We start with Donald Trump bombastically proclaiming this season as, of course, the best season ever, thanks to him. Cue the unfolding of a red carpet for the Donald to strut along. Two poor fellows ran before him, unrolling a seemingly endless red carpet until it abruptly runs out, just before the entrance. As they fell to the ground, he tells them …. wait for it! … “You’re Fired.” Oh, that Donald …

We’re down to the Final Two – country star John Rich, and Academy Award winning actress, Marlee Matlin. When we left the duo last week, they were both enmeshed in the creation and production of a publicity campaign for 7-Up Retro. Now, we are live, in New York City, for the crowning of the winner. Let’s hope we’re going to see the final work of the contenders!

Before we begin, there’s time for a little Nene Leakes bashing, and then lots of pats on the back to, you guessed it, Trump himself. Thanks to his awesomeness, it’s been an amazing season, a huge amount of charity given to charities, and we’ve been entertained by watching D list celebrities scurry around at his bidding. What more do you plebes want from him?

After a montage of moments I’d really rather forget from this season, (Richard Hatch calling David Cassidy a ‘little person’, Nene Leakes calling LaToya Jackson ‘Casper the Ghost,’ Meat Loaf giving someone whatfor, Nene Leakes telling Star Jones that she’s has pushed her last button, Meat Loaf having a mini coronary as he screeches at a po-faced Gary Busey, Dionne Warwick establishing her Diva self, Marlee reminding Star that she’s deaf and can’t hear her whispering in her ear … okay, that one is STILL funny) and the Donald firing people left right and center,   we finally do return to where we left off last week … John Rich fighting with Def Leppard’s road manager, and Meat Loaf losing it as Geoffrey Holder, the retro star of Marlee’s commercial, turns out not to be available for their commercial.

Marlee, with her helper team of Meat Loaf, LaToya, and Richard Hatch, basically put the bricks to Geoffrey Holder’s lawyer and manager, with Meat Loaf slithering through the barriers necessary to get Mr. Holder on set, legally, and film her commercial. (Geoffrey Holder was the iconic spokesperson for 70’s 7-Up, with his trademark “Fah-bu-lous!” pronouncements. However, he was also a really bad guy in a James Bond movie, so I have mixed feelings about him. But when he arrives, in that white suit, panama hat, and attitude … we all fall in love with him again. He does his lines, “Simply mah-velous. Retro and Now.” with such flair.

Over at Team John Rich, John and his ever present guitar are posing for point of purchase pics, and looking pretty much on top of things. With his helper team of Lil Jon, Star Jones and Mark McGuire, they think they have the job in the bag. But the tour manager from Def Leppard is still giving John a hard time. What to do?  Well, John’s determined that if Def Leppard give him any trouble, he’ll do the gig himself!

Let’s take a short break so that the Donald can big up his kids. Ivanka’s carrying her first child, and Junior’s wife is expecting their third! And you know that if the Donald could take credit for those fetuses (feti?,) he would. Okay, back to the show.

With the game on the line, John Rich is lying in wait on the stage set for Def Leppard, and that evil road manager. He’s talkin’ smack, and ready to rumble. But when they arrive, he’s more than ready to make nice.  As he tells the band about his passion for his charity, the band look uncomfortable, and avoid meeting his eyes. They don’t care, John, it’s a gig, and it’s your game, not theirs, got it? You want a kick drum? We’ll see what we can do. Otherwise, the ball’s in your court, okay? They hate his idea for an intro, and he’s not getting the kick. So, John will be doing his “7-Up is rocking the country!” on his own.  And lucky to get it.  

Team Marlee, flush from their contact high with Geoffrey Holder, arrive at a gym where they will sort out their other celebrity encounter with the Harlem GlobeTrotters. (You know, I’d completely forgotten about them, in all this activity!) Richard Hatch checks out the space, and gets very negative about how they can possible dress the set to address their goals of a classy, retro feel. Don’t worry, Rich, Meat is just as thrown. Take heart, though, because Meat knows what to do with the balloons, and he’s ready to sling a few tables out of there, if that’s what it takes. LaToya, on the other hand, is delicate, and wobbly. And she’s already backing John Rich.

Another pause from the Donald. Just to up the ante, let’s bring in the fired losers; David Cassidy, Lisa Rinna and her breasts, Niki Taylor, Mark McGrath, Hope Dworacyk, Lil Jon, LaToya, Star, Meat, and Gary Busek. But wait! Who’s staggering in on too high heels? It’s Nene Leakes! Thanks for showing up, Nene.  You are so going to get it! No Richard Hatch, because he’s back in jail. And boy, does that make David Cassidy happy! “He’s in the right place in the right time,” says good loser David. Oh, David. I had such a crush on you when you were in the Partridge Family, and now I’m sad.  Lisa Rinna and her breasts poll the audience as to why she was fired, and the audience agree that Star was the culprit. Star lawyers up. We’re then promised that Gary Busek will be allowed to speak soon, but first … a montage of some of Gary’s ‘finer’ moments. Really, I could have done without a heaping spoonful of crazy. Trump is quoted again, “He’s either a genius or a moron and I can’t figure it out.” Well, I can, Mr. Trump. Can I have your empire now? Gary watches the same montage as me, and somehow still doesn’t get the point, as he thumbs up the audience. “Successful.” he says. Shades of Charlie Sheen!

The question is … where are Dionne Warwick, Jose Conseca, and Richard Hatch. Okay, Richard Hatch is in jail, but where’s Dionne and Jose? The question is never answered.

Back to Gary. Apparently he’s trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, so he watches people’s eyes when they talk, and he knows if they’re lying or telling the truth. (If you were watching Survivor this season, you may know that crazy Philip was making the same sort of claims. I didn’t buy it them either.) Gary then recaps his entire strategy for the Omaha Steaks presentation, the famous ‘kite’ soliloquy, that didn’t work. Trump interrupts to ask Gary if he likes Meat Loaf. Gary blah blah blahs, then Meat and Gary clinch. Eww! But at least we got Gary out of his unpaid Omaha pitch. So, how deep is the rift between Meat and Gary? Well, apparently they go back to the Stone Age … oh no, sorry, I mean the days when the Rolling Stones started. Which some of us would argue, is pretty much the same thing. And here come’s Gary one more time with another pitch for Omaha Steaks!

The Donald acknowledges that Lil Jon was a big star before appearing on the Apprentice, but look where he is now! Lil Jon says he loved working on the show, but he wouldn’t do it again, because it’s … hard. Still, he’s cool with Busey and his Busey-isms.  Busey still can’t stop taking about Omaha Steaks, and leaves his seat to show Trump that Omaha is indeed now packaging their steaks with a weeny kite! His idea! All hail Gary!

Okay, back to the pre-produced work. John Rich is doing stage production, and he and his crew think they’ve got it down. On Team Marlee, Star is calling herself, ‘event planner extraordinaire.’ John’s confidence is raised when he’s thanked by some friends from the Melting Pot Restaurant for his work in raising money for St Jude’s, and who bring a $25,000 check for the charity as well!

Meanwhile, Marlee’s Team is folding towels in the gym locker for the GlobeTrotters. They really don’t know what the heck they’re doing, according to Richard Hatch. Basically, they blew their wad with the Geoffrey Holder get. Marlee’s interpreter tells us that Marlee is grateful for her teams help, and blown away when the GlobeTrotters arrive. Meat Loaf is the greeter. The meet and greet seems a success, with all of the preparation and decoration Marlee’s team has managed. Trump and the 7-Up execs are feted, and the presentation begins ….

The commercial ends with iconic Geoffrey Holder, and the up close and personal with the Harlem GlobeTrotters begins. Trump and his extended family are in the front row. Meat Loaf says, “the only thing that can trump the GlobeTrotters is a Beatles reunion.” And since that’s not gonna happen, he’s probably right. To the whistled strains of the GlobeTrotters theme, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown,’ the assembled crowd ooh and aah at the antics. “It’s funny, right?” says the Donald. Apparently, he needs corroboration that it is indeed funny. Marlee even finds herself in centre court with the boys, twirling a basketball on her finger. It’s all good! And the GlobeTrotters, Marlee’s team, and the Donald, pose for a publicity photo. Marlee gloats that she’s got the game in the bag. She IS THE Celebrity Apprentice.

Not so fast, Marlee. John Rich still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Friends of John Rich, (uncredited) arrive with ANOTHER check for St Judes, this time for $250, 000. Yeah, he’s stoked. If it’s all about charity money raised, this is definitely going to be John Rich’s win.  John’s event begins, with Lil Jon and Mark McGrath greeting the audience. Trump shows up. I see no kids or grandkids. I guess Def Leppard is not the junior Trump’s style. The 7-Up execs tell Trump that they are disappointed with Team John Rich’s lack of butt kissing. “Team Marlee met us at the door, and never let us out of their sight.” See, in my book, that’s just a little under stalking, in terms of creepiness.

Team John Rich’s commercial is shown, and frankly – it’s not that good. They have the Axl Rose and Madonna clones doing their audition, but it’s patently not good. No effort is made for either of the clones to try and encapsulate the idol’s ‘feel.’ Then, of course, Dee Snider stands up, and blows away the competition. But give me some tension here! Let there BE competition!  The audience goes crazy over Dee’s turn. And it’s time for the main event …. Def Leppard. John Rich announces the band … and nothing happens. Apparently John Rich had them arriving at 7 pm, and yet he announced them at 6:40. They weren’t ready. Yeah, that’s John’s fault. Is Trump pissed? Oh, yeah. So John Rich decides to open for the band. John sings a surprisingly jazzy song called “don’t fire me Mr. Trump”, but then performs his hits for the crowd, and they eat it up.

And after filling the time, here they are! Def Leppard. They rock! Well, it’s called “Rock of Ages.” Backstage, John and Lil Jon congratulate each other with much love. The band performs like they’ve done a thousand corporate gigs before, and here’s the most you get. (I’m not impressed.)  They are competent, but not inspired. They do their hits, and Trump nods approvingly.

At Trump Tower, the Donald confers with Larry and Jim. What do they think? Yep, both teams were fabulous. But what was the defining moment? Well, John Rich screwed up his timing, and his team didn’t hang off the Exec’s arms. The exec’s admit that the commercials made by the teams will be used nationally.

But let’s talk about Nene Leakes! Oh, yes, like 7-Up, she’s a true original. And we roll a montage featuring Nene’s freakouts … well, really, there wasn’t much show BEYOND Nene’s freak outs. Except that when Nene called out Star Jones, she didn’t follow through. In fact, she just ran away from the competition. Star thanks Trump, but disses Nene’s attempt to call out every single black woman on the show. Nene doesn’t agree, but I’d have to say, yeah, she did. Nene and Star talk over each other, each wanting to make their point, but the Donald calls a halt to the blagging. Star asks Trump if she can finish her statement. “As a professional woman, I was embarrassed, as were so many professional women”, and then BLAH BLAH BLAH Nene talks over the statement, and I have not the faintest idea what Star was trying to say. LaToya agrees that Star was manipulating every minute, but Nene has a good heart. So there.

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Trump acknowledges that Jack Jason, Marlee’s interpreter, was the break out star of the season. You know it! The guy even cries in translation! Oh, we want him, we want to keep him in our pockets and hearts! While Jack admits he’s now recognized even at the local grocery, Trump jokingly (?) says he want’s 25% of Jack’s future income.

And we’re back! Marlee and John are admitted to the BoardRoom, and they’re both convinced they hit the winning button. Trump admits that both he and the 7-Up execs think both teams were terrific, but he (Trump) will be making the ultimate decision. Marlee and John admire each other’s work with faint praise. Ivanka admits that the execs were very impressed with Marlee’s commercial, presentation, and seamless segue into the GlobeTrotters event, with each guest greeted by Meat Loaf.

Trump calls out Team John Rich, and the lapse between John Rich’s intro, and Def Leppard’s entrance. John says that the people coming in and handing off more money for his charity may have thrown off his game. Marlee’s shocked to hear that John Rich pulled in another $275,000 without even trying. It wasn’t a fund raising challenger, so what’s the deal? Trump says that no, it’s not about the challenge. Fact is, Celebrity Apprentice raised nearly $3 million for their charities, and that’s a record. Congrats!

Back to the BoardRoom. Trump tells the 6 ‘aides’ (Meat Loaf, LaToya, Star, Mark, Richard and Lil Jon) ba-bye. The 6 bow and scrape out of the room. It’s down to the two finalists, Marlee and John.

We’re then thrown to the live show, where Marlee ‘the heart and soul of her team, the one who raised $1 million in one night’, and John Rich, the creative genius who ‘wrote, sang and fundraised his way to the top,’ are brought in. John Rich even brings in a black cowboy hat for Trump’s use, which begs the question, aren’t black hats for bad guys? But, let’s continue …

So, Marlee? What was this experience like for you? Marlee (and Jack Jason, surprise superstar) sign that it’s been an amazing week. So all of this went down in one week? Wow! Trump says, "You won the Academy Award. And you're an even bigger star now!" So now we know that, even if you win an Academy Award, it’s far more important to be on Celebrity Apprentice. Really? Well, I guess I’ll dump my acting class and get right into that MBA program I keep shirking! And John Rich? How wonderful was your experience? “It’s been a tornado of activity, but great, because I got to say the words “St. Jude” a thousand times.”

Well, since Trump is just so fair, he then asks Meat Loaf who should win. And there’s Trace Adkins, a big country star in the audience! Nene likes ‘em both, as does Gary. Star lawyers up, but on ‘empirical evidence’, she likes John Rich. Lil Jon goes for John, as does LaToya. Meat Loaf tries to chime in, but he had his chance. David Cassidy goes for Marlee. Mark McGrath won’t commit.

For absolutely no reason, we now see footage of African wildlife. But wait, no! Marlee is on her way to Africa to work with her charity. Take that, John Rich! And here’s Marlee interacting with deaf African kids, and Jack Jason interpreting Marlee’s amazement at meeting these kids. As far as Marlee’s concerned, the title should be hers, so she can carry on helping her ‘kids.’

Now it’s John Rich’s turn. Ivanka preview’s his clip, of the St Jude Childrens Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. John explains his stake in the hospital to a woman who has a very strange, snake-like, tattoo from the middle of her eyebrow, down through the skin of her nose. I think he should get the title, just for not freaking out at her strange tattoo. John admits that he’s always been a patron of the hospital, but since having his own son, it’s all so very much more real. So let’s give the title to John!

And here’s John sitting with the kids, and singing his song, “For the Kids.” Come on, give it to John! And are you ready for this? John and Marlee ‘world premiere’ the song “For the Kids.” What a coincidence! And there’s Marlee signing the whole song, along with a whole ‘choir’ of kids signing. Question. Is it a choir if you’re signing? Okay, I’m way cynical, but these questions torment me when I try to sleep at night. And it bothers me that the choir is far too well behaved.

Are you there, God? It’s me, Roxanne. Who the hell is the winner of this crazy contest? Trump calls on the celebrities, but you know he’s just gonna ignore all of their advice, because face it, they’re all losers. They were fired! Who’s gonna listen to them?

Well, John Rich is the front runner. Lisa and her breasts say they had John Rich from the onset of the contest. Marlee plays the Deaf card. Her fingers are flying, and Jack Jason can barely keep up with Marlee’s words. But John Rich has a lot to say as well, despite Mark McGrath’s blithering. Who’s the freaking winner, then?

Trump says it’s his hardest decision ever (yawn) as they’re both outstanding. He says he’s gonna do something a little bit different tonight. . And then he doesn’t! What’s up with that! Junior endears me forever when he says how impressed he was that John Rich got Trump to wear a cowboy hat on TV. You to, Junior!

It’s a tough call. Trump announces the winner, who is … John Rich. Yeah, I like him too, and I agree, without question, that he was the standout player. Through the various challenges, he was front and centre with great ideas.

So – love it or hate it .. are you looking forward to next years Celeb?