'The Celebrity Apprentice' Finale - Arsenio Hall Takes The Title!

May 21st, 2012 2:48pm EDT

'The Celebrity Apprentice' Finale - Arsenio Hall Takes The Title Last week on Celebrity Apprentice: Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall, the Final Two, have been tasked with having to produce, host, and sell tickets to a celebrity charity event. They’ll be responsible for all aspects of the show, including creating a thirty second charity awareness ad, and producing a variety show to entertain their guests. They themselves will be the entertainment at their show. This week; the live finale.

Donald Trump lets us know that this is an important night – so important, that he’ll need the fastest car and driver possible to get to the show at the American Museum of Natural History. Why look! It’s Mario Andretti, driving a sweet racing car! Let’s Go!

We first head back to the editing suite, where we left off last week, when Arsenio had just discovered that his promised footage from Magic Johnson had arrived unusable. With no time to re-shoot, panic set in, but when more footage arrived, Arsenio was able to save his concept and his ad.

Meanwhile, Clay is still facing tears (from Debbie Gibson) and disapproval (from team mates Aubrey O’Day, Penn Jillette and Dee Snider) over his refusal to allow Debbie’s cousin to paint a wall mural without first showing him a sketch of her proposed work.

Back at the live set, The Donald acknowledges the Trumpettes for their work during the series. Take a bow, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. And then we’re back to watching the celebs set up their events.

In Team Clay’s car the next morning, Debbie wants to get Clay back on board with her cousin’s mural, and finally has some artwork to show him. She’s still smarting over Clay’s lack of ‘trust’ in her judgment, but all Clay wants is some idea of what the 77 foot mural will look like, as he will be judged on the presentation of his event.

Team Arsenio arrives at the site, and is pleased with their setup. Adam Corolla’s writing jokes for Paul Teutel Sr. and Teresa Giudice. Arsenio is worried that Adam’s version of a comedy roast will look bad next to Clay’s ‘feel good’ event. Adam’s confused as to what exactly Arsenio wants.

Team Clay is stoked to see that their carnival theme is falling into place. There’s AstroTurf on the floor, games and booths are being set up, and Debbie’s muralist cousin is there with her plans and a crew. Clay realizes how much there is to do before show time.

And tempers are frayed. When the display manager arrives, Aubrey swoops in to tell him the plans, leaving Clay out of the loop. Clay steps in and says that he needs to know the overall details as well. Aubrey interviews that “Clay needs to feel that he’s the man in charge. In his words, we all need to remember that it’s ‘Clay’s show’. But if I wasn’t here, he wouldn’t have a show.”

Teresa Giudice has done a marvelous job of decorating Team Arsenio’s room; it’s a very classy, high concept look in blue and white, with multiple mini crystal chandeliers. She’s got the food and booze under control, and the staff prepped for a busy night.

Clay’s so worried that the mural will not be completed on time that he even offers to help with the painting, alongside the multi-person team. Clay dons a big garbage bag over his suit, and soon Aubrey, Penn Jillette and even Teller are daubing away at the wall.

Trump again breaks into the episode, in order to parade the celebrities who left earlier in the game; Victoria Gotti, George Takei, Tia Carrere, Patricia Velasquez, Lou Ferrigno and Dayana Mendoza. What, no Cheryl Tiegs? No Michael Andretti? The celebs are seated to Trump’s left, far enough away from him that they’ll have to shout to be heard.

We are shown excerpts of past episodes, including several clips of Lou asserting that he’s given 110% at each task, only to be trumped by Clay saying that Lou actually gave 120%. Don Jr. points out that 110% is not mathematically possible, and that the expression drives him crazy. On stage, Lou twitches and lip licks, as is his style, and then tells Trump that he’s had a surgery that allows him to hear without wearing a hearing aid, for the first time in his life. Lou then walks across the stage, proclaiming that he raised $41,000.00 for his charity, and then dropping the check on Trump’s desk. I’m not sure why – shouldn’t the check go to the charity?

Trump then asks Dayana how she feels about Lisa, post-show. Dayana says she feels Lisa showed no respect for herself, so has nothing positive to say about her. He then asks Victoria if her family background helped her to do so well on the show, but since she was the second person fired, it might be moot. Victoria says that she would have preferred to be on the men’s team, and that Aubrey and Lisa were impossible to work with.

Patricia breaks the feel-good mood when she tells Trump that’s she’s having a hard time with her charity, since 90% of the money she raised went to the other team, and she had used up her donors’ generosity for the game. He tells her that she’s doing well, and doesn’t address her words. Tia’s very outspoken when she says that the juvenile and egotistical antics of some of the team players became a problem. She asks the audience who they thought was a problem on the women’s team, and the audience roar “Aubrey!” But it’s been a great experience, right? Oh yes, Mr. Trump. She adds that it was educational, if nothing else.

How’s George doing? The Star Trek star gives the Donald props for the ‘gracious way in which you handled my leave taking.’ Apparently this prompted a flood of contributions to George’s charity, the Japanese American National Museum. Trump cuts George off mid-sentence, and we’re back to the battle.

It’s party time. Clay’s outside, greeting guests. Two lines have formed, one for Clay’s guests, and one for Arsenio’s. So far, most of the attendees are Clay Mates, which makes Arsenio a little nervous. Inside, Lisa organizes the guests by donation size; their event can only hold 75 people, so they need to make the attendance count.

Penn and Clay find a donor with a $20,000.00 check, a joint donation from a group of Clay Mates, and let her be the first person into the gala. Donations begin to come in over the phone from the likes of Kelly Clarkson and David Foster, and famed pitcher Orel Hershiser arrives with his family and a $20,000.00 donation.

Team Arsenio’s donations are trickling in. A rep arrives with a $5,000.00 check from Jay Leno, and another arrives with a Chris Rock donation of $5,000.00. Eddie Murphy sends $10,000.00 and George Lopez kicks in $5,000.00 as well. Another Leno rep arrives with another check, and Jimmy Kimmel sends $10,000.00. The comics are representing!

Another surprise guest is Marco Andretti, originally one of the chosen celebrities to compete, who had to drop out due to a personal problem. He’s brought in $10,000.00 for Team Arsenio.

Lisa has a cute idea. She wanted to donate $10,000.00 to Team Clay, so she hired a Lisa Lampanelli impersonator to deliver the check to Clay. Clay is really touched by her gesture.

The events begin. Clay’s carnival atmosphere is a big hit, with stilt walkers, candy floss, and a general ‘let’s all play’ atmosphere. At Team Arsenio, the liquor is flowing, and Arsenio’s urging everyone to ‘get busy.’ The celebs mingle, and photo ops are plentiful. And Arsenio’s got a date – Whoopi Goldberg’s on her way!

But of course the most triumphant arrival of all is the Donald, in a long black limo, accompanied by Trumpettes Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka. Aubrey, with her flaming red hair even more flamboyant than normal, rushes up to Trump to lead him around the booths. “Clay put me in charge of the entire party, and I’m not letting it go down bad” she chirps. Clay is not pleased at Aubrey taking over.

It’s a more subdued atmosphere at the Team Arsenio event, when Team Trump arrives. Arsenio rushes to find Whoopi, because Trump “loves Whoopi. I love Whoopi.” Arsenio is wearing a lot of hats tonight, as host, emcee, presenter and entertainer, and finds himself pulled in all directions.

At a signal, Team Clay and Team Arsenio pull the ropes attached to the curtains that have kept the two events separate, and the two parties are merged into one. Clay and Arsenio take the stage to greet the guests.

At the live show, Trump now brings Debbie, Dee, Adam, Paul, Penn, Teresa, Lisa and Aubrey on to the stage. Aubrey’s red hair has become very blond. Trump immediately asks Aubrey how she made everyone so angry with her. Aubrey’s still basking in the applause she received on her entrance, but has the energy to respond, “I’m a fierce competitor. I suffer from a young, passionate, competitive heart.” Ah, the poor dear. She apologizes for offending anyone during the competition, and sends it back to Trump with a compliment about how much she’s learned from being on the show.

Next, Trump shows a clip of Lisa’s interactions with the other celebs, laced with profanities and patented Lisa-isms. She laughs and applauds along with the others, saying that it’s Trump’s fault for bringing “a fifty year old, menopausal beeyotch on the show. At this point I need more hormone therapy than Chaz Bono!” He then shows the clip of Lisa crying over hurting Dayana’s feelings, followed by the clip of Dayana making fun of Lisa’s tears.

“What are you doing to Lisa? You’re making her crazy,” says Trump. Dayana laughs. Lisa says that she dishes it out, and can definitely take it. Trump next turns to Adam, asking him if he thought being a funny guy helped him on Apprentice. Adam says no; it helps about as much as it helps in golf and porn. He then notes that Teresa thinks ‘naïve’ is a brand of douche. Classy guy!

Dee updates everyone on his finger, broken during an earlier challenge. He’s had two surgeries, and is now looking at a third to get full use of the finger again. Paul admits that the softer, nicer guy that he played on Apprentice is actually the real Paul; his own reality show, “American Chopper” has been filming for ten years, and he’s a different man now than he was at the beginning.

Trump asks Penn if he was surprised that Clay picked him to be on his final team, after the problems they had earlier in the series. Penn says they might have clashed, but Clay wanted to win, and knew that Penn would always do his best. Penn thinks Clay should win the title.

Whoosh! We’re back to Clay and Arsenio’s charity events. They both describe their charities, and then introduce their 30 second ads. Clay’s ad is sweet, with the children playing, and Clay’s description of how his charity can help kids ‘all play together.’ Arsenio’s ad is funny, with his team dressed in 80’s finery, and Magic Johnson’s cameo.

Arsenio then presents his comedy show. Adam begins, roasting Donald Trump, and then introducing Paul and Teresa. Lisa does a profanity laden, roast style set as well. Arsenio closes out the show with a softer, nostalgic set.

Team Clay’s show begins with a duet from Debbie and Dee, with Aubrey following with a rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Next up, Penn invites partner Teller to join him, and they demonstrate the cups and balls trick to much applause. Dee and Debbie return, with Dee doing a verse from his Twisted Sister hit “We’re Not Going to Take It.” Last up is Clay himself, who sings “(I’ve Had)The Time of My Life,” with everyone joining him on stage to sing along.

Next we go to the Final Board Room. With both teams gathered, the Donald, Don Jr. and Ivanka quiz the teams. Lisa compliments Arsenio’s team management, and admits to making a $10,000.00 “Clay-tribution” (as Adam calls it) to Team Clay. No one on Team Arsenio have a problem with her donation. When asked, Teresa says she didn’t think Arsenio had any weaknesses as a Project Manager.

So of course, Trump asks Aubrey what she thinks Arsenio’s weaknesses are. Aubrey cracks that she doesn’t have enough time. She adds that she doesn’t know him as a man, nor does she care to know him. She hopes Clay wins.

Trump next praises Dee, saying he must have a lot of money in the bank from his Twisted Sister hit. Dee admits that it’s given him an amazing life.

Although the title win is not based solely on how much money they raised by their events, Trump now has Ivanka announce that Arsenio’s team raised $167,100.00. That money will go to the Magic Johnson foundation, regardless of who wins. Don Jr. announces that Clay’s team raised $301,500.00 for his charity. Everyone gasps at the sum. The ultimate winner will also receive another $250,000.00 for their charity.

Trump thanks everyone for playing, and then kicks everyone but Clay and Arsenio out of the Board Room. And then it’s back to the live show, where Trump brings Clay and Arsenio onto the stage. Hey, Alison Sweeney from Days of Our Lives and The Biggest Loser is in the audience! Cool!

First up, Clay says that Trump is a tougher boss than Simon Cowell, because Trump knows so much more about the business world. Arsenio describes his commitment to his charity as especially strong since the death of a family member from HIV/AIDS.

Now, as though he hasn’t given it much thought previously, Trump asks a few of the celebs who should be the Celebrity Apprentice of the Year. Dee and Debbie say Clay; Lisa, Dayana, and Teresa say Arsenio.

How to decide? I know – a sing off! Clay sings Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me,” with Arsenio joining in half way through. They actually sound rather good together, though I’d have to pick Clay as having the upper hand vocally. For the big ending, they add a crew of gospel singers. The audience claps along, white folks style.

After a montage of previous winners, Clay is asked to explain why he should become this year’s winner. Clay says that he came in with low expectations, but has raised the bar along the way. He’s worked hard, and thinks he deserves the win. Plus his mother’s in the audience, and he doesn’t want her to sit through another competition in which he comes in second!

Trump then asks Arsenio if he meant it when he said that he’d focus on charity works, should he win the title. Arsenio says he absolutely did. After years of raising his son, Arsenio’s getting a new late night talk show together, and is reemerging into the showbiz world. After being on the cover of Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal, he feels he’s lived the job of Celebrity Apprentice; now he just needs the title. He admits that he wants to be Number One, after a lifetime of being Number Two.

Ivanka congratulates both men, and says she learned a lot by watching them. Clay was loved by almost everybody, and was strategically strong when needed. Arsenio was more passive, but also highly effective as a leader. It’s a tough choice, Dad.

Eric says little more than “Dad, it’s up to you.”

‘Dad’ says he’s torn; they are both amazing people. There is no loser tonight. But the winner is … Arsenio Hall. Arsenio and Clay hug, streamers and confetti fly, Tia Carrere can’t restrain herself from running and hugging the two men; it’s pandemonium.

And just like that, it’s over for the year. Did the right man win? I think both showed remarkable strength, and I wish Arsenio good luck in his future. I felt sorry that Clay’s mum had to once again see her son come in second. I hope that all of the celebrity contestants find work again soon. And I’ll be back, next year, to recap another crop of potential Celebrity Apprentices.

Related: Adam Carolla, Alison Sweeney, Arsenio Hall, Aubrey O'Day, Clay Aiken, Dayana Mendoza, Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, George Takei, Lou Ferrigno, Magic Johnson, Michael Andretti, Patricia Velasquez, Paul Teutul Sr., Penn and Teller, Penn Jillette, Teller, Teresa Giudice, The Celebrity Apprentice, Tia Carrere, Victoria Gotti, Whoopi Goldberg, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Celebrity, Reality, Charity & Good Deeds, TV Networks, NBC

© 2012

Photo Credits: NBC

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