There’s been very few moments this season where anyone was having much fun, as ‘stiff’ contestants couldn’t bring themselves to lighten up, not to mention cutting down on the damn backstabbing of their teammates.
How did fun manage to get involved? With the teams originally lined up as men vs. women heading into last night’s show, it was a 5-2 player advantage for the women’s side. While I predicted that there would be a shakeup of the rosters, I didn’t expect the extent of the changes Donald Trump made this week: he realigned the teams by moving chef Curtis Stone over to the women’s side (“Tenacity”) while Sharon Osborne and Maria Kanellis joined Bret Michaels on the men’s side (“Rock Solid”).
Wow, what a world of difference – for the players and the viewing audience.
Considering Osborne’s comments in the opening moments that last week’s victory wasn’t fun because of the in-fighting and bad vibes on her team and that she didn’t want to play anymore, she pulled a major 180 when the deck was reshuffled – Sharon was beyond thrilled to be working with Bret and Maria, which was such a huge change in atmosphere for all of them.
Team Tenacity seemed to be in a better place, too, as Stone brought some fresh energy to their group. However, this week’s Project Manager, Holly Robinson Peete, was up to her usual tricks: Cyndi Lauper had to miss day one of the task to do something with Lady Gaga, and Peete wouldn’t shut up about it, whining three times in the first half hour alone about Lauper getting a ‘free pass again’ (last time this happened, Cyndi was at The White House to mark President Obama’s announcement about some hate crime legislation, something she’d been working on for many years). Considering her place in life, it’s hard to watch Peete’s ego and almost constant negativity about her fellow players – I wonder if it ever enters her mind that millions of people are watching her act like that; it certainly doesn’t leave me with any kind of good impression about her as a human being, regardless of how much she raises for charity or does for others outside of the show.
This week, the teams were charged with a fund-raising project built around a fitness club: each side had to create and perform three 30-minute workout classes while calling on their contacts to donate money to their cause – whichever side raised the most money would be the winner, plain and simple. As an incentive to creating a usable and productive work-out routine, the fitness chain involved would add $24,000 to the team that they thought did the best job.
Rock Solid came out the gate positive, focused and strong: Sharon, Bret and Maria were having so much fun building their workout brand that it was infectious for the home viewers. Big shock, I know, but they created a “Rockstar Bootcamp Work-Out,” built around stage moves and backstage moves - including air guitaring, “flashing” the rock stars, “Praying To The Porcelain God” and Bret’s “Tour Bus Thrust.” It was an all-around fun brand: Maria led the classes and everyone left with a VIP laminate to commemorate their participation.
Tenacity, on the hand, was all-business, with stiff Holly running the show. Olympian Summer Saunders created the “Guns N’ Buns” work-out along with Stone, and they both led the classes. Lauper returned on day two to work the phones and to physically bring people into the gym – her mom even participated. And a funny thing happened: Peete actually had some kind words about Lauper and her contributions to the task.
In terms of guessing a winner, this was a tough one to call, because Osborne is such a strong personality and player, while Peete is basically a professional fundraiser these days.
In the boardroom, we learned that the fitness chain preferred Rock Solid’s work-out because of the fun factor and are considering adding it to their lineup, with some minor modifications (they were a little uncomfortable with some of the moves); this score added $24,000 to the team’s total donations. While both teams were confident, each PM thought the other was going to be the winner - in the end, Tenacity raised about $207,000, while Rock Solid brought in about $130,000 (incl. the fitness chain’s addition), which meant that all monies collected went to the winning side, giving Peete’s charity almost $350,000. Showing some real humanity for a change, Peete seemed so grateful that she immediately said she’d be making a donation to Osborne’s charity.
With this week bringing in the most money raised on a single task in the show’s history, Trump was so pleased with everyone’s efforts and results that he decided not to fire anyone, so there’ll be a full house again next week.
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