There he is, stepping out of a limo, right on cue. His loafers are buffed to an appropriately greasy shine. It’s Donald Trump. The Donald. His Trumpness. The man America loves to hate. But for some odd reason, you can’t take your eyes off him, thy man of poufed hair and infinite pockets. Yes, it’s time for another season of Celebrity Apprentice, the show on which C-list celebrities claw and bicker with one another for a meaningless title and win some money for their respective charities.
As Trump states himself in the opening montage, “it’s the most anticipated season ever!” (We’ll take his word on that one.) But what is undeniably true is that the show’s producers have amped up the weirdness this season – which, for this circus act, is saying something. Because this go-round Celebrity Apprentice is fielding an “all-star” cast. That’s right, all of your favorite walking “SOS” signals, from previous contestants Gary Busey to Dennis Rodman, and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider to mumbling country musician Trace Adkins, are back in the fold. “I didn’t come here to dick around,” Adkins tells us from the get-go. Easy there, Trace. We’re just getting started.
The contestants gather in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – a “personal favorite” of Trump’s, we’re told – and the teams divide up. Trump appoints Poison singer and former Celebrity Apprentice winner Bret Michaels as one team captain; Adkins will lead the other team. Trump admits he’s still not exactly sure why Michaels wanted to do this again having won. That makes two of us.
Both men pick their respective teams. Michaels goes with loudly shouting rapper Lil Jon, Bad As He Wants To Be-rebounding machine Rodman, former political consultant and reality-TV villain Omarosa, Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, La Toya Jackson, and model Claudia Jordan. Adkins, meanwhile, chooses magician Penn Jillette, Snider, kinda-famous-in-the-Nineties actors Stephen Baldwin and Busey, and actresses Marilu Henner and Lisa Rinna. The teams are dubbed “Power” and “Plan B,” respectively.
OK, so enough chitchatting and ass-kissing. Let’s make these semi-celebrities do something slightly degrading and ego-shattering! The first task? Hawking meatballs. Sounds about right. Both teams pick a project manager. Roderick begs (literally) to be her team’s leader; Michaels gives in. Adkins insists he knows donors with deep pockets, so he takes the reigns as his team’s project manager. And so it is that both teams set out to make as much money sealing circular concoctions of processed meat as possible.
The nonsense and minutia of the task is, per usual, fairly standard by Celebrity Apprentice standards: Rodman floats in the background as his team slaves away; Omarosa acts devilish and shady, as expected; and Baldwin saves his rolodex of big-spending donors for when his own ass is on the line as project manager.
The team’s strategies do differ, though: Roderick is all about her “billionaire” donors, sure. But Adkins, by comparison, doesn’t even open up his team’s meatball shop to the general public. Rather, he chooses to exclusively focus on getting his own big donors into his team’s shop to shell out the cash. Could it backfire on him? OMG! We’ll just have to wait and see.
At one point, both teams send two representatives to appear on “Live on Kelly and Michael,” where they serve up their “balls” to the blonde-do’d bobble head of a host and her gap-toothed former football-playing sidekick. The winner of this taste test – Roderick’s team – gets $20,000 automatically added to the team total.
Both teams have moderate success with their meatball operations. Adkins’ group, if nothing else, can hang their hat on the fact that Gilbert Godfrey shows up, so there’s always that. But ultimately it comes down to which team collected the most cash. So onto the boardroom we go.
In what is always the best part about Celebrity Apprentice, both teams proceed to bite each other’s heads off in the board room before even learning if they won. Omarosa is all “Bret Michaels didn’t raise enough money” while Baldwin admits he raised zero dollars. Former show winner and CNN personality Piers Morgan, who serves as guest advisor to Trump on this episode, hates Omarosa for past misdeeds and, as such, proceeds to make fun of her every chance he gets. Gary Busey zones out.
So who wins the challenge? Adkins’ team. They raised over $400,000, or nearly double Roderick’s team. Roderick, who in addition to being project manager, held her own – she raised the most money on her team – but chooses to bring back Michaels and LaToya Jackson with her to the board room to face being fired by Trump. Why them? Even though she has no clue how much anyone on her team raised, she thinks those two raised the smallest amount.
Trump and Morgan gang up on Roderick, confronting her about not having a good grasp on her team’s finances. Ultimately though, Trump decides he “cannot fire someone” who raised as much money as Roderick. So who gets the axe, then? Bret Michaels. Yes, the only of this year’s contestants to have previously won is the first to go. And so it goes that no matter what happens on this season of Celebrity Apprentice, a new celeb will walk out with the “hard-earned” title.