Well, at least last night’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice cleared up one thing: Nadia Comaneci actually does exist. One week after she was relegated to the background by the show’s producers, the Olympic gymnast made her presence known this week, only to get the boot for having virtually no presence. Not that The Donald’s choice to fire Nadia was necessarily the correct one: Usually a challenge that failed because of poor execution would lead to the firing of someone who actually worked on the production side of things. Not this time.
That’s because the real reason the women lost was empty-belly syndrome, a malady that leads to overacting and fatuously coordinated apparel. But let’s look at the plus side of Nadia’s ouster: At least we won’t have to spend any more time reading those pesky subtitles. Because, let’s face it, if you’re watching The Celebrity Apprentice, you’d rather get a Lennox Lewis jab to the face than have to read those distracting words rolling across the bottom of the screen.
Dubious elimination aside, however, last night’s episode boasted a taskthat was an improvement over last week’s who-has-the-richest-friendschallenge. This time, the teams were instructed to use theirskills as kinda sorta celebrities to create 30-second commercial spotsfor Pedigree’s adoption drive. Hitting things professionally and/oracting opposite Danny DeVito usually doesn’t prepare you for a futurein marketing—and it gave us viewers a chance to see who actually hadthe goods and who merely had an expansive Rolodex. On the women’s side,Telemundo exec Nely Galán took the reins asproject manager, while the men chose Gene Simmons (pictured) as their leader, even thoughLennox Lewis likes cats.
While the girls chose to meet with Pedigree official to talkdirection, the boys—and by boys I mean Gene—decided to skip out on themeet-and-greets to get started conceptualizing their ad. In this littlebrainstorming session, we learned that Vincent Pastore is trulyeloquent (“Boom. Boom. Boom. Dog. Dog.Dog.”) and that Trace Adkins gets testy when it comes todefending his ideas (“YOU DON’T BUY THAT VISUAL?!”). The men ultimatelydecided to take advantage of Lennox’s size and unlikely affectionfor animals (“I like cats.”) and opted to film a spot highlighting thedichotomous image of the heavyweight champ playing with a puppy.
But before Hydra had their plan completely plotted out, they wereinterrupted by one of those annoying, nettlesome little things witharms and legs…what are they called? Oh yeah, women. Ivanka paid theboys a visit to check up on their commercial concept, much to thechagrin of Hydra’s project manager. After point-blank refusing to gointo detail about their plan, Gene asked Ivanka whether hersisterly bond with Empresario would lead her to reveal Hydra’s ideas tothe women’s team. Gene’s comments could indeedbe considered sexist, but even worse, he delivered them in that leery perv voice that he’s honed toperfection. Nnonetheless, Ivanka left without a fight—after all,being a Trump, she’s used to sexism, no?—and the men moved on to film theircommercial.
Aside from one ill-conceived plan to film a scene on the streets ofManhattan, the men’s shoot was a walk in the dog park, thanks to directorStephen Baldwin (dream big, Stephen!). And then we learned thisvaluable little nugget of information: God apparently is a Southern manwho is currently channeling his will through the voice-box of TraceAdkins. Okay, so you could say Hydra’s comparison was a bitover-the-top, but how come their commercial left me with the urge to adopt 100 puppies and listen to “I Left SomethingTurned On At Home” on repeat (God is apparently as forgetful as he isbenevolent)?
Over on the women’s side, Empresario started out with a cleverconcept, but struggled after going back in time to recruitmy entire high school drama club for voiceover work. I’ll justgive those actors the benefit of the doubt and blame nerves for their painful overacting, since you really can’t indict voiceover coach Marilu for the failure. Not only was the poor woman in charge of the actors, but she had theresponsibility of crafting the ad’s script as well. Couldn’t have hurtto pass on some of those duties to Nadia, who was left tosimply order food for the crew. Which, apparently, was beyond her capabilities. But even a bit of nourishment couldn’t salvage Empresario’scommercial, which seemed bound for trouble once post-production made itclear the ad was disjointed. Plus, I have to agree with Omarosa thatbroadcasting a photo of a dog foaming at the mouth isn’t necessarilythe best way to convince people to head to the shelters. Unless, youknow, they’re fans of Cujo.
Once Hydra finished filming their spot, Stephentook it upon himself to kick everyone out so he and Gene could work onthe ad’s post-production. Tito, however, wouldn’t stand for it, andled the rest of his teammates back into the studio looking like anelementary school bully searching for lunch money. But thegrunt force of Tito and his crew was negated byGene’s power of persuasion, and the group was once again booted fromthe production room. After seeing their ad, however, Tito backtracked, declaring he was so happy with the spot that he “went from a frown face” to a smile. Priceless.
The women, looking ready to take over for Joey Fatone’s background dancers on The Singing Bee,went into their presentation convinced of victory, and even offered upa radio spot and a proposal for Web advertising. Their video, on theother hand, wasn’t quite as TV-ready, suffering from awkwardtransitions and those distracting voiceovers. Because, you know,nothing says “adopt me” like a dog with an accent more confounding thanMadonna’s faux British drawl. Heck, a pet that sounded like Charo would’vebeen more alluring.
In the boardroom, The Donald invited
a George W. Bush impersonatorMacy’s CEO to help him with his decision (Donald Jr. musthave been too busy mixing volatile chemicals to create the world’s most powerful hair gel). Though it seemed fairly obvious that theboys would win the task—how could they not, with God on theirside?—Nely still assured The Donald that the girls would come out thevictors, even after the mogul aired the men’s superior ad. At least Empresario provided a good laugh, when Omarosa giggled watching Lennox on film, and noted: “I think you’re hot, but you’re married.” Not quite as good as Piers’ response to Stephen’s assertion that he’s worked infilm for 20 years (“Really?”), but funny nonetheless. Alas, the menwere crowned the winners, and Nely called Nadia and Carolback into the boardroom. Nadia did put up a little fightby claiming she always felt the commercial needed celebrity appeal, butback-flipped as soon as her teammates revealed that she hadn’t spokenup until after filming was complete. The Donald felt that Nadia lackeda competitive spirit, and off she went. Farewell Nadia, we hardly knew—orsaw—ye.
What did you think, PopWatchers? Did The Donald make the rightchoice? Did you ever see Lennox Lewis as a cat person? Did you, likeme, find Omarosa to be surprisingly charming this go-‘round? And finally, areyou ready to join the Church of Trace Adkins?