Celebrity Apprentice – The Finale! Clay Aiken vs Arsenio Hall

The Celebrity Apprentice winds up it’s season tonight with a battle between the Top 2: Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall! Both are mounting competing charity events in order to impress Donald Trump who will be announcing the WINNER LIVE at the end of the show!

Chat about the show here. Montavilla will be back with a recap later!


Bummer. Clay Aiken is destined to be forever the runner-up.

And the Winner Is…

As we start tonight’s festivities, Donald Trump’s secretary tells him he needs to get to the live show. Trump issues an order for the “fastest driver in the world,” signaling the inevitable joke where Marco Andretti shows up to chauffeur. It is cool to see an overhead shot of them whizzing around other cars on the NYC streets.

They arrive at the Museum of Natural History, which seems appropriate given the bizarre experiment in Darwinian capitalism that Celebrity Apprentice is

There’s a video recap of the season, heavy on celebrity check deliveries. The players have been narrowed down to Clay and Arsenio, who are both facing dramatic cliffhangers. Arsenio has footage of Magic Johnson’s ear. Clay can’t get Debbie Gibson’s cousin to show him a sketch. Who shot JR? it’s not.

We watch the two team crises unfold. Turns out Adam’s crew had two cameras (duh!) and we see full frontal Magic Johnson. Meanwhile, Clay is still trying to get a sketch out of Debbie and her cousin.

Another set of commercials with some Donald Trump interview being pimped. The real time Trump asks everyone to applaud his children, Ivanka and Eric. Don is “away.” Probably on another elephant hunt.

It’s morning and Clay finally gets some visuals from Debbie. Crisis over!

Arsenio explains the party set-up. The studio is divided by a curtained stage. Arsenio’s party is on one side, Clay’s on the other. When the show starts, they’ll pull down the curtain and combine the party into one.

Adam suggests roasting Arsenio, but Arsenio wants a “feel good” atmosphere to the show. This confuses Adam — he seems easily confused when someone tells him “no.”

Debbie’s cousin shows up with a sketch. Clay realizes they are going to be extremely pressed for time. Indeed, the entire team ends up frantically painting the wall. Clay protects his suit by wrapping himself in a large hefty bag.

Arsenio’s team prepares their space. It’s going smoothly. Nothing much else to say.

Trump introduces Victoria, George, Tia, Patricia, Lou, and Dayana — where’s Michael and Cheryl? There’s a video making fun of Lou, who has had ear surgery and can now hear without aid. He gives 110 percent by handing Trump a check for $41,000.

Trump asks the celebrities about their experiences on the show. Dayana has nothing good to say about Lisa. Victoria wishes she could have played with the men’s team. Patricia is bummed because the money she raised and lost could have built a school. George says he raised money for his charity after the show and thanks Trump.

Party time. Arsenio has a half-dozen people in line. Clay has people queueing halfway down the block. One Claymate brings a check for $20,000 — donated by dozens of his fans in order to let her attend the party. We hear about large donations from Kelly Clarkson, David Foster, and others. Meanwhile, Arsenio is getting smaller checks from comedians like Jay Leno, Eddie Murphy, George Lopez, and Jimmy Kimmel. Marco Andretti arrives with a check from his family.

Lisa hires a drag queen to be impersonate her and donate $10,000 to Clay. Then she spoils the joke by going to give him the check herself. The Drag Queen looks a little confused by all this.

Trump arrives to Clay’s party. Aubrey takes over the Trump tour as Clay looks nervous. Clay also looks… unkempt. But at least he took off the hefty bag.

Arsenio looks much sharper — and he has Whoopi Goldberg as arm candy. Everyone smiles and Arsenio finds all the effort worth it. The segment ends with Arsenio and Clay pulling down the curtain to start the show. As Clays puts it, “The Berlin Wall had fallen between our two parties.”

More players are introduced to the live audience: Adam, Debbie, Dee, Paul, Penn, Teresa, Lisa, and Aubrey (who is now blonde). Trump asks Aubrey why she was such a B, and she explains that she is Young and Competitive. But she didn’t want to hurt anyone, so she learned something from the show. “It’s a teachable moment,” she says. Okay then.

Trump shows a montage of Lisa ranting. She laughs with delight. “I’m a freakin’ mental case! I need more hormones than Chaz Bono!” When Dayana makes fun of Lisa on the video, the audience roars its approval. Dee is looking at his third surgery to heal his broken finger. But he assures Trump that he can still sign his books and cds. Paul is real, and Penn thinks Clay should win.

Clay and Arsenio start their show by talking up their charities. Adorable children play as Clay describes The National Inclusion Project. The audience laughs at the outfits in Arsenio’s ad, and applauds when Magic Johnson appears.

The comedy show starts with Adam, who describes Trump “Imagine Don King with slight better hair and a broken moral compass.” Paul comes out and insults Adam. Lisa roasts Clay by calling him gay, and Trump by talking about his hair. Arsenio closes his part of the show with a few jokes.

Clay starts his show. Debbie and Dee sing “Baby Love” together. Aubrey sings “I Will Survive” with Penn dancing like a dork behind her. Penn and Teller do a street magic act. Debbie and Dee return and sing their biggest hits. Clay finishes up by singing “The Time of My Life” with Aubrey.

We see a brief shot of Clay and Arsenio waiting backstage at the museum. They seem relaxed and happy.

There is one final boardroom. Lisa’s contribution to Clay is brought up. Adam calls it a “Claytribution.” He and Arsenio both say it reflects well on Lisa. Trump tries to get Aubrey to talk trash, but the only thing she says is she hopes Clay wins.

Trump tells them that money is not a critical factor. That’s because Clay absolutely smoked Arsenio, bringing in $301,500 to Arsenio’s $167,000.

At the museum, Trump introduces Arsenio and Clay. Arsenio is undefeated as Project Manager. Clay is more than just a singer. The audience stands to applaud them both.

Trump asks Clay if he’s worse than Simon Cowell. Clay replies that Trump knows more about business than Simon knows about music. Arsenio talks about his cousin and tears well up in his eyes. He vows to fight for her for the rest of his life.

Dee says Clay should win. Lisa would love to see Clay win, but wants Arsenio to have a talk show. Debbie is on team Clay and admits that she was really annoying. Dayana thinks they both deserve it, but she’d go with Arsenio. Teresa is loyal to Arsenio.

Because there is still time to fill, Clay sings “Lean on Me.” Arsenio joins him as the beat goes from ballad to funky. What are we calling them? Clarsenio?

More time-filling questions. Clay’s mother is here and doesn’t want to see her son lose again. Arsenio explains what he means when he said he’d dedicate his life to making Trump proud. There is another reference to Arsenio’s upcoming talk show.

The Trumplings weigh in. Ivanka says that Clay is strong. Arsenio has heart. Eric says the Clay raised more money, but that Arsenio is undefeated.

Trump reminds them that no one is a loser tonight. The winner is… (Clay sees it coming)… Arsenio Hall! Once again, Clay loses the final prize. Sigh.

Okay, now Arsenio and Clay need to go on the Amazing Race together. Maybe then Clay will finally win a damn title.

Thank you, MJ, for letting me do these recaps. Thank you everyone for reading them. I hope we can do this again some time.