Boy George really isn't happy with his keyboardist

By Dalton Ross
February 06, 2017 at 10:00 PM EST
Luis Trinh/NBC

The New Celebrity Apprentice

S8 E6
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  • TV Show
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FINALLY! This is it. This is what we’ve been waiting for all season long! No, not our final two matchup, and certainly not Arnold Schwarzenegger making a reference to his former bodybuilding career, because that takes place roughly every 10 minutes.

No, what we finally got was a truly divatastic meltdown! Sure, Jon Lovitz gave us a few celebrity diva moments when people questioned his super lame hot-chick-and-BBQ-sauce ad idea, but that was nothing compared to the off-camera star-producer exchange we were treated to this evening. Now, when it comes to favorite “reality show celebrities freaking out at producer” moments, I have a list. This most likely does not surprise you in the least. I don’t keep a list on anything remotely important, as in things I actually need to get done or accomplish in my life, but reality show celebrities freaking out at a producer? Yeah, I got a list for that.

The best, of course, comes from season 2 of Celebrity Apprentice when Joan and Melissa Rivers stormed off the set — well, it is hard to storm when one of your feet is encased in a walking boot, but you get the drift. This master moment, when Melissa threw a tirade at producers over being fired, culminated when she and Joan went into the fake elevator where fired celebrities go and you saw a moment of pure panic on Adrian the elevator operator’s face as he looked over to producers for a signal on what the hell he should do.

My second favorite wall-breaking contestant-producer interaction came on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. Not the original I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, mind you, that aired on ABC in 2003 and featured such stalwarts as Nicki Ziering (not Ian), Downtown Julie Brown, Bruce Jenner, and Cris Judd, but rather the 2009 NBC version of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here with Sanjaya Malakar, Patti Blagojevich (spouse of former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Rod!), and Daniel Baldwin (brother of two-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant Stephen!). Yes, that’s right, two different networks aired the entertainment travesty known as I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. I still can’t quite explain how that happened. And I certainly can’t explain why I watched it. But I did, perhaps in the hopes that any knowledge gained would someday come in handy.

Well, that day has finally come. That’s because No. 2 on my list of favorite wall-breaking contestant-producer interactions was when Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag threatened to leave whatever alleged hellhole producers dropped them in because one of the cast duties was to clean the porta-potty. The entire incident culminated with not just a complaint to a producer, but with Spencer insisting on calling network co-chairman Ben Silverman and then insisting, “I’m too rich and I’m too famous to be sitting with these people and cleaning up their s— in the jungle, my man. And this cast is devaluing our fame right now. I’m sitting next to VH1 comedians that I have never even seen before… I thought it was gonna be all celebrities.”

That is genius in and of itself, but this televised discussion between a D-grade reality star and a network co-chairman was far from done. “Stars of shows get treated like stars, dude,” Spencer continued. “I’m f—ing supposed to be cleaning up John Salley’s s— in a bucket? Dude! You’ve never cleaned up your own s— let alone taken John Salley’s s— to the creek, have you? Don’t throw me in the jungle and try and make me your little guinea pig torture act.” Amazing on pretty much every level, and yes, I have taken John Salley’s s— to the creek, but I don’t want to get into it.

In any event, our latest behind-the-scenes meltdown happened off camera courtesy of Boy George, and God bless him and his oversized hat collection for every single second of it. After coming up with a jingle to celebrate the joys of cruising (not that kind of cruising!), Boy George needed a professional keyboardist to make his humming a musical reality. To say the two did not exactly gel would be an understatement of epic proportions. They debated what key the song was in, with Boy humming the melody and then his hired hand repeatedly attempting to change it. Eventually, Boy just got up and went full Lovitz — walking out of the room. Where was he going? Did he need to calm himself with some Buddhist chanting or was he making a beeline for the church of the poisoned mind?

Neither! Instead he went to have words with a producer, saying the keyboardist needed to be replaced. “I can’t have a keyboard player f—ing telling me how to write my songs,” he barked. “He needs to go and I need to replace him. I can’t work with him.” He then went on to assert that that guy needed to “play the song and be quiet,” which I suppose is sending a bit of a mixed message because on one hand he is saying he wants the guy to go, but on the other he is saying that he wants him to play the song. Confusing!

And apparently the producer was a bit confused, as she suggested George go back in the room and…“No, I’m not going into the room and have a row with the guy for your pleasure!” George responded forcefully. “There’s no conversation to be had with him. I want him to get out of the room. Well, either that or I’ll just go. It’s up to you. You want me to leave the show? Then get rid of him. I didn’t choose him, you chose him.” And I’m not even printing the entire tirade. There was more, but you get the point.

NEXT: Jessica Alba Gets Honest

Some may see this as a spoiled celebrity acting like a big baby. They may see it as someone who has always gotten his way due to his fame now demanding to get his way once again or else refusing to continue on. They may see it as a narcissist putting his own needs ahead of the needs of the charity he is competing for by threatening to quit. To those folks I say… yeah, so?

Not only that, but I also say about damn time! I don’t want calm, well adjusted contestants. What’s the fun in that? Plus, let’s give Boy George a little credit. It would be a hell of a lot easier for him to just not give a crap and half-ass it, but instead he does want to win. Now, how much of that is the narcissistic need to be the best and how much of it is to win money for his charity is open to debate, but honestly, I don’t care! As long as he is having a subtitled argument with an off-camera producer, then I don’t give a karma chameleon what the real reason is.

Also, he’s right. Of course the producer just wanted to send him in there to get in another fight with the keyboard player so they could air it. That is basically the entire raison d’etre of this show — to force celebrities to get in screaming matches with random keyboardists-for-hire. That’s the producer’s job! She needed that money shot! But George called her out on it.

Anyway, Boy George is already the winner of this task as far as I’m concerned, just for that one moment of unscripted drama alone. Although we’ll need to wait until next week to see if that is actually the case. So while we wait, we may as well go over the other notable things that went down in this episode.

Jessica Alba Buys an Hourlong Infomercial
We all know that Celebrity Apprentice is all one big infomercial, right? The days of going out and attempting to sell a $1,000 hot dog are long gone. Every task is a paid advertisement for a corporation, which is the mad genius of creator Mark Burnett. This is not a complaint, mind you. It’s been this way for years. Just making sure everyone here realized that. Anyway, this time it was Jessica Alba’s turn to buy in with her Honest Company to promote their line of chemical-free products.

The teams were Brooke and Boy George vs. Laila and Matt, and the task was to create a demo to entertain and convince customers about how awesome the brand was. What was interesting is how both sides experienced clashes in terms of styles of getting things done. On Arete, Matt was bouncing creative ideas all over the place, but Laila wanted to play things more by the book. “I don’t like to be hokey, I don’t like to be silly, I don’t like to be staged,” she said, causing one to wonder if Laila has any idea what show she is even on. In fact, I’m pretty sure “Hokey, Silly, and Staged” is this season’s actual tagline.

But this contrast in styles was nothing compared to what was going on with Prima, where Boy George told advisor Patrick that Brooke was bossy while she said he was not organized and — in perhaps the most damning testimony of all — proclaimed that he was doing “fine” as Project Manager, a tribute to mediocrity if ever there was one. However, other than a bizarre sequence in which Brooke and Matt were basically sexting each other from opposing teams, it was a pretty tame task. We kind of all knew Laila would be fired regardless, and that’s exactly what happened. But Arnold wasn’t done.

Bonus Termination
This has happened before on the show, where the host fires someone near the end, then brings the group back into the Boardroom and fires someone else. Arnold did it again here by saying sayonara to Laila, summoning the final three, and then booting Brooke as well. The whole thing is super lame. I say that not due to any issues of fairness, because we all know there is nothing fair — nor should there be — when it comes to Celebrity Apprentice. No, I say it because it is just that, lame. I get that the show has been setting a land speed record for dismissals of late, desperately attempting to get down from 357 contestants to two for the finale, but at least do something in between the two firings so that there is the illusion of reasoning extending to something new on which the Governator might base his decision.

Remember back in the old days when they would have phony-baloney job interviews, and former winners or others would come in to grill the final four and the people let go were the ones who interviewed the worst — at least that was the excuse given? And that’s all we need: an excuse. Just make any sort of lame attempt at providing something to guide the host’s decision, and that way we will be able to make fun of it later. With this? Nothing. So sorry, Brooke Burke. I would wish you a happy ride off into the sunset, but I don’t know how happy it will be with your husband refusing to ride behind you.

NEXT: A Blast from the Past

New Teams for the Final Task
So it was time for the final task to begin between Matt and Boy George, and it turns out that it would all be done under the watchful eye of Arnold Donald. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Arnold Donald? Is that some sort of Cyberdyne Systems T-1000 Terminator that merges the two show hosts into one unstoppable firing machine that babbles on and on about boobs and bodybuilding? Unfortunately, no. Instead it is the CEO of Carnival Cruises, as the finalists had to produce an ad campaign and 15-minute variety show at a party. “Thank you for cruisin’ with us,” said Arnold Donald to the contestants, in what may or may not have been a super awkward pickup line.

As if Matt was not already starting at a huge disadvantage due to his not being as big a celebrity as Boy George, he also got saddled with what has to be a Celebrity Apprentice record for worst teammates (in terms of order of finish) in history. Now, I would never make the mistake of equating talent and acumen with how far you get in Celebrity Apprentice, but there is some sort of vague quasi sense that the more qualified people generally stick around longer than the less qualified candidates not named Busey. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the celebrities each finalist got.

Boy George got Laila (4th place), Carson (5th), and Porsha (8th). Matt, on the other hand, got Kyle (12th place), Carnie (15th), and Carrie (16th). That’s right — Matt got the two worst finishers of the entire season, and his best player finished four spots worse than George’s worst player. THE FIX IS IN! Not only that, but Carson is a self-proclaimed cruising expert, which, again, is not the type of thing most people would brag about, especially because it could be seriously misconstrued. “We’re here to promote cruisin’, which I know something about,” he bragged, also voluntarily sharing the information that he had been on three or four swinger cruises and that “they’re great — still have little itch, though.”

We’ve already gotten through the best part of the challenge so far with the Boy George vs. Obstinate Keyboardist cage match, but there was one other notable appearance that all Celebrity Apprentice historians — Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? — would appreciate. Yes, it was a blast from the past as Celebrity Apprentice 3 contestant Curtis Stone showed up. Judging by his presence on the cruise ship, Curtis has been lost at sea for the past seven years after being fired in the job interview portion of the show referenced earlier in this recap.

Maybe that’s where they stow all failed Celebrity Apprentice contestants — on a boat where they live out their remaining years enjoying the unlimited shrimp buffet while attempting to overcome a vague sense of nausea, accompanied by frustration at not being able to pinpoint the cause of the nausea as being either the currents, the buffet, or the fact that they once starred on Celebrity Apprentice. All I know is that I can’t escape the feeling that Curtis Stone at some point slipped Laila Ali a note that simply read, “HELP ME!!!!”

And God help us all as we have almost made it through another entire season of this show. A winner will be crowned next week. Will it be Matt? Will it be Boy George? Or is it already all of us for getting to watch two octogenarians have to listen to one of our finalists telling someone to “F— off” over the phone? Time will tell, and that time is next week. Until then: Cluck, Cluck… Splash!

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The New Celebrity Apprentice

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