‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ episode 9 review: Steve Ballmer’s tribute act

On Monday night’s new episode of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Matt Iseman went full Ballmer. Never go full Ballmer.

The irony here is that Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and billionaire many times over, is a guy who tends to love high energy. He just doesn’t love it when he sees this said energy as a reflection of his own. Yet, Iseman was the one person spared from re-entering the boardroom with this task! You know you’ve got a problem when the man responsible for an impersonation that the man he was impersonating clearly didn’t love was not held as responsible too much for what went wrong.

The task – The teams were tasked with having to create an engaging fan experience during a time-out of a Los Angeles Clippers game, which to us was almost impossible. It’s like giving a lecture to third-graders about why vegetables are tasty. They just don’t want to hear it! Time-outs are when people go to the bathroom or go get in line for a hot dog or a beverage. There is a not a lot of time in which to work with here.

Ricky Williams was the PM for one task, while Lisa Leslie was the PM for the other. Ricky’s biggest issue was not that he created something that was necessarily terrible; he just created something that wasn’t special. In between the shouting and the t-shirts and the verbal hype, there wasn’t quite anything that made this different than what you would see at any point. Meanwhile, having Boy George go out there with some gospel singers to perform a Clipper anthem was unique, original, and pretty fun. Also, Lisa Leslie rapped during it! Okay, this rapping wasn’t great, but at least she put herself out there. Even Carson Kressley did by wearing quite possibly the strangest ensemble that we’ve ever seen the “Queen Eye for the Straight Guy” host don ever.

Let’s also take a minute here to discuss the terrible drum-beating that went on over whether or not Lisa should’ve touched a basketball. This was stupid. Why would any of these people in the audience care if she took a show in this moment? If she missed, she would’ve been laughed at. It wasn’t unique, and it certainly wasn’t worth the risk.

Bye-bye, Ricky – After losing the task, Ricky tried to make the case that other people were at fault. However, Brooke did a very good job of putting the impetus on him for the boring t-shirt, and that was one of the things that they were criticized for the most. Had this been the first task that Ricky lost, it’d be one thing; however, it was the second, and there wasn’t too much he could pawn off to other people. While Laila Ali was sick and could’ve done a lot more, she really defended herself her case very well in the boardroom, so much better than we saw Ricky do when they went back in. If we’re supposed to take the Governator at his word, then he apparently changed his mind on who to fire because of this. Hey, these conversations matter!

We’ll come back later with a little more of our take on the second episode (follow the link here!), but for now let’s say that this for the most part proved to be very entertaining. While creating a hype segment during a time-out is a pretty low-brow task, at least we saw the remaining players try to make the best of it.

Also, Boy George, even with missing a task, may be the favorite to win the whole thing. Grade: B.

Did Ricky deserve to be fired after this task? Let us know some of your thoughts in the comments! (Photo: NBC.)

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