Monday, April 19, 2010

Celebrity Apprentice Week 6

The lesson on this week’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice: timing is everything.

The task at hand was for the teams to ‘make-over’ an up-and-coming Country music artist, including a fashion upgrade, a new press kit, a national print interview and a showcase performance.

Led by Cyndi Lauper as Project Manager (PM), the women worked with Emily West, a likeable enough character on her own. You’d think that Cyndi’s considerable experience in the music industry would have been enough for her teammates to support her unconditionally, but no: as usual, Holly Robinson Peete whined constantly and yearned to have control, while Maria Kanellis was difficult throughout the task, continually wanting to be involved in areas others (mostly Lauper) were responsible for while blathering on about her years of experience in things outside of the wrestling arena.

Timing: If there was ever a task in this series designed for Sharon Osborne, this was it. Sharon missed last week’s project as she was off sick, and arrived this time once things were underway. Osborne’s management style would have shut down both Holly and Maria before they even had a chance to consider whining, and I’m certain the sensors would have bleeped most of the dialogue, which would have been hilarious.

The women gave West a style upgrade, with a look not too far from that of Faith Hill; in fact, when Emily walked in the door for the first time, I noticed her facial features were similar to Hill’s, even with her hair pulled back – my hunch was confirmed later in the show as Emily was the spitting image of Hill when she was sitting in the makeup chair.

The men’s team worked with Luke Bryan, an artist who seemed pretty set in his ways: even getting him to consider wearing a necklace was a challenge, but the team managed to convince him it was the right move.

Timing: Down to only three players, the men went with wrestler Bill Goldberg as their PM, leaving Donald Trump and many others to shake their heads in disbelief: why wasn’t Poison’s Bret Michaels leading the task? Bret and chef Curtis Stone deferred to Goldberg as the PM, because he hadn’t stepped up previously and they wanted to make sure Bill’s charity had a shot at getting some funds. Ironically, it was a smoke and mirrors thing: Michaels really ran the task as Goldberg ‘delegated’ his duties to Bret, which worked for, and against, the team, in the end.

Bryan seemed reluctant to change his look, but Bret managed to extend the boundaries of Luke’s comfort zone by dealing with him artist-to-artist, something Goldberg would never have been able to do. The photo shoot for the press kit looked extremely rushed as Goldberg and Stone were late in returning to the studio with wardrobe options thanks to some typical NYC traffic. Regardless, Bret pulled off some magic getting the shoot done in record time and delivering some strong results, yet again, for the team.

And I have to say something here about the team concept: throughout the series, Bret Michaels has really stood out by always placing himself in the context of the team, filling whatever role is needed to get the job done. On the women’s side, Holly and Maria are virtually always putting themselves ahead of the team with a “me first” and “I’ve done this (insert every part of every task here) before in my career” philosophy, which is really exhausting to viewers and the team – but hey, if everyone played nice, I guess there would be no real dynamic to the show. The ego is a strange and powerful thing.

Of the two teams, here’s how it looked to me: it appeared the women’s fashion upgrade was more significant, so give them a point for that; the men’s press kit was better, so give the men a point for that; Emily’s press interview was much stronger than Luke’s, so give the women a point for that…putting the women ahead by a point. I’m not sure where the showcase gig fit in with the judges approach to voting but, while both artists put on a strong performance, I have to say it’s pretty hard to beat the reaction Emily received – many in the audience were brought to tears with her song "Blue Sky," including Lauper and guest participant (and former Celebrity Apprentice contestant himself) Trace Adkins.

So, the women’s side won, leaving the men to duke it out in the boardroom. Always the team player, Michaels was hinting that he should be the one to go, while Goldberg was left to try to explain what he brought to the table as a PM once virtually everything was ‘delegated’ to Bret based on his career experience.

In the end, Goldberg was fired, leaving the men’s side with two players to the women’s five – I expect Trump will move one of the women over to the men’s side next week to try and help even things out…and IF he does, it’ll be fascinating to see if the women are given the choice to jump ship or if someone is simply assigned the role: if it’s the former, who steps up and why? Consider: Lauper might do it, just to get a fresh start without the Holly/Maria baggage; Holly or Maria might, just to get away from Cyndi; Summer hasn’t been much of a factor so wouldn’t shake things up enough for the producers, leaving Sharon Osborne as the real wild card in this deck. Hmmm…..

Both artists involved in this week’s show are donating monies earned from the sale of their singles over the course of the next month to Lauper’s charity – The True Colors Fund; both songs are posted below, so feel free to support new talent while helping a good cause.

Emily West - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) Emily West - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Blue Sky (Live from Celebrity Apprentice)

Emily West – Blue Sky (with Keith Urban) (2010)

Luke Bryan - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) Luke Bryan - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice) - Single - Rain Is a Good Thing (Live from Celebrity Apprentice)

Luke Bryan – Rain Is A Good Thing (2009)