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“The Apprentice” – Episode 308 – Bling It On

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Quite a leap on “The Apprentice” tonight. Last week, our two teams were building and managing mini golf courses for kids. This week, they were auctioning off “experiences” with some of today’s hottest musicians. Up until this episode, the challenges for Magna (Book Smarts) and Net Worth (Street Smarts) have been fairly low-key. They’ve managed fast food restaurants, run seaside motels, filmed body wash commercials, and promoted coffee. Working with celebrities’ fragile egos and appearing on live television was a huge step up, a task sure to separate the real corporate sharks from the minnows.

But before tonight’s task was even announced, it was time for a Corporate Restructuring.

The Project Manager for Magna, Kendra, was asked to select two of her team members to leave and join Net Worth. Kendra wasted no time in getting rid of Stephanie and Erin. Chris, the project manager for Net Worth, selected Tana and Craig to switch teams.

Each team had two components that had to be successfully completed: secure “donations” from their assigned musicians and produce an 11-minute live auction segment for Fuse television to promote their respective auctions.

Net Worth: Chris, Angie, Erin, Stephanie, and John

For Net Worth, John, Erin, and Stephanie made up the negotiation team. Project Manager Chris and the perpetually upbeat Angie stayed behind to work with Fuse on the TV segment. As expected, John took charge immediately. Based on his experience in the music industry (though we were never told exactly what experience he had), he decided the best donation they could get from each artist was to play a short gig at the auction winner’s house. Without much trouble, that was exactly what Net Worth managed to secure from New Found Glory, Barenaked Ladies, Fat Joe, and Simple Plan. Gene Simmons wanted something bigger, so they had him agree to bring a fan to his next CD release party.

Chris used his role as PM primarily to delegate, trusting the dealing to John and leaving many of the production decisions to Angie. Net Worth’s live segment ended up being quite professional. As a lawyer, Erin was a natural on television, and it certainly helped that they were able to secure an appearance by the drummer from BNL. Their solid television pitch brought the total for their auctions to a respectable $11,325.

Magna: Kendra, Alex, Bren, Tana, and Craig

Kendra, Tana, and Craig started off soliciting Magna’s artists, while Alex and Bren went back to the studio. After a bit of success with Lil Jon, Kendra decided that Tana and Craig could handle the rest of the negotiations on their own, and joined the rest of her team in the production room. Tana, who has willingly stepped up to the plate in every task so far, ended up hitting a home run, finagling a full week of travel and touring for the auction winners with both Lil Kim and Moby. She also scored big with Eve and Jadakiss. Even though Tana was completely out of her element in the high stakes music biz (remember, she is a Mary Kay saleswoman!), she adapted, went for it, and came through big for her team. It didn’t seem that Craig added much, but at least he was there for moral support.

Overall, Kendra did a sterling job as PM. Once she realized the Tana and Craig could handle the negotiations without her, she found another place to make herself useful. Even so, she checked in with the team in the field before and after each discussion with the artists to be sure she knew what they were going to ask for and what they eventually got. But the real star of Magna was Tana, who employed her years of sales experience to almost single-handedly bring her team’s total to a staggering $21,654.

In prior weeks, the final count had been very close for both teams. The fact that Magna nearly doubled Net Worth’s total certainly speaks to the respective strengths of the two teams.

The Boardroom

Chris was in a bit of a quandary as to who to bring back into the Boardroom with him. John was his best buddy, so he obviously didn’t want to put him under the gun. But if Chris brought Erin and Stephanie in, they’d eat him alive. Ultimately, self-preservation won out, and Chris brought John and Erin back in.

Now, the two men had a real opportunity here. They could easily have teamed up on Erin, but instead, they simply sat there and took their lumps. Well, John did anyway. His only defense for his less-than-successful negotiations was that no one else on his team had any better ideas. Chris, on the other hand, went immediately on the defensive, tearing into both George and Carolyn when they questioned his leadership.

But, ultimately, it was John who lost the task, and it was John who was fired. If nothing else, he conducted himself quite well on his way out, a stark contrast to Audrey’s self-righteous fit last week.

There’s little question that Trump made the right decision by firing John. After doing an excellent job as PM in the first week, John has been nothing but trouble for his team. Tonight, his rampant misogyny, which had only been hinted at in previous episodes, was on full display. He made it perfectly clear that he viewed Erin and Stephanie as nothing but eye candy, even going so far as to call himself their “pimp.” John’s departure is no loss to “The Apprentice,” and a big win for common decency.

Who’s Next To Go?

Once again, I was off in my prediction that Chris would be the one to go this week. Close, because both George and Carolyn clearly wanted him fired, but not close enough.

The restructuring of the teams has clearly put Magna on top, as they now have the triple threat of Tana, Kendra, and Bren. Meanwhile, Net Worth’s only truly strong player is Erin. No one will be leaving next week, as the show will only be clips and outtakes from earlier in the season. When the regular episodes resume the following week, I still think that Chris will be the next candidate to be fired.

Who’s Going To Win?

And outside chance that Kendra could keep surprising us, but I’m going to stick with my pick for four weeks running now: Tana.

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About Nick Danger

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    From his attitude, John’s experience in the music industry must be pimpin’ the groupies. He sucked so bad.

    Chris is too rude for corporate circles. He’s next

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/08/03/232849.php Rodney Welch

    Chris really impressed me. No one has ever stood toe to toe with George and Carolyn like that and survived; and I don’t recall Trump ever going against the advice of BOTH of his stalwart henchmen. Trump loves a fighter, and fighting is what saved Chris. He could have easily lost if he had just caved, sat there and said “Yes, yes, it’s my fault,” but instead he fought for his life and won, even at the point of losing his cool. The right decision was made, too, because Chris couldn’t do both jobs at once: negotiate with the stars and meet with the network people. Once that point came across, John was completely vulnerable. And, as we have all realized by now, John is a jerk. (Didn’t you love the way Gene Simmons just cut his balls off? There’s a lesson to be learned there: if you’re going to deal with celebrities, do NOT get overly familiar. They can smell that shit a mile away.)

    George is a smart guy. He didn’t know one thing about those rappers, but he clearly knows how business deals are made.