”
Both men introduce their respective commercials, while providing some additional entertainment. Jillette performs magic with his longtime partner, Teller; Adkins sings his hit single “Honky Tonk Badankadonk” (“That’s probably the nastiest song that’s ever been played at an ice cream social”) before ceding the mic to Busey, who reprises his role as Buddy Holly for a seriously killer rendition of “Not Fade Away.”
And to the boardroom we go. Trump tells both Jillette and Adkins the Walgreens executives were super impressed with their efforts. Jillette’s only flaw, according to Walgreens, was that the packaging for his ice cream “didn’t pop.” Adkins’ only negative aspect? The use of maple in his ice cream was “too specific a flavor.”
As for their fundraising totals. Jillette raised just over $500,000, but Adkins bested him with $664,000. This mean’s Adkins’ charity, the American Red Cross, will earn some serious dough.
But who will take the crown as this season’s Celebrity Apprentice? The live portion of the broadcast will give us the answer. “I feel a lot better this time,” Adkins tells Trump, trying his best not to remember losing in Season Seven to Piers Morgan.
Before the winner is announced, there must, of course, be some time-wasting extras. Trump starts by revealing that Jillette’s ice cream sold more than Adkins’, and as a result, Walgreens is donating an extra $100,000 to Jillette’s charity, Opportunity Village.
After some of the usual banter – La Toya Jackson and Omarosa still hate each other; Busey is still bizarre – Adkins peforms an extra-twangy cover of Darius Rucker’s “Love Will,” with Jillette supporting on bass. The Donald also honors Lil Jon as an outstanding player this season with a donation of $100,000 to his charity, the American Diabetes Foundation.
OK, enough filler. Let’s find out who won this thing. “Let’s get down to business,” says Trump. “The winner of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice is . . . the very great Trace Adkins.”
And with that comes the end of yet another season of Celebrity Apprentice. You may now all return to your regularly scheduled lives.
Last week: The Final Task