'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': Trump Hires Trace Adkins As This Year’s All-Star!
May 20th, 2013 2:58pm EDT
It’s been a long time coming. All Star Celebrity Apprentice began 12 weeks ago, when 14 celebrities gathered to show off their entrepreneurial skills. This week, the race is down to the two finalists, Penn Jillette and Trace Adkins, battling to the end for the title, and for their charities.
As Penn tells Trace backstage, “One of us will win. But not by much.”
Live, from New York City, Donald Trump pronounces it the battle of Nashville vs. Las Vegas. A montage of past moments is shown, culminating with a continuation of last week’s challenge. The finalists were tasked with creating a new flavor of Delish brand premium ice cream that will be sold in all of the Walgreens outlets, nationwide. In addition, they will have to design packaging, produce a promotional video, and raise money for a launch event featuring the new flavors.
They will be judged based on their ice cream’s flavor, brand messaging and creativity of both the video and the product packaging, overall presentation, and additional money raised through ticket sales to the launch. The winner will receive 250 thousand dollars for their charity.
Penn was happy to be reunited with Lisa Rinna, and to work with La Toya Jackson, and Dennis Rodman. Trace welcomed Lil Jon, Gary Busey, and Marilu Henner. Penn’s flavor, “Magic Swurtle,” features tiny chocolate turtles, and his video stars Penn and Teller performing a magic trick with the help of Dennis Rodman. Trace hopes that his video that has Gary Busey doing the Busey dance for “Maple Macadamia Mash Up” will go viral. Trace is very happy with his video.
Penn, on the other hand, has a dilemma – their video is running long, and will need to be cut to stay within the one minute range specified. He decides that they will cut out a section that shows Dennis Rodman in on the trick, but save the footage, so that it can be shown as a sort of “punch line” at the live presentation to the judges.
The audience at home and in the studio, having been shown this clip of Penn solving his video problem, is now brought back to Trump live, flanked by Joan Rivers, and daughter Ivanka Trump. After introducing Joan and Ivanka, he welcomes sons Eric and Don Junior, who are seated in the audience, and hypes the later appearance of the fired celebrities. And then we’re back into the task.
(This chopping up of the clips continues throughout the show. I would rather have seen the continuation of last week’s task at the beginning of the episode, flowing naturally into the live presentation, and then into a “wrap up” of the series with the celebrities brought back. I found it hard to concentrate on the action through all of the interruptions.)
Team Penn are being driven to their presentation space. Penn tells them that they’ve got Debbie Harry, the Blue Man Group, Taylor Hicks and Wayne Newton as special guests, so he’s happy. Lisa adds that their Vegas Showgirls are the ‘kicker’ – who can resist? She’s concentrating on their guest list; they have to sell 50 tickets. There’s a lot of big money coming in. Penn wants to win as much as he can for his charity, Opportunity Village.
Team Trace is a little more subdued. Trace is delighted to get a definite “Yes” from Tim Tebow, who has agreed to appear, and to bring $200,000.00 to the event. Trace believes Tebow’s relationship with Jesus trumps Penn’s relationship with showbiz. I guess we’ll see.
Back to Trump, who now brings out the first group of fired celebs. Enter Dee Snider, Stephen Baldwin, Claudia Jordan, Omarosa and Brande Roderick. Trump asks Omarosa why she’s so confrontational, and she coyly tells him that she learned it from him, reminding him of their ten year history. The Donald also asks Stephen if he really believed all of the nasty things he said about Trump after being fired. The littlest Baldwin, so rarely hired, assures Trump that all is forgiven. Dee says that he’s creative, but it takes him longer to do tasks than the timeframe of the show allows. Claudia says that she’s “absolutely not” friends with Omarosa. Brande says that the dynamic of the show was not harmonious, which is why she didn’t do as well as the first time she played.
Rather than go back to the episode, we now see Penn with Teller, sitting in the audience. Teller’s head appears to be encased in a square block. A bespectacled woman from the audience is asked to participate in a magic trick. Penn does some sleight of hand with a billiard ball and a wand, and then uses a hammer to smash Teller’s block, revealing that Teller is now wearing the woman’s glasses.
Now, back to the final task. Trace and Penn let their guests in for the “Ice Cream Social.” Lisa, in charge of the money table, is grateful for the checks from Taylor Hicks, Gilbert Gottfried, Dee Snider, The Blue Man Group and the like. People begin arriving with large novelty checks, including one for $200,000
Trace is nervous when it seems like everyone’s there for Penn. But he soon starts receiving large checks as well, from The Oak Ridge Boys, Wrangler Jeans, NASCAR, Billy Ray Cyrus, Wynona Judd, and The Academy of Country Music.
Wayne Newton arrives, to Penn’s relief. And he’s even more relieved to tell Lisa that they’re “north of 5,” which I take to mean they’ve pulled in over $500,000. Trace is sweating; with ten minutes left, their biggest donor, Tim Tebow, has yet to arrive. Marilu hyperventilates as Trace tells her he can’t wait any longer for Tebow.
Trump interrupts AGAIN to introduce the remaining celebs; Marilu Henner, Lisa Rinna, La Toya Jackson, Dennis Rodman (in a particularly stunning blonde Mohawk, and purple eye shadow,) Gary Busey and Lil Jon. Trump compliments Dennis’ hairstyle. Dennis says that North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was a good guy to him. Trump seems of the opinion that Dennis’ relationship with the dictator is good as long as it’s enhanced Dennis’ reputation.
He then turns his attention to Lil Jon, asking him why he’s not one of the finalists. Lil Jon reminds Trump that he fired him; it was his decision. Lisa says that she was lucky to have worked with first Trace, and then Penn.
Back to the presentation; is your head spinning yet? With seconds to go, Tim Tebow arrives with the $200,000. Grumpy Cat – oh sorry, that’s Donald Trump! – arrives with Ivanka, so let the games begin! He, Ivanka, Miss USA and the other guests sample the two flavors on offer. Everyone seems to love both.
Team Penn’s presentation begins with the Jubilee Vegas showgirls flanking Penn. He describes the ingredients in the Magic Swurtle ice cream before thanking the Vegas celebrities who are in attendance; Taylor Hicks, George Wallace, The Blue Man Group, Dee Snider, Gilbert Gottfried, and Mr. Las Vegas – Wayne Newton. He then brings Teller on stage, and they perform a magic trick before presenting their video. The audience, including Trump and Gary Busey, watch like little kids at a magic show.
When Penn then shows the “out take” of Dennis Rodman, under the table, helping with the trick, Trace is nervous. He thinks that Penn must have won the video part of their task, and is hoping Busey is bringing his A game to their live presentation.
Trace takes the stage, which is set up for a live musical performance, and invites Team Trace (Marilu, Lil Jon and Gary Busey) to stand beside him, before he plays his 60 second video. The audience smiles at Busey’s dance. Trace then takes to the stage to perform his hit, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk." Wynona Judd sings along, as does Penn and his team.
He then brings up Gary to reprise his role as Buddy Holly on the stage. Gary puts on the square glasses, and sings “Not Fade Away.” Well, it’s more an interpretation of the song than actual singing, but that’s our Busey!
Back to the live show, where Ivanka introduces the next clip, of the finalist teams entering the Board Room.
Trump begins by saying that both teams raised a lot of money, but it’s not just about the money; they’re being judged on the whole task. He compliments Gary on his contribution to Trace’s presentation. Marilu says it was a pleasure having Trace back to his reinvigorated self.
La Toya, Dennis and Lisa praise Penn’s work. When Trump asks Penn how he’s liked this season, over the last time he played, Penn says he really enjoyed the show and his fellow celebrities. Trump says that the show and he should be given Emmys but doesn’t expect that to ever happen.
Ivanka tells Team Penn that the Walgreen execs loved both the ice cream flavor and the name that they came up with. La Toya beams, as it was her idea. They also enjoyed the video, brand integration, and the use of magic. Penn’s presentation was praised as on point and very clear. The only negative they could find was that they weren’t impressed with the product’s packaging.
Joan says that Gary singing was the highlight of Trace’s presentation, and that they loved part of his ice cream’s name, “Mash Up,” as they hoped to appeal to a younger demographic. But they thought that the “Maple” was too specific.
Ivanka announces that Team Penn raised $503,655. Before we can hear what Team Trace brought in, we cut back to the Donald in New York City, telling us that the Apprentice has raised $13 million to date for charity. He also says that Walgreen’s has decided to add another $100,000.00 to the winning team’s total.
We go back now to the Board Room. Joan Rivers announces that Team Trace raised $564,000. Trump notes that that’s a tremendous amount of money, and wonders who on the show hasn’t raised any money for their charity. Busey puts up his hand, and Trump says he’ll give him $20,000. He’ll also give $20K to Lil Jon, La Toya and Dennis for their own charities. He praises all of the celebs for their hard work. He then says goodbye to them all. Everyone but Trace and Penn leaves the Board Room.
Back at the live show, Trump brings Penn and Trace onto the stage, and to the simulated Board Room desk where he, Ivanka and Joan await. Looks like Trace has the longer ponytail. Trace and Penn praise each other’s efforts, and say that they had a great time during the season.
Trump interrupts to make a special announcement; Walgreens is donating $100K to the charity of the celebrity with the bestselling ice cream. Amanda the Receptionist appears on stage, handing Trump an envelope with the sales totals. Trump says that they sold more than 400,000 pints of their ice cream, in a single week. It was close, but the winner was Penn, and Penn’s charity will receive the extra $100K.
A montage is shown of some of Gary’s best Buseyisms, or ‘bacronyms’ as Penn calls them. Gary says that the mechanical dog he invented for the show has been dismantled and made into a lawnmower. Trump then shows a tape of some of Omarosa’s ‘low lights.’ What a horrible, delusional woman! Omarosa assures Trump that her onscreen persona is all for the camera, but La Toya disagrees, saying that she and Omarosa have never been friends, and never will be. Busey has to step between the two women as they begin yet another catfight. Both La Toya and Omarosa try to get Trump to hear their sides, but he dismisses their screams, saying “who needs you two guys? Peace! Peace!”
We are next shown a clip of Penn visiting his charity, Opportunity Village, in their one location, Las Vegas. One of the reasons he’s playing for their charity is to take it from a local charity to a national one. He tours the workroom, where the occupants are being trained to do jobs allowing them to fit into society in some small part. He says that the fact that these people are able to define themselves as something beyond their disabilities is one of the most beautiful things about Opportunity Village.
Penn tears up as he produces a scarf from his pocket, made for him at Opportunity Village, and given to him for good luck, and reminds Trump that Elvis’ stage scarves were also made for him there.
Trump asks Marilu whom she thinks should win. She says that both men are amazing, but that she considers Trace to be a real game-changer. Dennis says he’s surprised that Bret Michaels is not at the finale, but in the end, it’s the charities that have won.
Trace now gets the third degree. Trump wonders if Trace was surprised at how emotional Penn became when describing his charity. Trace wasn’t surprised, as he’s seen Penn’s big heart before. But he’s sure that he’s beat Penn, because he was the better player.
The American Red Cross is highlighted during Trace’s final clip. Trace’s brush with the charity happened when there was a fire at his home, while he was on tour. The Red Cross came and gave help to his wife and three little girls in his absence. He had no idea that the Red Cross responded to over 70,000 house fires a year. He visits Susie, one of the women that helped his family, to thank her personally.
Flanked by the very tall Penn and Trace, tiny Joan Rivers announces that Trace will be doing a special performance of “Love Will,” with Penn on bass, and the Harlem Gospel Choir on backups. Penn sings along as he plays.
It is now time for the final Board Room. Trump asks Trace why he should be the winner; Trace says he’s raised by far the most money out of any one on the show this year, and feels that, in the final challenge, he beat Penn on the last task. Penn corrects Trace, and says that actually he himself is the most valuable player, raising the most money overall. His presentation was more focused on the product. Penn jokes that he’s better than Trace in general.
Joan Rivers says she wishes it could be a tie. She thinks of Trace as a singing John Wayne, and of Penn as a brilliant, energetic genius. But she identifies more with Penn. Ivanka says she respects both men, and feels that they defined the “All Star” aspect of the season. Penn’s creativity is unmatched, while Trace is the solid, strong leader, who raised a great deal of money. It’s close, but she chooses Trace.
Rather than decide, Trump begins to talk about a special player, whose firing angered the audience. He calls Lil Jon up to the desk. With no seat for him, Lil Jon perches on the arm of Joan Rivers’ chair. Trump notes that Lil Jon’s mother recently passed away from complications due to a stroke, and the return of her diabetes. Trump has decided to give Lil Jon’s charity, the American Diabetes Association, an additional $100K. Trump rises, and gives a very emotional Lil Jon a hug, as do Trace and Penn. Lil Jon wipes away tears as the other players, and the audience, give him a standing ovation.
And the winner of All Star Celebrity Apprentice is Trace Adkins. Penn immediately smiles and applauds, congratulating Trace, and showing what a great sport he is. Confetti falls from the ceiling, the audience hoots, everybody hugs – and that’s it. Game over.
So, what did you think of the finale? Did the right man win? Why not tell us in the comments section below. And join us here again, next year, when a new Celebrity Apprentice is hired!
Photo Credits: NBC