'The Celebrity Apprentice' recap: 'Universal Wizards'
We always knew it would come to this. For weeks the Celebrity Apprentice final two seemed etched in stone, which is to say, Eric Trump’s hair. Leeza vs. Geraldo! Resistance was futile. It was always going to be them. It didn’t matter how many tasks Geraldo lost in a row or how many times Leeza politely refused to get drawn into debates and discussions regarding other contestants’ menstrual cycles—the two veteran talk show hosts were on a crash course for the title of Celebrity Apprentice which, in the grand scheme of things, means… absolutely nothing. (That $250,000 check for charity that comes with it, however, is a nice perk.) Let’s go to a tale of the tape to see how these two titans match up.
Known for: Sunny disposition; hosting Entertainment Tonight and Leeza
Fun Fact: Worked alongside original Apprentice champ Bill Rancic on something called America Now
Positives: Affable, intelligent, creative, riding an incredible six-project winning streak
Known for: Mustache; Rose-tinted glasses; Al Capone’s vault; hosting on Fox News
Fun Fact: Has been known to tweet out semi-naked pictures of himself on occasion
Positives: Easily raised the most money this season. He also calls Donald Trump “Boss” a lot. Donald Trump likes being called Boss.
Negatives: Lost five projects in a row
We’ll see how it all shakes out, but the battle was officially joined this week. So let’s hop to it and break down the penultimate episode of Celebrity Apprentice!
And Then There Were Two
Since Trump fired half of North America last week, we were left with just three contestants—Leeza, Geraldo, and Vivica. But before they could celebrate, the phone in their suite rang and it was the always radiant Amanda the phony baloney receptionist calling the trio back into the ballroom. “At least it’s not Vladimir Putin,” said Geraldo. Okay, can we all just agree that if it had been Vladimir Putin, then that would have been the best Celebrity Apprentice twist of all-time? But why would the president of Russia be keeping tabs on Celebrity Apprentice anyway? And in real time, no less, before the season even aired? Is Adrian the elevator operator actually a KGB spy? (And don’t try to tell me the KGB disbanded after the dissolution of the USSR. Are you honestly that gullible?!?) Did Putin want to weigh in on who may have stolen Vivica’s phone and tweeted out about menopause? Or is he going to be the guy who does that weird interview-the-final-three-celebrities task which always leads to the last firing?
None of the above it turns out, as the final three all went back to the Boardroom so Trump could fire Vivica. I guess it was kind of weird the way Vivica admitted that Leeza was better than her, but A) It was true. And B) She probably knew the choice was already made anyway, so why bother fighting it? So Vivica was indeed fired and then took the long elevator ride of doom (although, once again, you eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed she never pressed the elevator call button—although you probably didn’t notice because I am the only one obsessed enough to freak out over such things that in the grand scheme of things make no difference whatsoever… while at the same time making all the difference in my book).
NEXT: Let’s all go to Orlando…
Meet The New Teams
So the dynamic duo was then given their final task: to produce a 90-second commercial and sell vacation packages for Universal Orlando Resort—conveniently also owned by the same company that owns NBC—and then fly back and present that commercial at a red carpet event here in NYC. I have to say, as soon as I heard of this task I got supremely jealous. I looooooove theme parks and Universal Orlando is da bomb. In fact, I had the pleasure of disappearing into track 9 ¾ on my way to the Hogwarts Express just a few months ago.
So while much of my attention was focused on wishing I were the one galavanting down to Orlando on a Citation X business jet (whatever that is), the rest of me was dying to find out which players would be brought back to assist on the final task. In the old days, the final two would do a schoolyard pick ‘em to assemble their teams. At some point, producers took that power away and just assigned players as they saw fit—and that always meant a finalist having to deal with someone they either clashed repeatedly with, someone completely useless, or both. So imagine my surprise when we got down to Florida and Kevin Jonas was there waiting… on Leeza’s team! I was so sure they would force him to work with Geraldo. Not only that, but Leeza also got Brandi and Johnny—perfectly pleasant and seemingly semi-competent teammates. What has happened to the Apprentice I know and love?!? This squad appeared to be waaaaay too well-oiled for my liking.
Geraldo’s team was at least a little better—which is to say, more dysfunctional. Now clearly a golden opportunity was missed by not forcing Vivica and Kenya to work together again. We indeed got Vivica, but no Miss Gone With The Wind Fabulous. On the plus side, however, we did get the return of two people Geraldo experienced chafing with—and I promise that is the last time I ever use the words “Geraldo” and “chafing” in the same sentence. I just took all of us to an unholy place, and for that I am sorry. Anyway, Lorenzo and Ian were back. Geraldo tried his best to break the tension by doing some thumb-hand-touch-shake-reset move that only made things super awkward for us viewers at home. Take a look and see for yourself. And yes, he called Ian a “doll.”
Less Work, More Play
My fear of rapid-fire efficiency on Team Leeza luckily did not come to fruition thanks to Brandi and Johnny. Freed from the shackles of competing for themselves and their charities, the duo decided to treat their trip to Universal Orlando like… well, a trip to Universal Orlando. Vacation time! While location-scouting with Leeza and Kevin, the pair split off to go score some hot dogs and beers. More disconcerting than that, however, was the news that Kevin used to be put on a leash at amusement parks! Dude, I don’t care how practical it was so that you and your siblings could not run away from your parents and get lost—I refuse to stand idly by and not make fun of you for that. It’s just not gonna happen! The weirdest part about Kevin’s admission, though, was that he did not seem even slightly embarrassed about it—just acting that it was the most natural thing in the world. You have a kid, you’re at an amusement park—you put him on a leash! I mean, who doesn’t, right?
Am I off base here? Have any of you out there ever been “leashed” or put your kids on a leash? It sounds positively horrifying. Anyway, I need more intel on this immediately. Also, first one to send me a picture of the Jonas brothers all leashed up earns my undying admiration and respect.
Anyhoo, back to the matter at hand. Later, after being sent out to buy props from the Universal store for their video, Brandi and Johnny decided, why work on the task and help guarantee a quarter of a million dollars for Leeza’s charity when we can go ride roller coasters instead? (Okay, so maybe the leash isn’t such a bad idea after all.) Off they went to the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket coaster, and I am sooooooo glad they did because it gives me the perfect excuse to further embarrass my EW Morning Live (SiriusXM, channel 105) radio producer Tim Johnson by showing you this hilarious video of us on said ride where he does something bizarre with his mouth that cannot be explained by either logic nor science. He claims he was trying to wipe away tears on his face by shaking it, but let’s just say the end result was less than becoming. (Be sure to watch the slow-motion replay at the end.)
So, yeah, they just basically completely hosed Leeza to have some fun in the sun. “My boobs look really big,” remarked Brandi after seeing herself on the roller coaster. DAMMIT, APPRENTICE, GET BRANDI GLANVILLE BACK ON A ROLLER COASTER—STAT!
NEXT: Geraldo as Harry Potter?
The Wizarding World of Geraldo Rivera
While Leeza was busy booking Olivia Newton-John for her party (get your Xanadu on, people!), Geraldo was coming up with the theme for his commercial. As far as I can tell, Geraldo’s theme was for parents to completely ditch their kids “and the kids would go with me to this magical world where they’d have to be brave. They would have a great time.” Show of hands: Any parents willing to leave their kids alone with Geraldo Rivera so he can take them to a “magical world”? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
But wait! Things got even weirder. At one point, Geraldo was going to play an investigative reporter in the ad because “I’m a very familiar figure to many Americans.” But then he reconsidered and said he would play… Harry Potter himself!!! (Because clearly he looks just like him.) Okay, that’s not really fair. I shouldn’t judge like that. Let’s check out Geraldo’s spell-casting ability and see if he’s up to the task.
Ummmmmmmmm… okay, so Geraldo as Harry may be a bit of a stretch. Besides, let’s be honest—Rivera is soooo Slytherin. But our furry finalist was not done with his magical theme. While trying to book a singer for their party, Geraldo came up with the brainstorm that, “You know what we may have to do? We may have to sing ourselves. Maybe we all come out as wizards.” Lord, I don’t ask for much. I prayed for the Yars Revenge game cartridge on the Atari 2600 for Christmas back when I was a wee lad and you totally hooked me up. I have never forgotten that. That was a rock- solid move on your part. However I am hesitant to ask for favors because, you know…starving children and all. Famine, war, Ebola—the point is, you have your hands full. I get that. So I just kind of chill in the background and do my thing. What I’m trying to say here is that you know I wouldn’t come to you with something unless it was super, duper important. So with that it mind: Lord, please, please, please have Geraldo Rivera, Ian Ziering, Vivica Fox, and Lorenzo Lamas sing while dressed up as Wizards at their red carpet event. Honestly, this whole season may just be a waste without it. Do this for me and I promise to stop obsessively counting the pairs of gold scissors on Amanda’s desk. Deal?
That prayer may have been for naught, however, because who knows if Geraldo will even have an ad to show at his event? That’s because he hit an early speed bump when they could not find the kids assigned to accompany Geraldo on his “magical Journey.” (Maybe the parents had second thoughts or the Department of Family Services got involved somehow.) This led Geraldo to yell at Lorenzo that he was now “in charge of every shot,” which I kinda thought Geraldo was being that he is the Project Manager and it’s his final task and all.
Either way, we are off to finale week, everyone! Who will win? You figure it has to be Leeza, who was so dominant all season long. But, as previously pointed out, Geraldo sure does call Trump “boss” a lot. That’s like some Ninja stealth mode subliminal messaging action Geraldo is employing right there. Whatever the result, the finale is sure to be an event of epic proportions filled with bombast and lots of hair products—and that’s just on the Trump side of the Boardroom!
Okay, enough of my nonsense and on to your nonsense. What was your favorite absurd moment from this latest episode? And who do you think should and will win? Hit the message boards to let us know, and for more Celebrity Apprentice inanity and insanity, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And so we end our latest recap the way we end all Celebrity Apprentice recaps—with the immortal words of season 2 champ Joan Rivers: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!