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'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': Hello Chess Master, Goodbye Marilu

May 6th, 2013 2:15pm EDT

All-Star Celebrity Apprentice Last week, project manager Gary Busey ran roughshod over Plan B’s Lisa Rinna and Penn Jillette, and created his own wacky video for the team’s task. The team lost, and despite Gary’s claim that Penn and Lisa had worked against him, Gary was fired. Lil Jon’s team Power won the challenge and $40,000.00 for his charity, the American Diabetes Association.
This week, the teams meet up with Donald Trump and two executives (Rodney and Scott) representing Foxwoods Resorts. With them are John Rich, winner of 2011’s Celebrity Apprentice, and Donald Trump Jr., who will be the teams’ advisors. The celebs are told they will transform a suite at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center with furniture, decorations and themes that best represent the Foxwoods brand. They will also host a promotional party for Foxwoods casino, highlighting service and entertainment. The teams’ efforts will be judged on creativity, brand messaging and the overall party atmosphere.
Stakes are high on this challenge, as Trump’s $50K donation will be matched by Foxwoods, for a total charitable donation of $100K. Plan B’s project manager will be Lisa, while Marilu Henner will lead Power.
The teams arrive at their suites. Power’s Lil Jon notes that the space they have to work with is tiny. Trace Adkins points out that they can see across the arena, and directly into Plan B’s party space.
As Marilu, Trace and Lil Jon brainstorm, the Foxwoods execs arrive. They outline Foxwoods brand, emphasizing that great entertainment is the core of the experience. Foxwoods also has character mascots, based on playing cards; Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Joker. Each team will choose one character, and use that as the basis of their suite. And since the resort is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, tribal and native symbols are woven throughout their logo and complex.
Marilu likes the idea of using the King character, while Penn seizes upon the Joker. Marilu and Lisa meet to negotiate, but there’s no drama. Both teams get what they want.
Lil Jon and Marilu work differently. Marilu wants to concentrate on furnishings first, while Lil Jon thinks getting their entertainment organized is Job One. Trace wonders at Marilu’s priorities; he is not sure what exactly they should do, but he’s pretty sure she’s on the wrong track.
Penn and Lisa are burning up with great ideas. Penn gets David Burke, celebrity chef, for their caterer, and locates a Native American flautist for mood music. Their entertainment will be Lisa Lampanelli, and Penn and Teller. So essentially, their chef and entertainment are all currently employed in some aspect of Foxwoods’ empire.
Across the way, Trace couldn’t be grumpier. He greets Marilu’s idea of hiring a massage therapist with a blunt “no.” Marilu shoots down Lil Jon’s suggestions. She’s grasping at straws, proposing a mandolin player, a mime, or any other entertainment that would be fit for a king.
Marilu’s worried about Trace, calling him “a curmudgeon who operates one notch above death.” She feels he hasn’t been contributing enough over the last few tasks, while she’s supported him and the team through every project. As Marilu gets more stressed and tense, Trace calls Marilu “the party planner from hell.” Trace and Lil Jon get more outrageous and silly as all of their efforts lead nowhere. Marilu is so frustrated she tells Trace he’s turning into Gary. Trace throws himself onto the floor like a two year old having a tantrum.
But Trace is really trying to help. He sends out feelers to try and score Hunter Hayes, winner of the CMA’s New Artist of the Year, as their entertainment. Lil Jon organizes a kick drum and a snare to go with a DJ setup, as requested by Marilu.
It’s all going so smoothly for Lisa and Penn that you just know something has to go wrong. A storm suddenly blows in and drops 15 inches of snow on New York. Penn is frantically trying to get Teller on a plane before all flights are either delayed or cancelled.
But they are confident when John Rich stops by to check on their progress. So confident that Lisa actually starts hitting on him, warning him that she hasn’t seen her husband for a month, so he had better be careful. Penn keeps on track, outlining their program. John gives Lisa’s hand a goodbye kiss, and Penn kisses John’s for good luck.
John is not as impressed with Power’s efforts. Trace tells him that the storm has knocked out most of the people he’d like to have at their party, including Dolly Parton. John says that Lil Jon is the “King of Crunk”, and interviews that if he was on the team, he’d dress Lil Jon up as a king, and have him sitting on a throne, pouring shots. Lil Jon likes the “King” idea, wondering if they can get a costume. But Marilu is not very receptive.
Penn is still trying to get Teller to New York in time, but in the event that he doesn’t, Penn and Lisa prepare an alternate act, where Lisa would stand in for Teller. Penn would juggle three apples, while simultaneously feeding one of the apples to Lisa. If she moves wrong, however, she would essentially be punched in the mouth. Lisa laughs, and says that’s perfect; her lips aren’t real anyway.
Trace finally locks in Hunter Hayes as their entertainment. Marilu procures some thrones, capes, crowns and scepters, but still hasn’t let Trace and Lil Jon in on how she plans to use them.
Plan B’s Lisa and Penn, with the hardy Teller, have a lot to do the morning of the party. A very much thinner Lisa Lampanelli arrives as they’re having furniture moved. David Burke arrives, two minutes before the party starts, with a crazy array of fun food. He’s even gone through four thousand calamari to find calamari heads that look the most like a Joker’s hat. Lisa and the guests are blown away by the spread.
The execs, John Rich and Don Junior arrive at the Joker suite, where Penn is ready to perform with Teller. They do a scary trick with needles and thread that has the audience in awe, before Lisa Lampanelli begins. Lisa is at her raunchiest, even causing Penn to blush and wonder if she might have shocked the Foxwoods people.
At team Power’s suite, Marilu has Lil Jon and Trace positioning a heavy mirror, and dusting tables. Lil Jon tells her that his contact for the DJ equipment fell through, so he can’t perform. With five minutes to go, the team is still setting up the catering and furniture. As the guests begin to arrive, Marilu presents them with caviar and champagne, and invites them to play a game of chess against a chess master.
Trace is not at all impressed with the idea of playing chess in the middle of a party, and I have to agree. When John Rich, Trump Junior, and the execs arrive, they are shown the array of food, invited to learn chess, and introduced to “The Countess” from “The Real Housewives of New York.” One of the execs takes advantage of the masseur/physiotherapist while sitting awkwardly in a throne. Lil Jon is seriously underwhelmed by it all, and since he’s not DJ-ing, he just floats around the room talking to people.
But at least Trace’s entertainment has arrived, and he’s delighted to introduce Hunter Hayes to the room. Hunter’s newest song is well received, and Marilu dances with John Rich. Marilu thinks a lot of things didn’t come together, but Hunter Hayes’ performance pulled it off in the end.
After the parties, Trump Junior gathers the execs and John Rich to hash over what they’ve seen. The execs feel that both teams nailed the branding. Marilu’s massage chair gets thumbs up, and Lisa’s use of David Burke is praised. Surprisingly, they feel that Marilu’s suite was more pulled together than Lisa’s. They also felt that Hunter Hayes was “a broad reach across our demographic,” appealing to a large segment of the Foxwoods guests. And the winner is …

Step into the Board Room now, celebs. Trumps first question is to Lisa, as he asks her if she thought her suite or her party was better. She thinks they did well on both. Marilu says that their entertainment was terrific, mentioning Hunter Hayes, “The Countess,” and their chess master. Trump thinks that choosing a “King” suite over a “Joker” suite may have been an advantage.
Lil Jon praises both the party and the suite, but adds that Marilu’s a very hands-on manager, who likes to do most of the work. Marilu says she didn’t trust Lil Jon’s visual sense, and wanted both Lil Jon and Trace to just concentrate on providing the entertainment. She adds that she felt Trace was having a bad day while they were working out their presentation.
Trace says he felt they were messed up right from the start, when they didn’t take “Joker” away from Penn. Lil Jon agrees, as does John Rich, since clearly giving “Joker” to Penn gave him an advantage. But Trump still prefers the idea of a “King” suite.
John Rich again brings up Lil Jon’s title of “King of Crunk.” Marilu says that may be so, but he was also supposed to be their DJ, and didn’t come through. Lil Jon explains to Trump that Crunk is essentially getting crazy, with a lot of energy.
Marilu also mentions that Trace was of little help, and has been crabby during the last few tasks. He agrees, saying he doesn’t feel they’ve had any strong ideas he can get behind.
Penn says that he always says the onus has to fall on the project manager, even if it’s himself. He and Lisa worked well together, and he doesn’t think there’s much chance they’ll lose. Lisa agrees, and throws in that she’s raised the most money for her team, over $400K to date.
John Rich sums up what the execs thought of Power’s suite and party, saying that they did think the “King” theme was a bit too obvious and a little theatrical. They loved the massage, hated the chess master. Don Junior tells Plan B that the execs thought the team integrated the themes beautifully, but found the suite a little lacking in fun elements.
Trump is pleased to tell Lisa that her suite and party was judged far better than Marilu’s, so her charity will be receiving the $100K prize. That brings Lisa’s combined winnings to over half a million dollars for St. Jude. Lisa cries as she thanks everyone. She and Penn leave for the Victory suite hand in hand.
Trump immediately wants to know who okayed the idea of having a chess master. Lil Jon says it was Marilu’s idea, which she defends as being part of the brief, filling the ‘intellectual’ category. No one thinks chess should be part of a party, however. As to entertainment, she can’t believe Penn was able to bring in big names, what with the weather, and blames Trace for not having brought in better known musicians.
Trace says that he did his best with the entertainment, and was hoping he could bring in Dolly Parton or Blake Shelton for the ‘wow’ factor, but both were snowbound. He feels that everyone who saw Hunter Hayes was blown away, regardless.
Lil Jon, clearly miffed that Marilu didn’t pursue using his “King” moniker for the party, says that he couldn’t understand why she didn’t jump on the idea. He did order the robes and crowns, but wasn’t encouraged to take on the role. John Rich says that knowing everything about your team mates, including their nicknames, is all part of the toolbox when you are playing Celebrity Apprentice.
Marilu defends herself by saying that she’s been integral to winning 7 out of the last nine tasks, and has presented countless ideas. She thinks that Trace should be fired, for dropping out (mentally) three tasks before. He says it’s odd, then, that they’ve gone with his ideas for all three of those tasks. Lil Jon thinks that Marilu’s frenetic energy was getting to Trace; she just moves too fast for him.
Marilu says it’s just the way she is, and she feels that she’s got the skillsets to go forward, and win the competition. Trump agrees that he would love her to win, but she did pick the chess, and was ultimately responsible for the overall presentation.
When she continues to blame Trace for not providing the ‘wow’ factor in entertainment, John Rich calls her out, saying that she or Lil Jon could have just as easily picked up the phone and gotten anyone in the entertainment business to be there, for a chance to appear on Celebrity Apprentice. While she agrees, she feels that Trace and Lil Jon let her down, and that she feels like they want to get rid of her, as one of the strongest contestants.
Trump says that he likes Marilu and he thinks that she’s done well, but didn’t come through on this challenge. He can’t see a reason to fire either Trace or Lil Jon, as they did what they could, but she, as project manager has to take final responsibility. So – Marilu, you’re fired.
Trace growls a little, and he and Lil Jon leave. Marilu keeps a brave face, and waves goodbye.
Marilu’s exit interview: “I really think that my two team mates kind of checked out. They felt like, “Oh, we did our project manager thing, we’re gonna be Final Four, it doesn’t matter what happens.” Trace definitely checked out. He wasn’t at his best. His mother should have kept him home, because I think he has the flu.”
Next week on Celebrity Apprentice: In the first five minutes, the Final Four are called back into the Board Room minutes after the end of last week’s show. Two All Stars are immediately fired. Then, some old faces come back for the final task. And get ready for the return of Busey!

Related: Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., John Rich, Lil Jon, Lisa Rinna, Marilu Henner, Penn Jillette, The Celebrity Apprentice, Trace Adkins, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Celebrity, Reality, Charity & Good Deeds, NBC

Photo Credits: NBC

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