‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ review: Clay Aiken kicks off finale with crisis

Did Clay win?

Sunday night marked the beginning of the end to the longest (and most competitive) season of “The Celebrity Apprentice” to date, and it was one that brought out everything from stars to big donations to even some shocking decisions. (The second part of the finale — the live part — will air next week)

With that in mind, this episode started off with a stunner from the get-go — Donald Trump deciding to keep Arsenio Hall (who was occasionally criticized for being passive and also for losing his temper) over Aubrey O’Day. It’s nothing against Arsenio (and he technically did end up winning more tasks), but Aubrey ultimately seemed to have more passion for the tasks and put herself out there more — even if she did lose a greater percentage of tasks.

With Clay Aiken and Arsenio listed as the final two, Donald then revealed a challenge — creating an advertisement and a variety show that also included a heavy fundraising component.

Team Arsenio — stacked from inception

If there is one thing that we learned from the start of this challenge, it was that Arsenio had one of the largest advantages here known to man. Not only did this challenge suit his skill set, but his win-loss record gave him the first choice of contestants. The guy had some top-notch comedians in Adam Carolla and Lisa Lampanelli, and also some fantastic fundraisers in the aforementioned duo along with Paul Teutul Sr.

Through most of the early portion of this challenge, this team didn’t have any sort of problem at all — however, there were some issues in making the ad courtesy of producing it with Magic Johnson (who was promoting his foundation, which is Arsenio’s charity) on the West Coast. As a matter of fact, Adam using his sound crew rather than his video crew for Magic’s footage caused there to be a massive problem, and the footage is pretty much unusable — at least for now.

Team Clay — complete chaos

There really were all sorts of problems when it came to Clay’s team. He didn’t have a team designed for fundraising, and he also had an absolutely terrible time finding the right location to shoot his ad. With this being said, though, Penn Jillette came up with a brilliant idea to have an ad about disability that did not focus on a child suffering from anything — that was to show that this is still a child trying to live an everyday life.

The other thing that Clay had going against him here? He had to work with people who did not really get along at all — including Aubrey and Debbie Gibson, who of course tried her best at recording a jingle to the former Danity Kane singer’s dismay. Meanwhile, Clay and Penn got along well — despite the two having their share of disagreements throughout the season.

The episode ended with Clay pretty much imploding all over Debbie in the midst of some massive stress over the music, as he was also starting to realize how much trouble he was in when it comes to fundraising and the task as a whole.

It was a rather cruel tease ultimately that the full finale was not this week — but then again, we cannot really complain about getting two more hours to watch.

From this standpoint, Arsenio seemed to have an edge until we saw the editing fiasco — but who do you think is the most likely to win?

Photo: NBC


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