Piers Morgan beats Trace Adkins to win Celebrity Apprentice; Simon Cowell gives $100K

The Celebrity Apprentice had a rocky start but quickly evolved into a ridiculously entertaining show. It’s been a decided success, relaunching the franchise and earning ratings that are “up 21 percent over last year’s” 18-49 ratings, according to Media Life, and the show is “one of very few shows this year to show improvement.”

The show’s conclusion was an entertaining two hours, although its result was both foregone and surprising, as Donald Trump “hired” self-described “evil, obnoxious, disgusting Brit” Piers Morgan instead of American country singer Trace Adkins, who kept reminding us that he was there to raise money for the Food Allergy Network because his daughter from severe food allergies. Overall, “over a million dollars” was raised throughout the season, Trump said, and he pledged an additional $250,000 to Piers’ charity, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

As Trump likes to say, he ultimately had no choice in his selection, unless he wanted to invalidate the ultimate point of the show: to raise money for charity. In the show’s final moments, Piers made a flawless case. “I won nine out of the 11 challenges you set me, more than anybody else. I raised over half a million dollars, more than every other contestant put together. I had, in your words, the biggest slaughter in the history of The Apprentice, in one episode. I also brought in the biggest and the most celebrities. So on every single business and charity fundraising checklist, I killed everyone,” he said.

In the auction, Piers raised $376,000, while Trace raised $64,000. Most of Piers’ donations, though, came from three people. Simon Cowell (who Donald Trump said was his friend) called in and bid $100,000 for a $10,000 shopping spree with Ivanka Trump, and Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick bid $100,000–twice–for Piers’ charity, and Trump announced that he’d also match text message donations from viewers up to $250,000. But Trace raised $38,000 in tickets, and Piers only sold $12,000 in tickets.

“I just didn’t beat the other side, I pulverized them on charity donations,” Piers said, and then argued with Trace about the value of those donations. Piers had a strategy, even deciding that the servers shouldn’t serve food, because that’d prevent people from getting drunk faster, and he thought loaded rich people would spend more money. Still, despite Piers’ clear win, the battle between Piers Morgan and Trace Adkins (that Trump fired Carol Alt in order to see) never materialized; instead, they even worked together.

The live finale Thursday night was kind of ridiculous, with some idiot deciding to pot up the live audience’s laughter at moments during the pre-filmed segments, which essentially gave the show a laugh track. Omarosa strutted out during the reunion like she was on a soap opera and then recited a stupid line about Piers’ teeth, while Gene Simmons appeared pointlessly from Tokyo to kiss a sponsor’s ass (“I love Kodak, my family uses Kodak products, it is a quality product”) although he did stand by his Kodak-dissing statements in an earlier episode.

Donald Trump flubbed up repeatedly, although often in unintentionally ironic ways. “You’re choking under live television, Carol,” Trump said when she confronted him about eliminating her, and of course, choked himself (“under”?). Introducing one segment, Trump said, “I want to see how these two guys react under pressure. You’re never going to make if you can’t take the pressure. Let’s take it out. Check.” I think he meant “let’s check it out.” At least he didn’t crack under the pressure of his screw-up.

Even though Trace lost, I hope a reality show producer and network give Trace Adkins and The Backstreet Boys their own show, where Trace manages the group as they tour. The group is so obnoxious and delusional about their fame that they provide non-stop entertainment. Nick Carter was talking on his cell phone and didn’t even stop his conversation as he shook hands with Lennox Lewis, acting as if he was far too busy and important to meet someone with actual talent.

Of course, the best part is when their behavior is paired with Trace’s commentary, and he didn’t disappoint. “I did a show where my stomach was hurting so bad one night that I couldn’t hardly move. I walked out on that stage and did my show, left the stage, went to the emergency room, and had 18 inches of my colon cut out that night,” he said. “And this kid can’t do a show because he doesn’t have his wheat grass juice and one of ‘em twisted his knee. God. Don’t get me started on the BSB.”

So not trumped: Trump’s ‘Apprentice’ [Media Life]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.