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Clay Aiken Weighs in on Amendment 1

]Clay Aiken weighs in on Amendment One

Updated at 10:25 PM today

Fred Shropshire

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Raleigh singer Clay Aiken took a stand against Amendment One to a national audience Wednesday night on CNN.

Aiken, who is gay, said he was concerned that North Carolina voters passed the amendment, which defined marriage as a union between a man and women.

Aiken said a majority of the voters have essentially written discrimination into the state's constitution but he believes voters will overturn it in the near future. He also lauded the President Obama for coming out and supporting gay marriage Wednesday.

Aiken said Mr. Obama's support for gay marriage shows equality in the Tar Heel State is important to him."He's coming out and speaking up about something that obviously only has 40 percent support from North Carolinians," said Aiken. "So, it's very brave of him."

"I think that speaks to his character a lot," said Aiken. "You know, it's not all about politics. It's about what's right."

The president's stance comes the day after voters overwhelmingly passed Amendment One 61 to 39 percent. Only a handful of counties including Aiken's native Wake County voted against it.

"He's the first president to make such a stance and I think it's indeed a sad day for our country," said Amendment One supporter Pastor Tim Rabon, of Beacon Baptist Church.

Rabon said it's a morality issue -- a clear stand for righteousness.

"Very pleased that our state took a stand for the Lord's definition of marriage," said Rabon.

Rabon said cries of the amendment harming children, women and domestic partnership benefits aren't true.

"Even the amendment itself, the second sentence guaranteed the right to have private contracts between parties," said Rabon.

However, new opposition is already popping up.

In Durham Wednesday, several same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses.

State House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican who helped push the amendment, predicted voters would overturn it in 20 years.

Aiken believes the state is more progressive than that.

"Speaker Tillis is right," said Aiken. "It will be repealed. It'll probably be done a little faster than he thinks it will."

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mtv.com

Clay Aiken, President Obama Angered by North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban

May 9 2012 9:11 AM EDT 2,714

Clay Aiken, President Obama Angered By North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban

'In general, we have always been a state that takes responsible steps and this is an example ... of the state taking a very irresponsible step,' says Aiken of the ban.

By Gil Kaufman

The entertainment industry reaction to North Carolina's constitutional ban on gay marriage was swift, with everyone from President Obama to "The Ides of March" actress Evan Rachel Wood and season two "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken speaking out against the vote.

"The thing that affects everyone, whether it's same-sex couples or opposite-sex couples who have children, is unless they are married opposite-sex couples who are living together or who have children run the risk of losing health insurance for the child if they are not married," Aiken, who is the openly gay father with a young son, told CNN on Tuesday as the vote was taking place.

Aiken said the thing that is "deceptive" about the amendment is that it restricts domestic partnerships and civil unions (for straight couples as well), despite polls that show that the majority of North Carolinians support those kind of unions; gay marriage was already banned in the state before Tuesday's vote.

"North Carolina ... has a history of being a state that takes deliberate steps," he said, noting that it was the last Southern state to secede from the Union during the Civil War. "In general, we have always been a state that takes responsible steps and this is an example, the only example in my lifetime, of the state taking a very irresponsible step."

The new amendment states that, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." Voters approved the amendment by a 61-39 percent margin, making North Carolina the 31st state to vote in favor of a constitutional amendment seeking to defend the traditional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union.

Aiken noted that the constitutional amendment is redundant, since the state already bans gay marriage and noted that even the Republican leader of the North Carolina general assembly believes it won't stand. Supporters pushed for the amendment because they thought it was necessary to fight off any future legal challenges.

The singer also said he continues to be frustrated to hear President Obama say that his stance on gay marriage is "evolving," but that he was excited to recently hear Vice President Joe Biden come out in support of gay marriage. Following the vote, Obama said he was "disappointed" by the results, with a spokesman saying it was discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

Evan Rachel Wood posted a series of tweets on Tuesday decrying the action. "Just bent over on set and cried over this outcome," the openly bisexual actresswrote. "I hope my children see a more peaceful and tolerant world. I hope we will be heard ... If you choose to stay in the dark ages you will never grow, never fully love, and never live your life to its full potential. I will never give up my right to love. Not for any religion. Not for any god. To give that up means giving away our soul. And your soul was a gift from God."

Also weighing in against the action were comedians Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman, as well as Scissor Sisters singer Jake Shears and actress Roseanne Barr, who urged movie studios to "withdraw your productions from NC!"

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The Celebrity Apprentice Season 5 : Conference Call with Donald Trump, Arsenio Hall, Aubrey O'Day and Clay Aiken

The Celebrity Apprentice Season 5: Conference Call With Donald Trump, Arsenio Hall, Aubrey O'Day and Clay Aiken

Posted on 05/09/2012 by Todd in The Celebrity Apprentice and Cast Interviews

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by Todd Betzold

The Celebrity Apprentice started out with the largest cast ever this season...18 celebrities working, not sleeping and arguing their way through each weekly task. After all of that, we have seen 15 celebrities given the boot from Donald Trump...that leaves us with three celebrities on the verge of making it to the final task...Arsenio Hall, Aubrey O'Day and Clay Aiken. Today, Trump and the three finalists talked to reporters on a conference call about their charities, who surprised them this season and much more.

Q. Who from the show, including the ones that have left, have you learned the most from and what did you learn?

A. Aubrey: In prior seasons, I really enjoyed watching Marlee Matlin on the show. I thought she was very sincere and kind and a very determined worker. I also liked Joan Rivers because she made the show watchable and exciting. The female I love on this show is hands-down Lisa Lampanelli. She's the perfect blend of woman...she's funny...you know, I experienced a woman on-camera and off-camera. I spent more time with her off-camera than on-camera and I grew to fall in love with her. I think she has this enormous heart and she's so smart. I don't shy away from brilliant women...I enjoy them the most and I love to surround myself with them because I don't think you can get better by surrounding yourself with weaker, so I love to be around strong women and I saw her an my competition in this show and I couldn't wait to be around her every day to see what we could come up with next.

Trump: I thought Aubrey was going to say Dayana Mendoza (laughter).

Arsenio: I actually have to agree with Aubrey about Lisa. I got to work with her, not as long and I don't have as personal a relationship with her as Aubrey does, but I have to agree with a lot of the things she said. Lisa Lampanelli is a whole lot of woman. My second favorite female on the show is probably Clay (laughter). Its Dayana...she is really special in her own way and I really love her.

Clay: Holly Robinson Peete is someone I have watched in seasons past and had a lot of respect for. As far as learning from people on this show, I have to say honestly it's hard to be around Penn Jillette and not learn something. He's brilliant mind in every situation, regardless of our personal relationship, he's a genius...there's really no other way to describe than how intelligent he is...though I wasn't always a sponge for the information he had to give, he definitely has a lot to impart.

Q. Were you surprised by what you heard from John and Marlee? And you said it was your choice, so did they choose someone else?

A. Trump: No, I think they were pretty straight-forward. They respected certainly all three that are here, otherwise they wouldn't be here. They had some negatives to say, but they had a lot of respect for the three we have right now on the phone. No, I was surprised at how tough John Rich was...he was pretty tough, but they had a lot of respect for the three people that are on the phone and I'm not surprised by that.

Q. Even with all that happened throughout the season, how do you feel about Aubrey forcing you to raise your game?

A. Arsenio: You can never be angry at someone who forces you to raise your game, to quote you...you can't be mad. I think if you take to great athletes...take for instance Magic Johnson, whose foundation I played for...Magic Johnson absolutely loved and hated Larry Bird for exactly the concept you're speaking of.

Clay: I don't think you could say it any better than that. One of the great things...Aubrey is freakishly intelligent...sorry about the word freakishly, but she probably is (laughs). She's probably one of the smartest people on the show and she does...Aubrey and I have talked since the taping has finished about in many ways a lot of people, especially me, felt threatened by her because she was just that good. I think for so many people on the show, we knew from the beginning she was going to be the toughest competition...we knew from the beginning that she's the one we had to beat. So, I agree with Arsenio completely...Aubrey is someone who came on day one and planned on winning and she worked it all the way through and she really became the person to beat from day one.

Q. Can you talk about leaving the show and why you decided to return?

A. Aubrey: First of all, I want to say thank you to Arsenio and Clay...that was very kind what you just said. I walked away from the show because I was put in a situation that was uncomfortable and unfamiliar, in regards to this specific show. Sometimes it's best to walk away from something because you can never take your words back and once you said them, for me, apologies are a difficult thing because I'm an actions speak louder than words kind of girl and it's easy to apologize, but it's much harder to show that you are sorry. So, I think that for me I always try to, if I don't have the best solution at hand right away, to walk away and find what will work for me. I think the one thing I've had in this industry consistently is the ability to go to sleep at night and not hate myself and I don't know that many people in this industry are able to do that. So, the one consistent thing, whether I get fired by Diddy or fired by Trump or have things go my way or not go my way, I want to go to bed at night and love who I am. So, sometimes that means walking away before coming back or before responding.

Q. If you do make it to the Final 2, is there someone you want on your team more than anyone else and why?

A. Aubrey: I can say the one person I want on my team, hands down, is Lisa Lampanelli and then you know also, I would like to have Dayana Mendoza on my team because I got the chance to work with her in the beginning and I understand her much better after watching this season and I would love to have the chance to work with her again.

Arsenio: You know who I would love to work with? Penn Jillette...I kind of idolize the guy, always have. You know, I was a magician as a kid, so Penn and I had a lot of cool things to talk about throughout our downtime in the van and I'd love to work with him because he does so much...he gives you so much when it comes to our specific situation.

Clay: I agree with Arsenio on Penn, which would surprise a lot of people, but he is a brilliant mind. Then I think I want to arm wrestle Aubrey for Lisa...since I got a chance to work with her in the last few tasks, I really have a lot of respect for Lisa. She plays the game very well and very toughly, but she is very brilliant...I may have to fight both of them for those people.

Arsenio: I would love to work with Paul again because you never know when you're going to need a motorcycle (laughter)...I just want to put that in.

Q. Mr. Trump, what surprised you the most while filming?

A. Arsenio: Probably looking and seeing Aubrey's nipples (laughter).

Aubrey: First of all, he asked that to Mr. Trump. Second of all, my nipples were not showing...that's a damn conspiracy (laughter).

Arsenio: Whatever conspiracy Teresa started, I'm about to tag my wagon onto (laughter).

Clay: I think that was for Mr. Trump.

Arsenio: Oh sorry, I guess I should have done my Trump voice (laughter).

Trump: Well, they gave good answers (laughter).

Q. What made you choose the charity you are playing for and what is one thing you want people to know about it?

A. Aubrey: My charity is GLSEN, which is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight EducationNetwork. You know, I have worked with so many charities over the years with traveling around the world it's such a difficult choice...out of all the choices I had to make on Celebrity Apprentice, choosing my charity was the most difficult because there are so many people in need and because there are so many people that could benefit from all the tasks and the final presentation. So, I really chose GLSEN because they do so many wonderful things, but more importantly, they are not as big of an organization but the thing that they represent is huge and very relevant among society, so I wanted to be able to give them a bigger platform throughCelebrity Apprentice.

Arsenio: My charity is The Magic Johnson Foundation...I've been involved with it for 20 years, almost 21 years. I'm sure everyone knows how I first got involved with in it. It was something Earvin wanted to do when he announced himself HIV+ and I was on the ground floor of that. It made this show perfect because it was something I really loved.

Clay: I was a special ed teacher before I went on Idol and a lot of the students I taught during the school year...and I ran a summer camp during the summer at the YMCA and when I get there in the summer, a lot of the kids I taught during the school year were not allowed to come to the summer camp because summer camp after school programs don't necessarily have the resources and the materials and the education and the training for staff in order to work with kids with disabilities and that frustrated me, so I started the organization that I'm playing for...it's called The National Inclusion Project and we train extracurricular activities, summer camps, soccer camps...recreational activities that don't usually have the ability to include kids with disabilities. We provide them resources and training and whatever they need in order to be an inclusive environment. Kids with disabilities know when they are being left out and it's not fair to them, so it's kind of a crossroads of my life before I started becoming a quote/unquote celebrity and now with this new job I get a chance to still have access and still do the type of work that I did before, so that's why I'm playing for The National Inclusion Project.

The Celebrity Apprentice airs Sundays at 9/8c on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

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"The Celebrity Apprentice" Review: Sizing Up the Final Three

'The Celebrity Apprentice' Review: Sizing Up the Final Three

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

final%20three.jpg

1

EmailIt's almost hard to believe that about 14 weeks ago, 18 celebrities were vying for the title of The Celebrity Apprentice. I mean, do you remember Tia Carrere andAdam Carolla? Yeah, neither do I. And who thought after two weeks that Dayana Mendoza and Teresa Giudice would last as long as they did?

Through all the competitions, the boardrooms, the money and yes, the fighting, these three celebs have at least maintained their consistency and are one step closer to the money for their charity and ultimate bragging rights. But who will be the last celebrity standing? Let's see what each has to offer:

Clay Aiken

Record as project manager: 1-1

Strengths: It's hard not to like Clay Aiken. Even when he's being the "bad guy," like he was with Penn Jilletteand Dayana Mendoza, he still comes off as a respectable guy. He's an excellent communicator and manages people well.

Weaknesses: Aiken's been called more of a follower than a leader, although he adamantly argued against being a follower when interviewed by John Rich. He also doesn't seem very skilled at handling stressful situations -- he isn't good at coming up with solutions in a timely manner and instead defers to others. And because he is so nice, Aiken always seems to focus too much on playing peacemaker rather than executing the best results.

Arsenio Hall

Record as project manager: 2-0

Strengths: Of the remaining three, Hall's raised the most money at $105,000, and is also the only one to have not lost as project manager. He's been praised countless times by the judges for his in-person presentations, and he's very comfortable speaking and performing in front of people.

Weaknesses: When he gets mad, Hall doesn't just get mad -- he blows up. His tirades have mostly been directed at known nemesis Aubrey O'Day. Although he was sincere in his apologies, Hall called her names that shouldn't be directed at a woman, let alone when the cameras are rolling.

Aubrey O'Day

Record as project manager: 1-1

Strengths: No matter what, O'Day is always full of ideas. She's also a problem solver and thinks quickly on her feet. Whether her ideas are executed well or not, she's a risk taker who's always thinking in terms of the company and the audience.

Weaknesses: She's far too bossy and has been known to seize control of projects, not knowing when to lead or when to follow. This means no one is willing to work for her. O'Day also loves taking all the credit when the project is going well, but always finds a way to defend herself when things go wrong, instead of taking responsibility for her actions.

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Clay Aiken Q&A: "American Idol" Star Could Win "Celebrity Apprentice"

Clay Aiken Q&A: 'American Idol' star could win 'Celebrity Apprentice'

Submitted by brookecain on 05/11/2012 - 19:36

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Raleigh native and current Durham residentClay Aiken, a runner-up on the second season of "American Idol," is currently a favorite (at least by the way I call it!) to win the top spot in this season's "Celebrity Apprentice" show on NBC.

Clay's time on the show has served him -- and his charity -- well (he is playing to earn money for The National Inclusion Project, a charity he helped form). Viewers this season have discovered that Clay is pretty proficient at a lot of things besides singing and acting. For many of the tasks he and his teammates have been charged with, Clay has written, produced, directed, managed and designed. And he wowed us during one project with his puppetry skills -- skills he said he learned attending Vacation Bible School while growing up in Raleigh.

Earlier this week I got a chance to talk to Clay by phone about his experiences on the show. The interview is below. "Celebrity Apprentice" airs this Sunday night at 9 on NBC, and the season finale will air next Sunday at 9.

Warm TV: How do you compare your experiences on "American Idol" to "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

Clay: It's almost apples and oranges. "American Idol" was stressful in its own way because, of course, I didn't want to be insulted on national live TV, and I had to perform and could get voted off every week. That's about the only similarity. The differences are that "American Idol" is something I knew how to do. I'm comfortable with singing. It is my wheelhouse. And "American Idol" is very much an isolated competition. I never really competed against Ruben [studdard], against Kim Locke, against anybody on that show. I was always competing with myself. I knew I needed to do the best that I could do that week and I needed to pick a song and sing it as well as I could, and choose a song that was going to show me off for the week. And I never needed to know what Ruben was doing to try to beat him.

"Celebrity Apprentice" is completely different. It is the opposite of isolated. Because in addition to having to work as a team, I worked with Arsenio [Hall], I worked with Aubrey [O'Day], I worked with Lisa [Lampanelli] and Paul Teutul and everyone, and you have to work together as a team. And you have to succeed at something together as a group, which is obviously different than "Idol." At the same time, you have to do better than the other person. At times you have to say that this person didn't do as well as me because of this, that and the other.

We saw a few weeks ago where I was project manager and lost the Success by Trump display challenge. In that task after we lost I had to turn around and say that Dayana [Mendoza] and Penn [Jillette] should be fired instead of me. That's not really in my nature. I mean, obviously, we all have moments on the show where we lose our temper and we just can't put up with crap anymore, and I'm happy to snap at somebody. But it's not in my nature to have to talk bad about someone. And one of the things you didn't see in that particular boardroom -- the boardrooms last for hours -- Dayana and Penn and I were in there for about an hour, and 50 minutes of that was spent with me trying to get Dayana fired, believing Dayana should be the one to go home versus Penn. And it wasn't until I sort of realized, 'Okay, there's no way he's going to fire Dayana, I can just tell,' that I needed to change my target and I had to pick Penn. Which, I have a lot of respect for Penn and I think he's great at this and I think he's very intelligent, but I had to kind of put that aside and think 'You know what, even though I think he's smart and I think he's an asset to the team, I don't want to go home.' And I didn't have to do that on "Idol."

So in addition to the obvious, which is, this is not something I'm necessarily known for being good at -- not singing -- it was a lot more competitive than "Idol" was and I'm not, despite my track record of being on two nationally-televised competition shows, I'm not a very competitive person. It's not in my nature to really have to go after somebody.

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Warm TV: When doing tasks, did you get a lot of help behind the scenes from assistants or did you have to do all that work yourselves?

Clay: Oh no, you have to do it all. The only help we get, if there's any help whatsoever, is right when we get our task there's about 20 minutes not filmed where we're given sort of a dossier and told what the task will entail and what benchmarks we need to hit. We don't get any help hitting those benchmarks, we don't get any help with ideas, we don't get any help with anything. The only reason I say that's help is that on the dossier it might say, 'You have to have any printed materials in by 7.' Which in some instances should clue us in, 'Okay, we really need to print something -- what could it be?' We really had to fly blind for everything. . . . But 99.9% of all of those tasks are done by us. And you're not really even supposed to call out for help for anything. So we really have to do it internally. Once in awhile there will be a task where they'll say, 'Okay, you can call out and call your friends to come and model inside your windows if you want to.' When we did that window, I called a friend in New York to get some twins -- I knew some people from doing Broadway -- have a few people call and say 'Can you find me some twins?' But almost all the time you are on your own in that room. In that war room, sort of trapped in.

Warm TV: How many hours a day did you work?

Clay: There were short days that lasted 13 hours. And then there were longer and more average days that lasted up to 17-18 hours. Call times were usually around 5:30 a.m. and we'd prepare ourselves mentally not to be home until 10 or 11.

Warm TV: So, exhausting.

Clay: Especially that first week or two. Then you really sort of get used to no sleep. And it was six days a week so we had Sundays to hibernate. Sunday I would sleep till 3 and Arsenio and I would buddy up and walk over to Whole Foods to get something to eat, bring it back to the hotel and fall asleep again.

Warm TV: We know you formed a tight bond with Arsenio Hall, but tell me about some of the other friendships you made on the show.

Clay: I think most of the people on the show I'd be able to call a friend. Most of them, we won't say all of them. I've stayed friendly with everyone. I knew Debbie Gibson beforehand and so we became closer and I think that's a friendship I'll keep forever. Lisa Lampanelli, surprisingly to a lot of people, I really bonded with her and doing last week's task just the two of us togethe,r really made it even better for us, because it was really just a breeze working with her. And she's a brilliantly smart woman who just played the game in a way that most people probably wouldn't have chosen to play it. But she played the game the whole time. So I became friends with her.

I live here in the Triangle so I don't get the chance to hang out with folks that often, but when I go to New York I'll certainly call Lisa, and when I'm in L.A., Arsenio and I try to get together. And Debbie and I will try to get together. So I think I'll try to maintain friendships. Dee Snider, another great person who I was extremely surprised I've become friends with, but pleasantly surprised. I will say that this was an experience that brought people together more than "Idol" in many ways. Even though you see the fighting and screaming, we're all working toward a common goal most of the time. With "Idol" it was very isolated. I became friends with Ruben because we lived together for so long, but there were people who were on my season of "Idol" who I haven't spoken to in ten years. And I don't know that that would be the case with this show.

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Warm TV: Did things continue to be awkward between you and Penn Jillette after your confrontation on the show, or did that blow over?

Clay: I think things will always be awkward between myself and Penn Jillette. I have to say I like him, but Penn and I are very different people. I used to say I think we didn't get along because we were too much alike. And since the show I have realized, we are not alike! He is a brilliant brilliant brilliant mind. I think he's very intelligent, he is very personable, he is a very nice guy. He doesn't have a malicious bone in his body. He really does not. I believe that now. But you know, sometimes water can be good for you and olive oil can be good for you, but they are not good for each other! And I think we have that sort of personality sometimes. And Penn is a person I've talked to outside of the show more than many others. We do make an effort, both of us, to try to remain friendly with each other. And I think we both would like to stay friendly with each other. But it's just one of those relationships where you really like the other person, but there's no love connection.

Warm TV: Is there anything you can say about Aubrey O'Day that would convince me she's not evil?

Clay: [Long pause. Deep breath].

Warm TV: Long pause?

Clay: You are welcome to type "long pause" there! Aubrey plays the game in the way she believes it is necessary to win. And she is very successful with it. It is a TV show. And although Penn will say over and over that I came from a reality show, I didn't come from a reality show. "Idol" is not a reality show, "Apprentice" is. And Aubrey has come from reality shows -- Aubrey, Teresa [Guidice] and Paul have come from reality shows, very different from "Idol." And they know if you want to be successful, you've got to make the producers need you to some extent. And so Aubrey realized that part of this show is arbitrary. Mr.[Donald] Trump gets to choose who he wants. And since he is the executive producer of the show, a lot of times he's gonna side with -- in a tie -- he might side with the person who is going to give him better TV. No one can say Aubrey O'Day does not give good TV.

I think the difference between Aubrey and myself, and where she may have miscalculated -- and granted, Aubrey isn't fired yet so she hasn't miscalculated too much -- the difference between the way she played it and the way I played it, was I understood the producers needed something salacious every once in awhile. I didn't want to be boring, you know what I mean? So every once in awhile I'd make a comment that was a little bit funny or a little bit salacious or maybe mean. But I'd do it about once a week, figuring I can give them one and they can use it or not. I think Aubrey gave them a selection, and she gave them so many, thinking probably, 'Oh, they'll never use them all.' They did. And I say that sort of for Lisa too, because for a task that lasts 50-some hours sometimes, Lisa yelled at somebody only five minutes out of 50 hours. But when the show was edited down and for one team's task you're only going to see 25 minutes, they use all five minutes of it and it looks like Lisa's yelling all the time. But Lisa doesn't yell all the time.

Warm TV: Five minutes of yelling and five minutes of crying?

Clay: Yes, five minutes of yelling and five minutes of crying out of 50 hours is not that bad, but out of 25 minutes, that's pretty bad. And out of a task that has three interviews that last an hour each, out of three hours of interviews, if I only give them one thing that's funny -- like talking about Aubrey popping out of her mama's chotch and grabbing a stripper pole, which I didn't think they'd use, by the way -- I give them one thing, they use it, and I've got a little funny quip in there. But Aubrey gives them 15 and they use all of them and all you ever hear is Aubrey saying mean things. I don't believe, honestly, it's Aubrey's nature, but I don't know that, to be honest with you. And I have to say this, I wrote in my blog for NBC this week, that one of the things I appreciated and respected about Lisa is that you always know where Lisa stands. She never said anything mean about someone that she didn't also say to their face. And I don't know that Aubrey always does that.

Warm TV: Yeah, you can't trust Aubrey.

Clay: [Laughs] That I will not say, but I will give you another long pause.

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Warm TV: What is your favorite Classy Clay Moment of the season so far?

Clay: Oh God. I have to say I think the funniest one is probably the chotch comment mainly because, as you saw, I looked at the camera and said, 'Can you use that? Try to use that.' Because I did not believe they would use it. The whole Classy Clay Moment came about because in several episodes it looks like I'm picking my nose and I'm not! So I was trying to hang a lantern on that and make it look like, 'I know I did it, so you can't make fun of me first!' And I certainly don't think it was classy for me to yell at Dayana, necessarily. But I have to say that that task was by far the most frustrating for me. So, sometimes things come out of my mouth and I don't necessarily mean for them to come out of my mouth, and I didn't know they were going to come out of my mouth. And there have been times while I've been watching the show that I've heard myself say something and laughed because I don't remember saying it. And when I said that Dayana was like 'the blind leading the seeing,' I don't remember saying that. But I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with it!

Warm TV: How much money have you raised for The National Inclusion Project with Classy Clay Moment texts? [Note: During "Celebrity Apprentice" episodes, Clay asks viewers on Twitter to text a special number when they see the 'Classy Clay Moment' and that text means a donation to his charity.]

Clay: I haven't followed up with it, but I know that the first week or so it was about $8,000 [each week], so I'm hoping we've stuck with that. If that's the case, through ten episodes, if we've been able to do that, that's $80,000.

Warm TV: What has the "Celebrity Apprentice" exposure meant for The National Inclusion Project?

Clay: It really has been pretty great for us. I think a lot of challenges we had when we were called the Bubel/Aiken Foundation is nobody knew what we did. So we changed the name to The National Inclusion Project to try to get our purpose into the name, and that helped us a little. But by the time we changed the name, a lot of those "Idol" followers and a lot of the horribly blinding spotlight of the press had kind of faded away for me, so being able to have the name, explain what it means, and have an audience of millions of people get to hear about it every week, it's great for us. Being able to go on a show where I can have multiple opportunities in the press and on the show to talk about it has great for us because it has given us the opportunity not just to get our name out there, but sort of explain what it is that we do.

Warm TV: Did you pick out your own clothes for the show or did you guys have stylists? What we're really asking is, who picked out the funky overcoat with the fur collar?

Clay: We don't have stylists. There is a wardrobe department there but they are really there just to make sure everything is steamed and given to you on time. They don't help us out with the tasks at all, but they do help us out extensively with the rest of our lives so that we can focus on the show. All of our clothes are pressed and transported for us, food is always provided. Clothes we have to do for ourselves. I did not pick my own stuff out. My assistant went over to Saks at Triangle Town Center and a few other places, and had someone help her find some clothes. Other contestants on the show would make fun of me clay_coat.jpgbecause she laid out every outfit I would need. We calculated how many I would need if I lasted to the end. So she put out an outfit for every single time I'd need an outfit, and she'd take a picture of it and describe it, and she hung them together and wrapped them together and she shipped them up to New York day by day by day, and they just showed up for me like that. So I had my own assistant here in Raleigh do the hard work for me!

That said, after I won the Crystal Light task, I saw a suit I really liked in the Hugo Boss store in Columbus Circle -- we were staying at Trump International in Columbus Circle -- and I told myself if I win this task, I'm gonna go buy that suit for myself. So I went and bought it and Arsenio went with me that day and he saw that jacket and he said, 'Dude, you gotta get that jacket. That jacket's hot.' So Arsenio picked the jacket out for me. And I don't care what people say, they can all kiss my #*!, I love that jacket!

Warm TV: What are your summer plans?

Clay: The goal is to go out and do a tour in the fall and the winter. I'm going to try to stay home this summer. I know people think I'm crazy, but I love a North Carolina summer. The humidity is like a warm hug to me and I love it. I spent so many years working summer camps at the Y that I would spend all day outside, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, and I just got so used to it. I can't deal with the sun because I burn like crazy, but I'm so used to it that I miss the summers. I've so often not been home during the summer so I'm sort of looking forward to being at home more and enjoying the heat and the humidity. Isn't that crazy sounding? But I love it!

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Clay Aiken's Mom: Mother's Day Revelations from Faye Parker

Pat Gallagher

Freelance Writer

Clay Aiken's Mom: Mother's Day Revelations With Faye Parker

Posted: 05/12/2012 8:16 am

Not all of us know what it is like to have a celebrity son or daughter, but it's interesting to pick the brain of a mother who has shared the "stage" with a famous offspring. And who better to talk to than Faye Parker (or better known as Clay Aiken's mother)?

Parker opened up about her son's sudden fame in 2003 (when he was named runner-up on American Idol); how she's treated by his fans; and how she felt when Aiken told her he was gay. She also gave us her take on her son's appearance on Celebrity Apprenticeand a few photos of her and Aiken, which you can see in the slideshow below.

How did your life change after your son became famous on American Idol in 2003?

When Clay went on American Idol I did not know what to expect. I thought life would go on as usual for me and [his brother] Brett, but that is not how things go. My life became a roller coaster of events, one after the other. I did not expect to be having so many interviews myself or being put on a stage so that others would know me when I walked out the door. Locally, I could not go anywhere without taking extra time to prepare myself. Going to the grocery store was a three-hour event. Once, while shopping at my favorite store, even the press came out. I was invited to attend national events. I even judged three state Miss America pageants. Whoa, what did I know about that? I did learn quickly, and it was fun.

Clay's fans are called "Claymates." Were you inundated with people wanting to get close to you from his fan base?

We had people driving by the house all times of the day taking photos of our home from their cars. Some brave souls, bless them, even came to the door and rang the bell. The most overwhelming was the fan mail that arrived daily. We had boxes and boxes that were sent from the Idol studios and to my friend's P.O. [box] as she was brave enough to put that out to keep so much from coming here. I wish I had time to have read them all. They were sweet, sad, and very supportive. Once he had his book published (where he talked about conflicts with his birth father, his stepfather and bullying he had to endure as a child) we received many letters from people that were hurting just like we had experienced. I was not happy having my life on display with all the dirty laundry hung out to dry. But as I accustomed myself to the fact, I hope that our lives made the lives of others easier to bear. It is always good knowing you are not alone with problems you are going through.

The other things were the gifts people made for him and sent. I have a room above my garage I lovingly call "The Shrine" with such wonderful mementos from his fans. There are over 100 scrap books included in this and the love and devotion put into them was amazing. I think I treasure those most -- not to slight any of the other things that were sent.

You have two sons, one who's famous and one who isn't. How do you make your son Brett feel as "important" in your life as Clay? And how close are Clay and his brother Brett?

Brett is my hero too. He is famous in his own way. He served four years in the Marines and [did] two tours in Iraq during the war. The thing about Brett is that he is laid back and did not want the attention. He was supportive of his brother and enjoyed a lot of things that came with Clay's stardom, but he liked being behind the scenes. He was confident enough in his own self that he did not have to have constant attention. I think Brett knows how important he is to me and how much he is loved. We try to do things together when we can and started a new tradition during some of the holidays when Clay was out of town. As for the closeness of the boys as brothers, there is seven years difference in age and this gap has put them closer as the years go by. Right now Brett actually lives with Clay and they get along extremely well and do lots of things together.

Show business is an up and down proposition. As Clay's mother, how do you feel when his career is up, down, sideways, and back up again?

Mothers always are concerned about their children's welfare and their happiness. When his career is going well I am always elated. When it seems like a dry spell, I sometimes get concerned. Faith is a big part of my life and I try to leave that in God's hands. He never forsakes us, even when we think He is not there. Do I think Clay is strong enough to weather the ups and downs in the entertainment business? Yes I do. He is intelligent, business savvy, and I believe he can work in so many avenues of the entertainment world, not just singing. I am concerned that his music does not get heard, but I know he is smart enough to write, produce, etc.

Do you ever offer career advice?

I laugh as I say this. Yes, I sometimes offer but I am blowing in the wind. Does he listen? Hard to say sometimes. I think he does not, but then once in awhile I will hear him say, "Mom said that too." I think, like other young people, he listens and then makes his own decision. That is okay. But once in awhile Mom would like to know she said something profound.

When Clay came out as gay, how did he tell you, and what was your first response?

I actually don't remember my first response. I think I was quite surprised. He told me as we were on the way home the night we dropped Brett off at the Marine base to leave for Iraq. Too much in one night to handle. I do remember he had a very hard time telling me and I think I tried to act calm. He would know.

Do you think Clay feels like you support him as a gay man?

I do support him very much. I think he would like me to be more of an advocate. I am not one for speaking publicly about anything really. Sometimes I have had interviews about his entertainment experience and what he is doing on tour, etc. I have not been asked much about this subject. My friends know that I support him. Fans have sent me emails when someone in their family comes out, and I try really hard to show them I understand where they are coming from. They want to know how I handled the situation. I think it brings them some comfort. I love my son dearly and what makes him happy I am going to support. I don't believe being gay is a choice and feel that people need to get more educated on this fact.

Now that Clay is a father, how has fatherhood changed him? Do you get to spend a lot of time with your grandson?

I love spending time with my grandson. He is the apple of my eye ... so much like his daddy. I do get to spend a bit of time with him even though we are 3,000 miles apart. Parker gets to visit and Clay allows him to spend time with me also.

I don't know that fatherhood has changed Clay in any particular way. He loves being a father and loves his son. He is a disciplinarian but disciplines with love and understanding. Parker is a lucky boy to have him for a dad. Clay has so much to teach a child. He impresses me with his patience with Parker and how he teaches him about the things around him. Watching them together delights me. I see my son in Parker and that brings good memories. You know how we mothers hate for our children to grow up so we get to relive that time through our grandchildren.

I've been watching Celebrity Apprentice and it looks like Clay may be headed for the final two. If that happens, how much do you want him to come in first this time, and why do you think he should?

I want with all my heart for him to take first place. I am tired of him being called runner-up (Laughs.) But most importantly, I want him to win the money for his charity the National Inclusion Project. This foundation is close to his heart, and it is the main reason he went on Celebrity Apprentice. I hope more people will check out the website and see the importance of what the money goes for. I think Clay should win because, in my opinion, he has played the game with integrity and has been one of the kindest persons on this season. Of course, that's his mother talking. (Laughs.)

What is your favorite Mother's Day memory with your sons?

I think my favorite memory of Mother's Day is when both the boys were young and they made the little gifts from school or picked wild flowers from the yard. One of the cutest things I can remember was from Brett. He gave me a card one Mother's day that read. "I love you so much I could clean my room." Don't know where that came from but it was so cute. I still have boxes of the things they did for Mother's Day and other holidays. Maybe they will have fun looking at them one day.

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Clay Aiken Defends Gay Marriage on "Face The Nation," Looks Like a Polished Politician

Clay Aiken defends gay marriage on 'Face the Nation,' looks like a polished politician

clay-aiken-face-the-nation.jpg

No, it wasn't a task for The Celebrity Apprentice (wrong network, for starters). Former American Idol runner-up and current Celeb Apprenticecontestant Clay Aiken appeared this morning on CBS' Face the Nation on a panel about gay marriage — and the realheadline is that the one-timeAmerica's Next Top Model guest judge played the part of talking head quite admirably.

Dressed in a sharp suit with a not-too-flashy pocket square, Aiken appeared on the venerable Sunday morning political talk show alongside some heavy hitters like Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay marriage Family Research Council; Ted Olsen, the super-lawyer heading up the federal case attempting to strike down California's Proposition 8; G.O.P. campaign strategist Mark McKinnon; and same-sex marriage activist Evan Wolfson. None of these people, however, had ever weathered weekly criticism from Simon Cowell and Donald Trump.

That kind of trial-by-fire only helped Aiken appear at ease throughout several segments of the program, especially the sections in which Perkins repeatedly cited "natural law" as the core reason for his opposition to gay marriage, and said legalization would force churches that don't believe in gay marriage to recognize them anyway. To this last point, Aiken said, matter-of-factly, "When my mother married my stepfather, she went to a Baptist church and said she had been divorced. They wouldn't let her get married there. So churches are able to decide who gets married at a church." (Click here and here to watch video of the exchange.)

Aiken's presence on the panel appeared to be largely due to his North Carolina heritage, so he could speak to the controversial amendment that passed in his home state this week banning both same-sex marriage and heterosexual domestic partnerships. Aiken cited polls that show that over 60 percent of North Carolinians support some sort of recognition of same-sex relationships, and gently swatted down the notion that President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage (the day after the N.C. vote) would damage his reelection chances in the swing state this November. "I think that we'd like to see politicians speak out on principle a little bit more and not just make a political calculation," he said.

Finally, when Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer asked how Aiken's decision to come out in 2008 had affected his career — which Schieffer oddly assumed was based in country music — Aiken just smiled. "Today, it's even less conservative in the country music world than it was in 2003 when I was on Idol," he said. "[Coming out] hasn't really had much of an impact at all in a negative sense; it's had more of a positive impact."

In truth, the picture of Aiken's post-coming out career is a bit murkier. While his record sales have been sluggish for years, he was dropped by RCA in 2009, after he'd come out — and, you know, he's now appearing on The Celebrity Apprentice. But Aiken was so well-spoken onFace the Nation, maybe he could accomplish what Trump's only teased about doing and make a run for public office. Stranger things have happened!

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Clay's Take: And Then There Were Two...

WEEK 14 - AND THEN THERE WERE TWO...

  • Posted By Clay
  • May 13, 2012 11:00 PM

Well... I guess one way to look at it all is... I now can't do any worse on this show than I did on my last one.

As I said in the Boardroom at the beginning of the episode, there is so much deja vu going on for me now.

Almost 10 years ago, I met Ruben Studdard randomly in the hallway of the Glendale Hilton during Idol's "Hollywood Round." Despite our differences, we struck up a fast friendship that lasted through the entire season, and then we ended up competing against each other in the final.

At the very beginning of the Apprentice shoot, the producers threw a little reception for all of the contestants. Many of us had no idea who would be on the show with us. I knew that Debbie would be participating. I knew about George Takei, Lisa Lampanelli and Penn Jillette, but that was it.

That night, as people arrived at the reception, I was standing in a corner sort of avoiding the crowd. I am NOT very good with crowds and get sort of uncomfortable, so I was pretty much hiding. I turn around and there stands Arsenio Hall. I had grown up watching his talk show before I went to bed every night in middle school. (I was never cool enough to know what the popular music or pop culture topics were, so I watched his show as an education. It helped me know what was cool!) Here in front of me was this legend that I had grown up on. He was hiding in the corner too!!! Ha ha.

We both bonded very quickly over our mutual reclusiveness, and throughout the competition, Arsenio became an incredible, incredible friend.

So, just like on Idol, I stand at the penultimate point in the competition head-to-head with a great friend. It's an incredible honor, and at the same time stressful.

This final task is a BEAR!!!! Walking up to the final task delivery, I think Arsenio and I were so excited to be in the final that we didn't anticipate how much of an undertaking we would be met with.

A fundraiser. A party to throw. A commercial to write, direct, shoot and edit. And a performance! This really is like a final exam at the end of an already tough semester.<br style="outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; ">Fortunately, we get help.

He and I both explain a bit of our thought process behind choosing the people to help that we chose. I can't speak anymore to why he chose folks than he already has said, but I can go in depth a bit more about how I went about choosing them.<br style="outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; ">When we found out we had to do a variety show, I KNEW I wanted both Debbie and Aubrey. The two of them are vocalists in a similar vein to me so I thought taking them would be important to my process.

I KNEW that I had Aubrey no matter what. With the tension between Aubrey and Arsenio, I had little doubt that he would not pick her. So I felt I was set with her.

I also knew I wanted Lisa. I wasn't sure how her brand of comedy would play in my variety show, but I had LOVED working with her and she is a BRILLIANT worker and multitalented. So I wanted her.

I also knew I would like to have Penn. I respect Penn's mind. He's brilliant and creative, and I wanted Mr. Trump (AND PENN) to know that I harbored no ill will against him.

My plan was to pick Lisa first because I thought she would be the person I'd most like to have. But, when Arsenio picked Adam, I panicked. Adam is brilliantly creative in the same way that Penn is. If Arsenio took Penn AND Adam, I was worried he would have a powerhouse duo on the team. So, I snatched Penn up first.

I certainly didn't expect for Arsenio to take Lisa. He had never worked with her before. We know now that Arsenio was trying to keep Lisa away from me in the same way I was trying to keep Penn away from him, so I lost that one.

I still wanted a musical theme, so losing Lisa meant there was room made for Dee, and that made me just as happy.

Debbie Gibson is a musical prodigy. She may sing her stuff a LOT!! ;-) But when it comes to writing music, arranging and playing, she is like few people I have ever met. Building a medley of songs and getting them arranged in a great way was so important. Debbie was my first musical pick.

Again, I KNEW I would get Aubrey, so I could save her till the end. I didn't pick her last because I didn't want her. I picked her last because I knew I could.

In the end I KNOW I have the strongest team!

When we did the fundraising task with Dee as the head of Unanimous, it was really important to him to talk to us about March of Dimes and show us how important the charity was, so I wanted to do that with my new team.

Explaining the work of National Inclusion Project is not so easy to do in just a few words or sentences, so most of them didn't know about what we do. I was so thankful to be able to talk to them about how important the work is to me and how much I REALLY valued their help during the task.

Penn's charity, Opportunity Village, is not too unlike National Inclusion Project in that it helps individuals with disabilities participate in the greater world and keeps them from being ostracized. Therefore, I knew Penn would have the mind and the heart for helping to come up with the concept for our charity ad. He took the initial seed of an idea that I had and I truly believe he made it better.

Aubrey has an incredible eye for design and is a perfectionist when it comes to producing. I thought her party for Crystal Light was incredible (even if we did win over her team). Having Aubrey take the lead on the party was a no-brainer. And for our party, Aubrey stepped outside of the box (I'd love to think she took that cue from our outside-the-box beach party, but Aubrey is pretty creative on her own) and really got to work on an original design that encapsulated the mission of National Inclusion Project.

Debbie knows her music. So giving her a bit of direction on what I wanted for the variety show and letting her brainstorm some more was perfect for her.

If there was consternation, I think it came from the fact that there was confusion over what the meaning of "delegation" is. While I certainly trusted each person to handle the task I asked him or her to handle, the bottom line is that my butt is on the line for all of it. Therefore, I don't have the luxury of just letting other people make final decisions for me.

Not wanting to have ALL of the walls in the event space painted was a decision made out of using our resources wisely. We certainly didn't have time to get it all done and I wanted to focus on more important things than painted walls. The compromise, which was painting ONE wall and doing so elaborately, was a fair trade off, I believe.

I certainly wasn't trying to take authority away from Debbie in the arrangement of the musical medleys. I just believed (after hearing the first drafts) that certain tweaks needed to be made. I feel that, as the project manager, I needed to sing a bit more vs. less and that certain parts of certain songs could be shortened to keep the medleys moving at a faster (more entertaining) pace. I absolutely wasn't taking authority away from Debbie or Aubrey - I hadn't given it to them in the first place. I have to make the decisions myself.

That came into play with the mural as well. (And let me preface this by saying, Debbie and I were friends before this entire show started and we are still friends and will remain friends.) My concern with the mural had nothing to do with my trust of Debbie's judgment; it had nothing to do with my trust of her cousin's talent. To me the issue was that this mural, if it is to be put on the wall, would be 70 feet wide and twenty feet tall. I don't want to have any surprises.

Debbie wanted SOOOO badly to help. In fact, Debbie's passion for helping during this task is the most genuine of anyone's on the show. She attacks every cause as though she has a personal investment... I could NOT be more appreciative of her for that!! BUT I NEED TO SEE A SKETCH BEFORE IT GOES ON THE WALL!!!!!!!!

And yet, somehow, while all of this drama is going on over on my team, Arsenio's team is singing "Kumbaya" and having a virtual lovefest with each other! My take on it all is that Team Arsenio is working so well and so peacefully together because... well... they're attempting some pretty easy and pretty basic elements.

-A video shoot against a white backdrop versus a video shoot with children in the grass underneath a housing project.<br style="outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; ">-A basic cocktail party versus a patented "Aubrey O'Day over-the-top" themed carnival party<br style="outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; ">-A variety show based on individual comic performances versus a variety show that tries to blend everyone together and get the one and only Dee Snider to sing Motown!<br style="outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; ">-A fundraising effort calling big name celebrity donors versus a fundraising effort calling random people in the phonebook!! Ha ha.

Taking big risks does NOT always prove to be the right thing to do. Arsenio seems to be having a relatively low stress task... I seem to be having a stroke!

Next week... it all comes to an end!

We'll all find out together if Debbie's mural ever gets done (or if we argued for no reason at all). We'll all get to laugh our heads off at Arsenio's comedy show and, hopefully, our musical variety show will pull together. We'll all watch what I think is an INCREDIBLE ad for National Inclusion Project, and we'll see if Arsenio can make some "magic" happen with the side of Magic Johnson's head!

Either way... it's been an amazing ride with some amazing people, and if I end up coming in 2nd again... it will be 2nd to an AMAZING FRIEND.

See you next week for the live finale... and MORE than a few surprises.

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"The Celebrity Apprentice" Recap: That Magic Moment

EPISODE 13 | AIRED MAY 13, 2012

'The Celebrity Apprentice' recap: That Magic Moment

Clay and Arsenio face-off in a battle to the very end, while Magic Johnson's face can barely be seen at all

By Dalton Ross | Published May 14, 2012

Donald Trump is no fool, ladies and gentlemen. Sure, he thought the USFL could compete with the NFL. Yes, he had some rocky financial times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And I have no idea what the hell is gong on with his hair. But more often than not, the man knows what he is doing. Take the firing of Aubrey O'Day last night, for instance. No way she could win the show with all the losses she accumulated and people she pissed off along the way. But the woman is television gold. Pure gold. (Just ask her! She'll tell you!)

So what did Trump do? Only the most genius thing ever. He fired her at the exact moment where not only would she not miss a single episode, but she would only be gone for a grand total of about 90 seconds! It's like she walked straight out of the Boardroom for a potty break and then met the final two and everyone else at Lincoln Center to get started back up again on the final task. Perfect!

Because make no mistake, Aubrey O'Day is a remarkable specimen that deserves to be observed and studied from every possible angle. Said Aubrey after her firing: "I'm somebody that stands in your face and is so bright and shines so big that you're either intimidated, you're annoyed, or you're in love." Actually, I'm all three! (You could also throw in confused, amused, occasionally disgusted, and thoroughly fascinated.) I would like to personally stand up and give Aubrey a slow clap in recognition of her many contributions to the most wonderfully absurd show in television history. She made it even that much more wonderful and that much more absurd, right through her final proclamation that "I hope I die undeveloped." I don't quite understand if that means she wants to die young and ignorant or old and stupid, but it's an amazing comment either way. Bravo, Aubrey! You have more than secured your spot on Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars.

One final note about Aubrey's firing: Did you catch her two-handed blow kiss to phony baloney Boardroom receptionist Amanda Miller on her way out? And, more importantly, did you catch phony baloney Boardroom receptionist Amanda Miller's one-handed blow kiss back? Why, just last week we had Amanda on our InsideTV Podcast and talked about the need for her to come up with a go-to move to give departing contestants to replace her usual sympathetic nod and wave. THIS IS IT! I even have a catchy nickname for it: The Kiss-Off. Amanda, starting next season, I expect all fired celebrities — whether it be Boy George, Jackée, or the dude who played Paulie Walnuts — to receive The Kiss-Off.

But don't you kiss off until we get to the finest moments of last night's episode. Just one rule: Everyone has to turn sideways to the right and try to read this only through your left eye's peripheral vision. This is how Magic Johnson reads all my recaps.

1. What the Hell is Arsenio Hall Talking About?

Once Aubrey was dismissed, Clay Aiken began experiencing American Idol déjà vu. Would he once again lose out on an elusive reality show title? You know, Clay and Ruben Studdard had such a nice friendship. They were complete opposites — one big and black, the other lanky and white — but they shared one thing in common, an incredible ability to reach out and touch audiences through the power of song. I think when you look back at their relationship on American Idol, however, what really stands out the most is the fact that Ruben never once threatened "getting in your ass."

ARSENIO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Why are you telling your homosexual friend/competitor on national television that "I'm getting in your ass?" Don't do that! Don't get in his ass! You need to focus on the final task for crissakes! "You might want to rephrase that," replied Clay in perhaps the understatement of the millennium. Seriously! I mean does that even make sense as some sort of friendly trash-talk challenge? I'm kicking your ass, or your ass is mine — sure, those make sense. They reference a thorough victory promised to be delivered at a later time and place. But "I'm getting in your ass?" That promises something altogether different. Was Arsenio trying to combine "getting in your head" and "kicking your ass" because he was simply too lazy to do both? I have no idea. The only thing I am sure of at this point is that I need to move off this topic as quickly as possible.

2. No One Likes To Be Picked Last…Especially The Person Who Was Just Picked Last

Half the fun of bringing back celebrities for the final task is that often The Donald's choices seem to be completely random. Remember two years ago when Darryl Strawberry was brought back just so he could sleep through one more project? That decision was ludicrous. Which also meant it was amazing. Unfortunately, this year the returnees made an annoying amount of sense — with one noticeable absence. We got Debbie, Aubrey, Lisa, Teresa, Penn, Dee, Adam, and Paul — but no sixth place finisher Dayana. Interesting omission, because that's a fair share of drama Trump was sacrificing had she ended up on a team with either Clay or Lisa. I also would have liked to have seen Mr. 110% himself, Lou Ferrigno, instead of the emotion-free Paul, but whatevs.

However, instead of assigning the players to Arsenio and Clay willy nilly for their task of creating a 30 second ad, party, and performance for their own charity, Trump allowed the two finalists to take part in a good ol' fashioned schoolyard pick 'em. While Arsenio's first pick of Adam was surprising, Clay using his first selection on former nemesis Penn was downright shocking. But there was an interesting little sideshow playing out here as well.

Cut to Arsenio saying that for his next selection "I would like the lovely and talented…"

Cut to Aubrey smiling.

Cut to Arsenio finishing his sentence "…Lisa Lampanelli!"

Cut to Aubrey smiling awkwardly.

Cut to Clay picking Debbie next because he was "turning my attention to music."

Cut to professional singer Aubrey smiling awkwardly.

Cut to Arsenio picking "The resourceful, pretty…"

Cut to Aubrey smiling.

Cut to Arsenio finishing his sentence "…Paulie Sr!"

Cut to Aubrey smiling awkwardly.

Cut to Clay selecting another singer…Dee.

Cut to Aubrey looking like she wants to stab Clay through the heart with a Chi Touch hair dryer.

Cut to Trump laughing about there being only two people left.

Cut to Arsenio picking Teresa Giudice. Teresa Giudice!!!

Cut to Aubrey looking mortified at being unpicked and taking the walk of shame over to Clay's team. "Haters are hating once again," she informed us. They certainly are.

3. Step Into My Office — If You Dare!

They say Celebrity Apprentice is all fun and games. That there are no valuable life lessons to be learned. I beg to differ. For instance, if you are ever asked by a man to step into his office…and he brags about doing conjugal visits in that office…and that office happens to be a cage…and in the office that happens to be a cage and in which he performs conjugal visits he also happens to have a giant penis statue…well, let's just say you might want to think twice about entering. That G.I. Joe type lesson — giving new meaning to the phrase "That's one to grow on" — was delivered by Adam Carolla this week while shopping for costumes for Arsenio's Magic Johnson Foundation PSA. And it turns out Adam wasn't the only one hesitant to set foot in the office/dungeon.

"Seriously, have you ever been in the penis cage?" he asked another store employee.

"No I haven't," came the response.

"Where do you eat your lunch — penis cage?" Adam continued.

'No, downstairs in the prop section."

Smart man. Oh, and this just in: Teresa Giudice is currently peeing in her pants. CLEAN UP IN AISLE 4!

4. The Quote That Makes You Wish They Had Been Making Celebrity Apprentice 25 Years Ago

"If you had told me that I'd be singing 'Baby Love' with Debbie Gibson in the 1980s, I would have punched you in the face." — Dee Snider

5. Wigging Out

I used to think Celebrity Apprentice was the perfect TV show, But I was wrong. I realize now what has been missing all this time. So can we just make a rule right here and right now that all future Celebrity Apprentice contestants must perform for the entirety of the season in stupid-looking wigs and costumes? I mean, Adam Carolla was fun to watch this year, but imagine how much more fun he would have been dressed up like a member of Prince and The Revolution the entire time. Tell me that Buick Verano presentation wouldn't have been 30 million times more awesome had he been decked out in his new romantic gear. You don't have to tell me because I already know! Lisa? I'm not entirely sure if she was supposed to look like Madonna, Bette Midler, or Dolly Parton with that fake hair, and I don't care — wig her up! As far as I can tell, Paul was wearing the same wig as Lisa. That's fine too; contestants can share. It would be even better if they had to wear the same wig…at the same time! They'd have to walk around like conjoined twins. What, you think this show wouldn't do that? I honestly can't believe they haven't done it already!

The one problem I do have with this year's final task is that by doing projects for their own charities, it takes out the element of having to please a corporate sponsor. That always leads to some good drama and also clearer guidelines as to who actually did a better job. Thankfully, Arsenio's team decided on their own to all dress up like idiots, insuring some good fun nonetheless. Like when Teresa used the opportunity to tell us how huge her hair was in the '80s. "I really love Teresa," said Adam. "She has a great sort of youthful enthusiasm, It might be called naïveté. And I can say that freely because she doesn't know what that word means. She's at home looking that crap up right now."

But as fun as that was, nothing could prepare me for what was about to come next. We knew something was going to go wrong with the Magic Johnson footage for the PSA. We just knew it. Especially when they had the delay getting the footage transferred from L.A. I figured the footage simply wouldn't make it. Or maybe it wouldn't be framed perfectly. Or possibly the focus would be a bit off. When Adam informed us that his audio podcast guys had recorded it, rather than actual video professionals, that just reinforced the notion that everything was going too easy for Arsenio and it was about to come crashing down. But little did I realize it would come crashing down in the most hilarious, amazing, incredible way possible. I actually cried from laughter when I saw what happened. Real tears. Streaming down my face.

Just to set the table here, the team had recorded Arsenio passing a basketball off a little bit to the right hand side of the screen where Magic would catch it in L.A. and then talk all about his Foundation and the important work it does. That's all well and good, but what Magic actually did was — after looking front and center for about 2 seconds — turn sideways 90 degrees to his right, and instead of telling the viewers about his foundation, he appeared to be telling it to someone off stage. Who was he talking to? Not Arsenio, because he wasn't supposed to be all the way to Magic's right. So now Magic looked like a crazy person talking to the guy holding the boom mic or maybe some sort of gaffer or something. Basically, he looked like he was talking to anyone but the people he was supposed to be talking to. Magic also kind of looked like he was doing the "Cha Cha Slide," "Macarena," or any other stupid line dance song where people jump to the side periodically for no reason whatsoever.Because he was talking to the right for no reason whatsoever. It goes without saying that this was my favorite moment of the entire season. In fact, I am starting to cry right now just thinking about it again! Seriously, I need to stop before I get tears all over my keyboard and short-circuit the laptop.

6. Debbie Shakes Her Love/Clay Shakes His Fist

Outside of Magic Johnson talking to nobody, Arsenio has had a pretty smooth ride so far. No so for Clay, who spent half of the task wandering the streets of New York while getting yelled at by little league baseball coaches and making little kids break the law by hopping a fence to shoot his ad in a restricted area. And then things got even worse when he met up with the rest of the team. Little did Clay realize he would be butting heads constantly with Crystal Light songstress Debbie Gibson.

Round 1 began when Debbie questioned Clay's decision to play music on the ad. Clay thought things were getting better when Lisa Lampanelli — who was playing for the other team! — called and offered to pay big bucks for a ticket to his show. In fact, he got so happy, he even started sucking face with Aubrey. But then it was time for Round 2. Clay and Debbie went at it over music again, but this time music for the actual show they had to perform. She wanted input from him; he wanted to see everything from start to finish before giving notes. And even though they kept saying this to each other over and over while standing face to face, neither seemed to get the message. Perhaps if one of them had pulled a Magic Johnson and turned the other way to speak — like, towards a wall or something — maybe that would have worked.

Then came Round 3, in which Clay and Debbie argued about the mural that Debbie's cousin was going to paint. Clay was insistent that nothing go on the wall until he could approve a sketch of it. As Project Manager, that's smart. I mean, no offense, but are you going to trust a $250,000 prize to Debbie Gibson's cousin? What if she puts up a big mural of the Electric Youth album cover? You can't risk it. "Paint will not go on the wall unless I've seen some sketches," said Clay. Before all was said and done, Debbie was calling Clay "insecure" and Clay was correcting how Debbie spoke on the phone to her own cousin. Which is exactly the type of cliffhanger drama you want heading into a finale. Well, that and a very confused man standing sideways.

I know you want to get to the big finale right now, but I've got some goodies to tide you over. Clay and Arsenio are going to follow in the footsteps of John Rich and Marlee and pay a visit later this week to join me in studio (read: my cruddy office) for the InsideTV Podcast, so keep an eye (and ear) out for that. And for even more Celebrity Apprentice inanity and insanity, you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Okay, the message boards are open for business, boys and girls, so hit 'em and hit 'em hard. Until next week: Cluck, Cluck…[turning to the right] Splash!

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"Celebrity Apprentice" Recap: Transparency

'Celebrity Apprentice' Recap: Transparency

Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken vie for victory with help from old frenemies

by: Dan Hyman

main.jpgArsenio Hall on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

"There are no losers in this room," Donald Trump tells the three remaining Celebrity Apprentice contestants, Clay Aiken, Aubrey O'Day and Arsenio Hall, as they await their fate in the boardroom. When last week's episode concluded, the trio had been informed that only two of them would continue on to the final task, which meant that one was moments away from getting the ax.

All three plead their case to Trump, then His Trumpness delivers his verdict. "You are transparent," he says to an utterly shocked O'Day, echoing the words of last week's celebrity advisors and last season's finalists, John Rich and Marlee Matlin. O'Day is fired. "Whoever said I'm transparent, fuck them," O'Day tells the camera after exiting in swift fashion. Before departing however, Trump's silent-yet-amazing assistant, Amanda, blows O'Day a magnificent goodbye kiss.

Naturally, Aiken and Hall are elated, as they should be. "I'm getting in your ass," Hall says to Aiken as they exit. He quickly realizes his verbal misstep. "You might want to rephrase that," Aiken says, laughing hysterically. For Aiken, who came in second to Ruben Studdard on American Idol back in 2003, there's a sense of unfinished business. "This time I ain't gonna lose," he says. "I will sleep when it's all over. Until then, game on!"

The next day the two men arrive at Lincoln Center and are informed of their final task: they'll be putting on, hosting and selling tickets to a celebrity charity event. They'll also be performing a variety show at the event and producing a 30-second PSA for their charity. The winner of the task – and ultimately, of Celebrity Apprentice – will receive $250,000 for their charity as well as the money they raise via the 75 tickets they've been allotted to sell. There's more news: Some of our favorite contestants (we use the word "favorite" mildly) are back to help out. Who's back? Well, here's how the two teams shake out. Hall's team includes Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Teutul Sr. and Teresa Giudice; Aiken, meanwhile, is joined by Penn Jillette, Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider and O'Day.

The teams break off and hit the ground running. Team Clay, stocked with music-minded members, is going to put on a music-centric event. Aiken's charity is the National Inclusion Project, a foundation he helped create that aims to help include disabled children with their non-handicapped peers. The team's motto for their carnival-themed event is "Let's ALL Play." O'Day, having been picked last and snubbed by Hall, is out for revenge. "I really think Arsenio is dirt," she says with a vindictive glimmer in her eye. "I hope Clay wins."

Team Arsenio, playing for the Magic Johnson Foundation and including a gaggle of comic minds, is going the comedic route. Things are a bit shaky, though, when Carolla initially suggests a kids-themed comedy show. But Hall quickly asserts his dominance. "I'm Barack in this motherfucker!" he beams. "I'm the leader!" With the Magic Johnson Foundation's purpose being to raise awareness to HIV and AIDS, the team decides to tailor their event – and later their PSA, as well – around the Eighties. As they see it, many things have changed since the Eighties, yet HIV and AIDS sadly remain. It's a smart idea, and it becomes even better when it provides a platform for each team member to don a perm'ed wig for the PSA.

Of course, fundraising is also a major element of this task. Hall's team hits the phones, calling on major Hollywood players – Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfield, George Lopez, etc. – to pony up some charitable cash. "I thought you were friends with Oprah?" Lampanelli asks Hall. Aiken's team, meanwhile, is having a bit more trouble snagging donations. He does however, land a donation from Lampanelli despite the fact that she's on Hall's team. Classy move, Lisa!

There are still PSAs to be made, and Carolla has taken charge for Team Arsenio. Hall wants Magic Johnson to appear in the 30-second clip, so Carolla arranges for an L.A. video crew to film the basketball legend speaking about his charity. Aiken puts Jillette in charge of his team's PSA; it will depict kids playing together in a park, with the viewer unaware of which is the disabled one. Location is proving to be an issue, however, because New York doesn't have much green, park-like space to shoot; a grassy area beneath a housing project ends up becoming the only option.

With so many contestants now back in the fold, it'd be safe to assume there would be boatloads of crazy drama. Ironically though, there's almost none. Each former contestant, from O'Day and Giudice planning the respective events to Gibson arranging the music, appears happy to help out. Tempers do flare, however, when Aiken and Gibson go at it regarding a mural for the event that is to be painted by Gibson's cousin. Aiken says he doesn't want this to happen unless he can see a sketch of what it will look like. And Gibson? Well, she thinks Aiken is being a micromanaging nutjob. Tears nearly flow.

Not everything is completely rosy on Team Arsenio, either. Why? The footage of Magic Johnson comes in and is plain awful: Johnson is facing in the wrong direction. Why did this happen? Well, it could be because Carolla failed to tell Hall his "L.A. video team" was really just audio guys trying to help out. Whoops!

So where does that leave us? Both teams are still going all out to prepare for the impending event, finishing up their PSAs and still working to string together an entertaining variety show. Who will win? We're going to have to wait until the season finale next week to find out. Oh, and just because you need to hear this, Snider may be singing "Baby Love" on next week's episode. Says Snider, "If you had told me I'd be singing 'Baby Love' with Debbie Gibson in the 1980s I would have punched you in the face." Amen, Dee.

Next Week: "It's Finally Here" touts the teaser for next week's finale. Both teams put on their respective events, tempers flare and, awesomely, we get a live boardroom with all the contestants back for tell-all goodness. Oh, and the winner is announced.

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Celebrity Apprentice Power Ranking: Clay Squares Off with Arsenio

Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings: Clay Squares Off With Arsenio

published: 2012-05-14 15:24:13

celebrity_apprentice_power_rankings_42507.jpg

After lambasting Arsenio for his verbal actions in past weeks, Donald Trump eventually turned to Aubrey and fired her ass, beginning this week's Celebrity Apprentice final task with a bang. With Arsenio pitted against Clay, we didn't have to wait long to ascertain what the final challenge would be. The next morning, Trump told the two men they would each be putting on a variety show where they would also have to create a PSA announcement for their charities and bring in some big ticket donors.

With the variety show theme in mind, Arsenio opted to go the comedy route, pulling Adam Carolla, Lisa, Paul Sr. and Teresa together to come up with some funny ideas. Clay Aiken, likewise, played to his strengths, putting together a team of musical personalities including Aubrey, Debbie, Dee, and adding Penn to the mix for his creative viewpoint.

At the start, Clay's team seemed to be the more organized unit, with the singer delegating various tasks out to his subordinates, and Arsenio having a little trouble reining the creative members on his own team in. As the task wore on, however, the tide seemed to change. Arsenio grew stronger in his ability to explain exactly what he wanted from his team and Clay began to micromanage, which caused the decision-making process to go a whole lot slower.

By the end of the episode, both teams seemed to be finding donors and getting all of the last minute pieces of the challenge together. However, Clay was busy dealing with a mural fiasco and Arsenio was having some commercial troubles due to some verbal confusion with Adam Carolla's camera crew. Next week will determine which man will land on his feet and which will earn second place (again?). Something about this task screams it will be a photo finish.

The Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings are an ordered compilation of weekly lists put together by TV Blend writers Jessica Grabert and Mack Rawden. Each week after viewing the episode, they each rank the competitors in order. Seventeen points are given for a first place vote, and this week, Sixteen were given for a last place vote. Sixteen competitors have already been eliminated; therefore, those people automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here is how this week's voting panned out, complete with analysis on how the celebrities might fare moving forward.

_1337030671.jpg

The Final Two

#1) Arsenio Hall (31): Wow. I thought for sure Arsenio wasn't making it out of the boardroom. Despite winning twice, it just didn't seem like he contributed enough on the tasks he wasn't the leader for. Trump obviously thought differently, and if the beginning of this task is any indication, he may have been right. Overly eager to please people during the season, Arsenio found a new aggressiveness this week, firmly yet politely shooting down bad ideas. His management style is very hands off, but with an eclectic team full of players capable of contributing, that lax approach might well be his key to besting Clay.

#1) Clay Aiken (31): I was a little worried about Clay's ability to bring in donations at the beginning of the task, but he seemed to come through, just in time to start micromanaging his players. The normally adept and calm leader really wants things to be perfect for his final challenge, and he seems to be putting a lot of energy and effort in. We'll see how the final task pans out, but if there is one thing Clay really has going for him, it's the drive to succeed, to persevere, to win at all costs. Second place does not seem to be an option.

Here's a look at how the ballots shook out…

Jessica:

Arsenio Hall (17)

Clay Aiken (16)

Mack:

Clay Aiken (17)

Arsenio Hall (16)

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Clay Aiken: Future Politician?

Clay Aiken: Future Politician?

BY DIANE ANDERSON-MINSHALL

MAY 14 2012 2:09 PM ET

clay-aiken-face-the-nation.jpg

Clay Aiken, the famously gingered gay dad who may just win The Celebrity Apprentice next Sunday, appeared on CBS's Face the Nation yesterday and handled the topic of marriage equality so well that Entertainment Weekly's Adam Vary said he looked "like a polished politician."

Aiken, who dressed like President Obama (complete with pocket square) on a stump speech, was on the long-running political talk show along with Ted Olson, the attorney fighting California's Proposition 8; Mark McKinnon, a Republican campaign strategist; gay activist Evan Wolfson; and antigay Family Research Council head Tony Perkins.

After years of taking potshots from both Simon Cowell (on American Idol) and Donald Trump (onApprentice), Aiken, a North Carolina native, was cool as a cuke, Vary said, even when Perkins trotted out arguments about against same-sex marriage saying that churches would be "forced" to recognize them. "When my mother married my stepfather," Aiken said, "she went to a Baptist church and said she had been divorced. They wouldn't let her get married there. So churches are able to decide who gets married at a church."

The crooner's appearance was so straightforward (citing polls, calmly explaining national support for marriage equality, never getting fired up at Perkinss' ridiculousness) and he "was so well-spoken on Face the Nation," said Vary, that "maybe he could accomplish what Trump's only teased about doing and make a run for public office. Stranger things have happened!"

If the ClayNation, the moniker Jann Karl of Entertainment Tonight gave to Aiken's many fans, dubbed Claymates — and all the subgroups that have named themselves like Claydawgs (male fans), Claysians (Asian fans), Clayropeans (European fans), and Claynadians (Canadian fans) — have anything to say about it, someday we could all be saying, "All hail, President Aiken."

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"Celebrity Apprentice" Recap: The Final Two, Part 1

Greetings Gasmii! It's the finale of Celebrity Apprentice already. Can you believe it? I'm amazed at how quickly the season went, although each individual episode felt interminable.

So this week starts up with the last three contestants still in the boardroom. There's one more person to be sent home. At this point, even Sparky seems bored by it all.

Donald-falls-asleept.jpgMy own words are putting me to sleep.

Sparky chats a little while longer, and the asks the question that tells me it is all over for Aubrey.

Sparky-bored.jpg"Why Aubrey, should I have you and keep you…"

He's too bored to even muster his attempts to hide the decision that she is gonna be a goner. She argues that she has been the strongest player, and I will give her this – she definitely met every task with the energy and zeal only the young can offer, but her claims that she is the ultimate underdog are bogus. After a little more chatting with Arsenio, to seem like he's considering all three players, it comes as no surprise when Sparky sends Aubrey packing for her transparent attempts at manipulation.

Aubrey-that-cant-be-right.jpgThat can't be right.

But sadly happily, it is. Aubrey comes on to say Fuck John Rich and his statement that she's transparent. She says she's so big and so bright that one is either intimidated, annoyed or in love with her.

Aubrey-leaves.jpgIntimidation is a form of bullying, you self-centered twit.

Frankly the dispatching of Lisa and Aubrey, although not entirely surprising, is a bit disappointing. These were two of the most contentious constants this season and neither one went down in a flaming ball of emotional fury. For that I am sad.

But I am happy about our final two! Once Dee was sent packing thanks to his attempts to keep Lou on life support, I favored Clay for the win. And Arsenio is just such a sweet man with such a passion for his charity that it makes me happy to see him staying. To be honest, I'm not sure he really is strong enough to be here, but I love that these two are friends and good guys and I'm just generally all for this showdown. May the best darling win.

In the boardroom, Sparks congratulates the final two and Clay says he's having a bit of deja vu.

Arsenio-laughs-at-Clay.jpg"I am not that heavy!"

Trump tells them that they will meet the next morning at the Lincoln Center to receive their finals tasks and then he dismisses them. As they are getting up from their chairs, Arsenio tells Clay, "I'm getting in your ass." Clay suggests Arsenio might want to re-phrase that.

Arsenio-wants-another-take.jpgIt was colloquial. Wait! Can we do a re-take?!?!

Boys-hug.jpgWho are you kidding, Arsenio?

Might as well embrace the love you feel for each other.

Clay tells us that he is determined to win this show and put his status as Runner Up on American Idol behind him. Arsenio tells us that he has to get that money for the Magic Johnson Foundation.

Arsenio-cute-smile.jpgThis smile is so cute. Can we market it?

black-baby-doll-wth-arsenio1.jpg Seriously, who wouldn't buy this?

It is the next day and Clay and Arsenio meet at the Lincoln Center to receive their last assignment. As they fist bump to wish each other luck, I think back to a reader who suggested these two should have a talk show together. I totally agree. Maybe when Kelly Ripa can't find anyone else to host with her (you know she'll never choose Clay), she'll step aside and these boys can take over.

Wonder-Twins.jpg The show could be called Live with the Wonder Twins.

Trump arrives with his two bestest proteges and I learn something new; you know that myth about vampires melting in bright light?

Demyth-vamps.jpgBusted!

Actually, Clay is looking a little Cullen-esque this morning.

Clay-looks-like-vamp.jpgPerhaps he has already gone to the dark side to guarantee the win…

Ivanka and DJ explain the challenge: the boys must produce and host a charity event. In addition to creating the variety show and selling tickets, they will also have to generate a thirty second public service announcement about their charities. Each one will be able to keep the money they raise with their event, but the one who makes the most will become the Celebrity Apprentice and win the coveted 250K grand prize. Since the boys have to be the entertainment at their charity event, Trump invites past fired celebrities to assist the boys in their efforts. Out walk most of our recently fired contestants, with a few notable exceptions:

Returning-contestants.jpgMissing are Lou, Dayana, Tia, George, Cheryl, Victoria, Michael and Patricia.

I totally get why Michael wouldn't want to return and waste any more time with the ridiculousnes that his son foisted upon him. And it makes sense that George, Victoria and Cheryl would decline the invitation and probably weren't even asked. I'm guessing Tia, Dayana and Patricia all couldn't be bothered to engage in the catty visciousness that the women cultivated this season, but I am surprised that Lou isn't here. Do you think he was asked back? I imagine he would have been someone who wanted to prove himself and prove to Trump that he made a mistake firing him. Maybe he had a prior engagement.

Lou-busy-acting.jpgHe is in very high demand as an actor.

But I am thrilled at some of the talent returning. Debbie is here! This is the perfect task to be treated to her serenading. This will be one more opportunity to hear her songs somewhere other than the elevator at work that plays golden oldies in muzak. I, for one, am delighted. I have missed her self love. And Dee is back – yay – we can watch him prove he should have been a finalist. It's good to see Penn and I am pleased that Aubrey and Lisa are willing to lend a hand despite being so close to victory and having it yanked from their masterfully conniving hands. Of course Paul and Teresa are here – they are both good natured hard workers who would be more than willing to help someone win the big money for their charity.

The biggest surprise of all the returning players is the appearance of Adam Carolla. For one, he was completely robbed and should never have been fired. He would be in his right to be too bitter to return. For two, he was fired so long ago, I am stunned that they went that far back to ask for participants. But regardless, I think having him here will make good tv and he proved himself to be very smart, so I'm sure if he keeps the stupid jokes to a minimum he's going to be a huge asset to whoever chooses him.

Sparky decides that Arsenio can choose first, since he won every time he was a project manager. I'm sure that's burning a raw hole in Aubrey's craw. Arsenio peruses the choices at hand and the first person he picks is Adam Carolla! I actually think this is a very good pick. Arsenio comes on in confessional to tell us he decided to keep things simple and go with what he knows. What he knows is comedy. That makes Adam a great choice.

Adam-gets-picked-first1.jpg Awesome moment #1: Lisa is offended she wasn't picked first for the comedy team.

I'm sure Aubrey is offended Arsenio didn't pick her, since she "won him every task".

Clay picks Penn second. While this is a good idea because Penn is brilliant, Clay and Penn have had run-ins in the past. Clay says his intention is to prove to Trump that he can work with anybody, but I don't know if now is the time to risk dealing with difficult people. Arsenio goes next and he starts off saying he would like "the lovely and very talented…"

Aubrey-hes-talking-about-me.jpg Aw, he's talking about me.

LIsa-gets-picked.jpg Awesome moment #2: Arsenio calls Lisa's name instead of Aubrey's.

Clay is up next and he chooses Debbie Gibson! Okay, dude are you going for title of most difficult team possible? My God, if Dayana and Lou had been here, maybe they would have been your first picks.

Debbie-is-picked1.jpg Awesome moment #3: Focusing on music, Clay picks the '80′s has-been over Aubrey O'Dated.

Arsenio now wants, "the resourceful, pretty…"

Aubrey-now-hes-talking-about-me.jpg Now, he's talking about me!

Pauly-gets-picked.jpgBut it's Pauly that Arsenio is talking about.

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Part 2

It's obvious by now that Arsenio is sending a very direct message to Aubrey. He's using all the adjectives she likes to use when describing herself but he's applying them to others. I love that he's subtly schooling her that she doesn't have anything to offer that he can't get from other people.

Clay picks Dee Snider next. Great choice for both the team playing and music aspect.

Aubrey-thinks-it-is-a-joke.jpgI get it. This will be an outtake for a practical joke.

TV-bloopers.jpgSorry, honey, that show was canceled in the '80′s.

And even though they are bringing this show back, it won't ever be the same without Dick Clark.

Dick-clark.jpgRIP, man. You kept the name Dick cool.

There are only two people left to choose from:

Aubrey-you-made-your-point.jpgHa ha, Arsenio. You've made your point. Now pick me, damn it!

But Arsenio calls out Teresa. Teresa? Everyone is surprised. As Arsenio points out, even the camera man poked out from behind the camera to give Arsenio an inquisitive look. But Arsenio tells us he wanted to have a nice working environment, so he picked the more pleasant of the last two.

Aubrey-picked-last.jpgAwesome moment #4: Aubrey is picked last! Bwahahahahahaha!

Clay is quite happy to have Aubrey, since he's going to do a music variety show. Aubrey comes on and says the boys showed their true colors by picking her last. I'm not sure what that means, but I can't believe that anyone who fails to realize she isn't wanted was ever the subject of bullying. Seriously, I believe she feels like she was bullied in school, but I doubt if she actually was. Maybe it was just haters hating, as she puts it, when describing the men's tactics of leaving her at the bottom of the heap.

Sadly, what this does mean is that she's going to "overcompensate and step it up" to prove she should have been picked first. Poor Clay – he's going to have his hands full with these players.

Clay's group gathers in his war room, which appears to have been re-decorated. He starts off by expressing his appreciation for the people who will be helping him and offers them a detailed description of his charity.

Clay-eye-liner.jpgIs that boy wearing eye liner???

Aubrey says that she's been a Clay hater but now that she's heard about his charity and how passionate he is about it, she might just climb on board the Clay Train.

Inside Arsenio's war room, they are talking about the demographics.

Arseni-puts-Teresa-to-work.jpgArsenio is doing an excellent job of delegating.

They are discussing the fund raising logistics; apparently there are only 75 seats in the auditorium, which means they have a limited number of options for fundraising. Adam comes on to tell us that he never expected to be eliminated so early and now that he was picked first he feels a lot of pressure to contribute and make a difference.

Adam-wants-kids.jpgHe proposes they create a kids show and people

will contribute money for children to watch.

Okay, so maybe he wouldn't have been much of a contender, even if he wasn't blind sided by the bogus Buick sabotage.

Lisa-cant-do-clean.jpgWe can't do clean comedy!

Adam thinks they can, but unless they let Teresa have the mic and host a pretend dress up gala, I don't see how any of them will be able to appeal to children.

Paul-appeals-to-kids.jpgExcept maybe this guy.

Arsenio shoots him down quite gently by saying it isn't in their wheelhouse and it doesn't speak to the demographic that the charity needs to reach. He says it would be more appropriate for the Make A Wish Foundation. Interestingly, when talking about how good leaders often offer bad ideas, but put up more good ones, he explains he's dismissing Adam's idea because "I'm Baracking this mother fucker. I'm the leader."

Adam-confused.jpgBut wait, my good ideas are as bad as my jokes?

Arsenio-is-bad-ass.jpgBaracking – what a great verb. I love this bad ass.

Arsenio-campaign-poster.jpg

Team Clay is strategizing how to handle three monstrous tasks in two days. Clay decides that he'll have Aubrey handle decorating the variety show, Debbie will work on song content and Dee and Penn will work on the PSA. They need a theme and Penn suggests "Let's all play." It sounds like that is what they will go with and Aubrey suggests she create a carnival atmosphere where people can feel free to play.

Aubrey-concept.jpgI totally came up with our concept, as always.

Aubrey tells us how great her party will be and how easy it will be to have every booth at the carnival bring people back to the National Inclusion Project. More importantly, she says, she thinks Arsenio is dirt and she very much wants to see his ass handed to him.

Aubrey-roots.jpgSpeaking of dirt, that must be what is in Aubrey's hairline,

since she assured Farouk Shami that it was all real.

Aubrey-weapon.jpgAnd speaking of Aubrey, just because you are literally wearing your agenda

on your sleeve, nooooo you are not transparent. At all.

At team Aresenio, Adam is still trying to make his mark on the show. He actually does come up with a pretty decent idea for the PSA. Since AIDS was all the rage in the '80′s, the attention to it has died down but the problem hasn't gone away. He wants to create a PSA that is humorous with '80′s outfits but serious in it's message that AIDS never left or went out of style.

Adam-leads-with-idea.jpgIt's nice to see Adam's brain working in the right direction.

But what's up with all the head shots of children all over the table?

Adam has people in L.A. who could shoot Magic talking about the charity and then have the spot uploaded to be cut into their PSA on the east coast.

Arsenio-worried.jpgMagic has to get up early, I have to rely on a camera team I don't know,

hope they shoot what we we want and count on it to be

uploaded correctly. What could go wrong?

Naked-preg-art.jpgMaybe it's because I'm watching Lilly give birth on How I Met Your Mother right now,

but this piece of art reminds me of a naked pregnant woman smooshed against a glass door.

Team Clay is hashing out ideas for their PSA. Clay is heading down a maudlin sappy route with a kid in a wheelchair all alone. Penn says he finds that offensive to his taste.

Clay-takes-off-jacket.jpgAlright, Penn. I didn't want to have to do this, but…

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Part 3

Clay says he is more than willing to come up with something more symbolic if anyone else has any ideas.

crickets.jpgCrickets.

Seriously, when does Aubrey not have any ideas? What is the game she is playing?

Teresa and Adam have been sent to a costume shop to locate '80′s outfits for the PSA. I'm not sure why they picked the scariest place in town to shop for their light hearted and fun outfits. Adam is especially creeped out by the owner's office which is behind jail bars and has at least one giant penis on display.

Creepy-store.jpgAdam will definitely not be sleeping well for weeks.

At Clay's place, a miracle has happened! In addition to shooting down a concept he doesn't like, Penn has finally verbalized a fix-it plan that offers up an alternative where the audience will feel compassion without pity. Clay is both grateful and blown away.

Penn-beauty-and-beast.jpgWhy am I singing Beauty and the Beast when I look at him?

Pauly has approached Arsenio and basically said he wants to be put to work. Lisa suggests he start fund raising so he and Teresa both jump on the horn. Ivanka walks in to check on the team and she seems impressed at their early on lead in fundraising. Lisa, by the way, had a bunch of money lined up for when she got to the finale, so she's sending that 60K Arsenio's way. Ivanka also feels they have a solid concept with their PSA and their comedic angle.

Ivnaka-pretty.jpgSometimes when I gaze upon her beauty, I feel a sense of tranquility.

Is that some kind of sedating power to obtain victims more easily?

Clay and Debbie are going over the songs she is creating for their medly. Her plan is for her and Dee to start off singing Baby Love by the Supremes. Dee looks horrified.

Dee-punch-you-in-face.jpg"If you told me I would be singing Baby Love with Debbie Gibson

in the 1980′s, I would have punched you in the face."

Bwahahahaha! Oh if only there was time travel.

I'm not sure picking a song about heart break is a good idea for an event that focuses on children usually left out. No one seems to be considering that, though. Aubrey probably has but her sails seem to have deflated since she was fired.

Dee wishes he could sing Highway to Hell, but he already can see this variety show is going in a direction he doesn't want and won't like. But he is certainly willing to do it, since he's already worn a dress for charity.

DJ shows up to check on Team Clay and he is looking very fine again today.

D-looks-good.jpgIt's definitely the tie that makes him look dorky.

DJ says the team is definitely very strong but he's worried that he hasn't seen any fund raising attempts yet.

Both teams have arrived to check out their space. They each have a long white hall that is completely a blank slate. Arsenio is managing in a delegatory style, so he happily leaves the task of decorating and catering in Teresa and Lisa's hands. Meanwhile, Aubrey is going a mile a minute with her ideas for Clay.

Aubrey-mile-a-minute.jpgWe're going to have games and stilt walkers and

custom circus outfits and a balloon arch…

Clay-hold-on.jpgHold on now, who has time to sew and blow up balloons?

Aubrey-he-doesnt-love-it.jpgCrap, he doesn't love it.

Aubrey is still going a mile a minute and starts talking about picking up paint. Clay says he doesn't want to paint because they don't have time. Aubrey argues that if each person on the team recruited five people to help them paint, the whole thing could be done in no time.

Debbie-watches-Aubrey.jpgI don't think Debbie likes Aubrey stealing all the attention.

Debbie-has-cousin.jpgSo I know Clay didn't want to paint, but there was a lot of focus on Aubrey,

so I decided to call my cousin the mural painter and she's assembling

a team to decorate our walls right now.

Clay says he will okay the mural if he can see a concept drawing first. Debbie agrees to get one.

It's the next day and Clay, Dee and Penn are hunting down a location to shoot the children for the PSA add. They thought they would be able to make quick work of it by shooting in a baseball field, but unfortunately, they seem to have located the homeless latrine park and can't stand the smell. There are also sound issues, so they are going to have to waste more time hunting for a better spot.

Arsenio's team is at a studio to shoot their 1980′s PSA ad. Arsenio has assigned Adam to direct the video, which is a good idea, since he'll also be directing his guys on the West coast to handle the Magic Johnson shoot.

LIsa-80s.jpgDesperately Seeking Susan 30 years later.

Seeking-location.jpgDesperately Seeking a location in the here and now.

Paul-in-the-80s.jpgBless Paul's heart for always agreeing to be a fish out of water.

Teresa-got-this-outfit-today.jpgYeah, this was in my closet. What's your point?

Adam says he loves directing Teresa because "she has a youthful exuberance… might be called naivete. And I can say that freely, because she doesn't know what that word means."

teresa-knows-naivete.jpgNaivete – it's a cooking term, right?

Adam-romantics.jpgI hear the secrets that you keep… when you're talking in your sleep.

Location-scout.jpgStill desperately seeking a location…

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Part 4

Finally Clay and company spot a baseball field and approach the people playing to see if they can borrow the outfield. The coach complains that they are distracting the kids before he realizes who he's talking to. When he realizes it's Clay Aiken he's yelling at, he gets so excited. He's really into meeting Penn, Dee and Clay but he says it's distracting his son who is trying to pitch. Clay is hoping the friendly reception means they will get to shoot on the field.

Clay-fan-get-out.jpgDude, I totally voted for you. Now get off my field.

Gotta love New Yorkers! Who cares if you're a star with a camera raising money for charity? If it infringes on my kid's pitching future, fagetaboutit.

Finally, they discover a small patch of grass under a high-rise that they decide to try to use.

Sesame-street-not.jpgSesame Street, it is not.

Arsenio-hilarious.jpgBwahahahaha!!!!

Arsenio-Im-bad.jpgBecause I'm bad, I'm bad. You know it.

Arsenio's team has finished shooting their part of the segment, now they need to get the stuff shot on the West Coast. Turns out Adam's trusted dude can't do it, so he's relying on a technical guy he knows and trying to express their desires for what they need from Magic. Unfortunately, Adam is confused about camera left and camera right and he's confused about how to describe the basketball pass that will go from Arsenio to Magic.

Adam-unsure-of-camera.jpgThis face is sort of muppet like. Too bad we couldn't see

him perform in the puppet show.

Arsenio and Adam head to editing to put the spot together while he sends Teresa, Paul and Lisa back to the war room to fundraise.

Debbie Gibson and Aubrey are meeting with a music dude to arrange their medley. Debbie for some reason is practicing Shake Your Love – I wonder if it is going to be part of the performance. Aubrey is laughing as she relives memories of hearing Debbie Gibson sing her songs in EVERY task.

Aubrey-OMG.jpgOMG – she seriously is a one trick pony.

Debbie-greatest-music.jpg"Ladies and Gentlemen, we're taking you back to the

greatest music of all time… Shake Your Love!"

Clay, Penn and Dee head to their editing suite to cut their segment. After awhile, Aubrey and Debbie arrive to see how things are going with the video. There is some creative debating between Debbie and Clay as she doesn't like the music in the PSA. While they are hashing that out, Clay gets a call from Blanche (Lisa's puppet name from the improv.) Lisa is calling to tell Clay she wants to donate money to Clay's charity, since he helped her raise so much for hers.

Lisa-in-opening-credits-with-look.jpgAlright, Lampanelli. Bitch or not, that is a class act. Bravo.

Aubrey has been trying to fund raise and after Clay hangs up, she tells him she's got a check coming that could be a big number. Certainly won't be less than ten grand.

Clay-kisses-Aubrey.jpgI'd like to see Aubrey get this one out of her head.

At Team Arsenio, Adam and Arsenio are still waiting for the Magic Johnson piece to arrive electronically. Team Clay has headed over to review the music for the variety show that Debbie has put together. Clay is having a hard time as he wants Debbie to give him a full run-through so he can makes notes, but she wants to tweak as she goes and keeps stopping and starting over.

Also, as she's singing the songs in a high pitched nasal voice, I glanced over at my husband who was wincing as his eyes met mine. It was confirmation of an unspoken agreement: never, ever own a Debbie Gibson album.

Debbie-not-great-singer.jpgWithout synthesizers, she sounds terrible!

Clay complains that he was struggling to keep everyone focused and to push through just one full version of the medley.

Clay-struggles.jpgDude, you picked this team. If you bought the most high-strung

team of horses because they were pretty, don't complain when they are difficult to handle.

Runaway-horse-patent.jpgAnd don't expect any help; with one good kick, this baby could

knock out your teeth and half your face!

Debbie still can't be wrangled and she says she was feeling confused because Clay told her to do the music but then he was shutting down her creativity. I can see both sides of the argument. While Penn has a point that one doesn't need to rule with an iron fist and frustration, Clay is right that everything reflects on him and since he needs to time the performance, he needs them to focus and do what he is asking.

Debbie decides to call her cousin to check on the progression of the mural. Apparently it is coming together, but taking a little longer than expected. What could that mean if Clay still hasn't seen and approved a sketch yet?

Debbie-mural-taking-longer.jpgThere might be an eensy, teensy, tiny problem.

Debbie tells Clay about the delay and he tells her that all he cares about is seeing a sketch. If there is no sketch tonight, then there will be no mural. For some reason, Debbie has decided to take this mural on as her own crusade and now that she's put herself out there on a limb with her cousin, she's getting all antsy about pressuring her cousin. Clay doesn't care if they have the mural or not, so I'm not sure why this is so important to Debbie.

I will give kudo's to Debbie for trying to verbalize her concerns that her cousin has dropped everything and given up work to do this. Had the situation been Lisa, there would have been stomping and screaming by now. But the fact of the matter is that Clay made it clear already what it would take for him to agree to a mural.

Both Aubrey and Debbie seem to think that being delegated a task also means giving up absolute authority. Debbie is getting more and more worked up at the idea that the whole thing might be canceled and her cousin will left swinging in the wind. Frankly I think she should be upset with herself and Aubrey since they made an executive decision to tell her cousin to go ahead despite Clay's instructions.

Debbie-tries.jpgI'm trying to make everyone happy.

Why did I attempt to steal Aubrey's thunder?

Debbie tries to explain to her cousin that Clay is nervous and doesn't want trust the people he has delegated to. Clay argues that he's not nervous and he's more than willing to kill the idea. Debbie gets even more upset that now Clay is micromanaging her conversation. She storms off with her phone, but she tells us that she's not sure she can work like this.

Debbie-I-dont-belong-here.jpgIf I can't work untethered and with absolute

creative control, I don't belong here.

Over at Arsenio's team, the Magic Johnson file has just finished downloading. Will it work? Will Magic catch the ball from the correct angle to tie together the pass Arsenio made?

Magic-catches-ball.jpgYes! They did it!

Huge sigh of relief. Everything is going to work out. This is going to be a great PSA. Until…

Magic-talks-to-side.jpgMagic turns to the side and does the entire spiel in profile. WTF?

Adam-oh-shit.jpg Arsenio-oh-shit.jpg

FTW

The PSA is completely fucked. There is no way they can use this footage. What will Arsenio do? My hope is he can just use Magic as a voice-over and grab some shots of stuff the foundation does that already exists. There isn’t really time to go in a different direction with the ad.

This proves Clay’s point. If you just trust your team mates to do everything without proper supervision, it can ream you in the ass in the end. I know right now he seems like a hard ass, but I think he’s right in his refusal to permit anything to go forward that he can’t see and sign off on.

And what about Debbie? Will she quit in protest of overworking her cousin that wasn’t necessary to do because Clay didn’t ask for it and was never in love with the idea?

Looking forward to finding out next week! See you all then.

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Clay Aiken Discusses 'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale, North Carolina's Amendment One, And More (AUDIO)

Michelangelo Signorile mike.signorile@huffingtonpost.com

Clay Aiken Discusses 'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale, North Carolina's Amendment One, And More (AUDIO)

Posted: 05/19/2012 9:45 am Updated: 05/19/2012 9:45 am

A few days before his face-off with Arsenio Hall on the finale of Donald Trump's

"The Celebrity Apprentice" (Sunday night on NBC), Clay Aiken was confident and comfortable.

"I hope I'll win," said the openly gay singer and actor who shot to stardom as a contestant and first runner up on "American Idol" almost ten years ago. "We have different styles. [Arsenio Hall is] a little more laid back. I'm a little more hands-on. I think the effects of my efforts were superior. I think we'll see on Sunday when Mr. Trump makes his decision."

Aiken also weighed in on his new-found role as a gay activist, taking on North Carolina's antigay Amendment One and appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation"opposite the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins last week, an experience he laughingly still can't believe happened.

"Wasn't that crazy?" he asked, beaming with a smile, in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program. "So it did happen, you're saying? Because I was thinking it was all a dream."

Aiken never would have imagined in 2003, when he was on "American Idol" and not open about his sexual orientation amid the rumor mill that he was gay, that he would one day be out, let alone that he would be an activist speaking passionately about gay marriage and the politics of the state he grew up in, North Carolina, on national television.

"In 2003, wasn't even convinced [myself that I] was gay," he chuckled. "Oh, no, no, no, no. You know, it's a process for everyone. Even in 2008, when I came out publicly, I said, 'I'm not going to be one of the activist people, who speak out publicly about it.' That's where I was in my own personal journey. I believed at that time that I was completely, perfectly out."

But Aiken eventually felt a sense of responsibility to young people, he said, working with groups like the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network [GLSEN], becoming more aware of issues LGBT youth face today.

"It hasn't been until the past two years that I really started realizing a part of this is going to be making sure other people don't live through what I did," he explained. "Making sure that people don't have the same type of struggle that I did. I've realized now if I can be a a part of making it easier for a kid to be able to be comfortable with himself, then I have a responsibility to do it."

Discussing his fan base, Aiken noted that the people to whom he appeals are the very people whose minds need to be changed in America.

"My fan base is very 'red state' typically," he said. "I think a lot of people who are the most fervent supporters of mine are people who would have voted for a marriage amendment, but now might not. I speak more to people who are in the middle, sway-able area. I think some people, like Adam [Lambert] or maybe Rosie [O'Donnell], probably speak a little bit to a crowd where, it's like, we already got them. But I think that Ellen [DeGeneres] and Neal Patrick Harris speak to that middle crowd too. I think you gotta have both. You gotta have people who stir the turd so that people can smell it. And you gotta have people who keep things as normalized as possible.You need to have Malcolm X so that Dr. King can be more effective."

Regarding Donald Trump's position against marriage equality and the controversy he stirred when he was flirting with running for president, speaking out on the issue, Aiken said it's better for him and openly gay George Tekei to do the show and be able to talk with Trump.

"Avoiding people who disagree with you, unless they are the Tony Perkins' of the world, who are never going to change their minds, is counter-productive," he said. "I don't see Mr. Trump as a Tony Perkins. He is a lot more gracious in person and down to earth and real than I think he wants people to know. This is how I have tried to do it. People who know a gay person are more likely to support a gay person."

It's with that calm sense of purpose that Aiken is heading into Sunday's finale of "The Celebrity Apprentice, " hoping to win the grand prize, $250,000, for the charity he co-founded, The National Inclusion Project.

"I try to avoid tension -- it's impossible to avoid tension on a show like this, but I try my best," he explained. "I think 85% of success in life is about paying attention, and I think 85 % of doing well on a show like this is [about] paying attention. And I think that's why I've done well."

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ew.com

"The Celebrity Apprentice" Season Finale Recap: Racing to the Finish

EPISODE 14 | AIRED MAY 20, 2012

'The Celebrity Apprentice' season finale recap: Racing To The Finish

Arsenio and Clay battle it out until the very end and wait to hear The Donald's decision

By Dalton Ross | Published May 21, 2012

Whew. What a weekend. Man, I am bushed. Think I'll just kick back with a soda pop, see what that miserable drunk Andy Capp is up to in the funnies, and maybe take pity on my cats and change their litter for once. Then perhaps I'll turn in early because I've got a big day tomorrow and…. Wait, what? The Celebrity Apprentice finale is tonight? Holy smokes! I've got to get to my computer and start writing myCelebrity Apprentice recap! Mr. Whiskers, get me the fastest driver anywhere in the world!

Mr. Whiskers: "Meow."

Dalton: "Don't sass me, Whiskers! This is serious business. I need someone to get me to the office so I can get cracking on this pronto! Make some calls! Hurry!"

Mr. Whiskers: "Meow."

Dalton: "What do you mean you can't dial numbers on a telephone with your paws? What good are you then? Ugh, never mind. But if you think I'm going to go change your litter now, you're crazy!"

Mr. Whiskers: "Meow."

Dalton: "WHAT?!? Aubrey O'Day did not deserve to win! Now you're talking crazy talk is what you're doing."

[Mr. Whiskers lifts hind leg and starts cleaning self]

Dalton: "Hey, that's uncalled for, Whiskers! Look, we're just going to have to agree to disagree on the Aubrey thing. Now let me call my mother-in-law and see if she can get her 1998 Chevy minivan over here and drive me to the office in between the speeds of 25 and 35 miles per hour. As for you, tell Adrian to get the elevator ready."

Mr. Whiskers: "Meow."

Dalton: "I DON'T CARE THAT WE DON'T HAVE AN ELEVATOR! TELL HIM TO GET IT READY ANYWAY!"

What an entrance! Just when you thought The Celebrity Apprentice could not get any more wonderfully absurd, along come Donald Trump and Mario Andretti in a race car, zooming through the streets of Manhattan CGI style before pulling up at the Natural History Museum for the big finale. This was an amazing entrance on many levels, beyond just the fact that Donald Trump arrived in a freakin' race car. There's also the fact that it was both daylight and raining outside — meaning this was clearly recorded on Tuesday day as opposed to Sunday night. There's the fact that over-enthusiastic sign language interpreter Jack Jason was in the aisle Trump walked down when he arrived, and was forced to awkwardly abort an attempted high five when the Donald just kept walking past him. (I would have thought someone who works with his hands that much for a living would have been a bit more agile.) And, of course, there's the fact that who was there to greet Trump on stage but none other than phony baloney Boardroom receptionist-turned-coat check girl Amanda Miller? What can't she do?

Trump in a race car? Jack Jason? Amanda Miller? It's as if someone raided my dreams and put them on national television! The only thing missing was the cast of Paradise Hotel cheering along from an onstage hot tub while the sweet sounds of Flickerstick blared out of the PA speakers. Of course, this bizarre entrance just made me long for the days when

. Get back on that, Probst! You just got Trumped!

So, while tonight was ostensibly about who would be named the next Celebrity Apprentice winner: Clay Aiken or Arsenio Hall (and Arsenio would ultimately take home the proverbial crown), the evening also offered up the promise of lots of head-scratching and side-splitting moments that can only be found when you put people named Gotti and Ferrigno on live TV. Before we get to the actual final task — and I will offer my take on who won each of the three elements (PSA, party, performance) — let's pay tribute to a few of those wonderfully crazy live shenanigans.

Celebrity Zombies

Well, they're not quite zombies, I suppose, but the finale is always a great opportunity to see contestants who were fired come back from the dead to offer confusing answers to even more confusing questions. Speaking of which, how appropriate that both father Mario and son Marco got more screen time than actual contestant Michael Andretti, who along with Cheryl Tiegs was completely MIA. Not that they were missed.

I honestly don't know which moment from the fired celebs was my favorite. Was it when Trump asked Victoria Gotti, "With the background you have, did that help with how well you did at Celebrity Apprentice?" even though she was the second person fired? (He also asked Adam if he did so well because he's a funny guy, even though Adam was fired seemingly back in 2003.) Was it when Lou Ferrigno bragged about raising $41,000 for his Muscular Dystrophy charity and then dropped the check triumphantly on Trump's desk? (Why is he giving the money to Trump? Shouldn't that go to someone from, you know, the actual Muscular Dystrophy Association?) Was it Adam saying that Teresa thinks the word naïve is "a brand of douche?"

No, the best moment for me was when Trump thought he would go in for some quick and harmless back and forth with Patricia Velásquez. "Mr. Trump, I am having really, really hard time," she began when asked how she was doing before going on about how 90 percent of the money she raised to build a school ended up going to the other team and now not only could she not build the school but she could not go back to her donors asking for more money since they had already given that money and it hadn't gone to where they intended. Trump's response to this sob story? "Well, you're doing well. You're doing well." Brilliant. Sweep that s--- under the carpet, sister! I got an entertainment show to run here!

The brush-off continued later with George Takei when Trump tried to cut Sulu off once he started talking about all the money he had raised outside of the show. The host was basically saying, "I don't give a crap about the money raised for charity. Let's go see a Lisa Lampanelli drag queen!" And you know what? He's right! I do want to see the Lisa Lampanelli drag queen!

The only live part of the finale that was a bit of a yawner was the Clay and Arsenio duet on "Lean on Me." For one thing, busting out a backup gospel choir is one of the biggest reality competition show clichés there is. Secondly, if I want to hear Arsenio Hall sing I'll go put on a

. And I do not want to go put on a Chunky A record.

As for the outcome, I long ago — right around the time Joan Rivers won over Annie Duke — stopped trying to figure out how these Donald decisions are made. What percentage is the final task? What percentage is the season as a whole? What percentage is who is more famous? What percentage is who is more likable? What percentage is whichever name Melania whispers in Trump's ear when he gets up in the morning? What percentage is whichever name Mario Andretti screams at him over the roar of an Indy Car series engine?

I'll break down the three elements of the task below but must say that for the season, I would have given it to Clay Aiken. Is that because he was my episode 1 pick to win so I would have looked like freakin' Nostradamus had he pulled it out? Partly, perhaps. But he was consistently sharp and more consistently involved. Plus, he didn't go berserk in the Boardroom as Arsenio did at Aubrey. But that's just me. Trump obviously felt differently. As for the final task, it was very, very close. Let's break it down by each of the three elements, starting with…

The Ads

Oh, you crafty Celebrity Apprentice producers. Much in the same way that old-school 7-Up pitchman Geoffrey Holder magically agreed to appear in John Rich's ad after last year's dramatic cliffhanger, we had a feeling that the sideways Magic Johnson snafu would be resolved about 20 seconds into this week's finale. And sure enough, up popped a proper camera angle of the basketball legend. Even knowing that was coming did not did not diminish the hilarity of last week's hijinks. The producers of this show truly know how to milk every possible second of dopey drama. They are geniuses, plain and simple.

Now that Arsenio had his Magic money shot, whose ad would come out on top? To me, this one wasn't even close. Clay's was earnest and fine. Arsenio's was memorable and fun. Now, don't get me wrong — some of the looks in Arsenio's ad didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Arsenio himself resembled a cross between Michael Jackson (with the jacket), Run-DMC (with the gold chain), and Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington (with the hair). But this was an ad to be shown at a party. People at parties like to laugh. And the sight of a dude in a handlebar mustache with a Bette Midler wig on is pretty damn funny. Throw in Magic Johnson not talking to a wall, and you have the makings of a pretty great PSA.

As for Clay's, it went for tears rather than cheers. It also was a bit of information overload. Clay was talking so fast I thought he was busting out his celebrated

. The ad wasn't bad, but it kind of looked like every other charity PSA you've ever seen — one that makes you feel vaguely bad about yourself for not helping disadvantaged people more before you find yourself being blissfully distracted from such unpleasantness by a delicious bowl of Cool Ranch Doritos. Speaking of which, I still can't figure out why Cool Ranch turned into Cooler Ranch for a few years, and then wentback to Cool Ranch. I can't handle that much confusion and indecision in a snack chip. Wait, what was Clay's PSA for again?

So in terms of the ad, I score this one a clear victory for Team Arsenio. After all, any spot that gets Adam Corolla looking like Prince & The Revolution drummer Bobby Z is good by me.

The Parties

Element two of the final task was the party. I'm not a big party guy. Parties involve too much, like, talking to people and stuff. Now, show me a party where Debbie Gibson is hula-hooping while spinning plates on sticks, and well, that's a whole other story! Last week the majority of the drama over Clay's party centered on Aiken's demand to see sketches from Debbie's cousin before he would allow her to paint a big mural on the wall.

Like most drama from penultimate Celebrity Apprentice episodes, this spat was resolved within minutes of the finale. But there is always new drama to be had if Aubrey O'Day is around. When some random dude in a baseball hat (who must have been important for some reason that was never explained) showed up, Clay began to introduce himself…only to watch Aubrey step in, hug, and then attempt to escort the man away. (I have a strange suspicion that is not the first time someone used the words "Aubrey" and "escort" in the same sentence.) But Clay is no push-over…unless he is being pushed by Ruben Studdard, of course. (Have you seen The Velvet Teddy Bear? That dude is huge! He could push Clay two states over.) "You want to let me do this since this is my show?" Clay asked rhetorically. Oh, snap! Wait, do people say "snap" anymore? I may be dating myself, which is bad news when you're around Aubrey because she's likely to make approximately 1,372 age jokes at your expense. Especially if your name is Tia Carrere.

Well, needless to say, Aubrey did not appreciate being reminded that she was no longer the center of attention. "If I wasn't here, he wouldn't have a show," Aubrey informed us. That's a catty comment to make, but I will say this: Clay put Aubrey in charge of getting the party together and the party was going to look awesome…if they could just get the painting done, that is. To get the room completed in time, they had to pull out all the stops, including forcing a mute magician into manual labor. And while Teller was busy with a paint brush, what was Clay Aiken up to? He was busy getting trashed!

Unfortunately, that is not to imply Clay was drunk. I say unfortunately because had he gone and gotten wasted for his final task this would have been the best Celebrity Apprentice finale of all time. (If only Dennis Rodman had made the finals back in season 2. Now that guy you know would have been hammered.) But no, the trashed I refer to is due to the fact that Clay Aiken eschewed his business attire for an actual trash bag, which he then put on over his shirt and tie. Was Clay modeling the latest hot and hip fashion from Ivanka's clothing line? Nope, he was painting the walls like everyone else.

We saw far less preparation from Team Arsenio because their party was far less elaborate, with no discernable theme to speak of. And while Arsenio had a clear edge in the number of celebrity check givers — he counted Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Georg Lopez, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno again, and a drag queen version of Lisa Lampanelli; Clay's only truly big name was Kelly Clarkson — Clay brought in a lot more money: $301,500 to $167,100. When it came to actual celebrity attendees, it was a tight race as Clay welcomed Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser, while Arsenio had Whoopi on his arm…and yes, I realize how unfortunate the phrase "Whoopi on your arm" is.

But the bottom line is this: Clay's party was unique, fun, and fabulous looking. Arsenio's resembled any other Manhattan cocktail party. Just a little too sleek for my taste. Arsenio may have won the ad, but I score the party a clear victory for Clay.

The Performances

Whether you preferred Arsenio's variety show or Clay's probably depends on whether you like comedy or crooning. The danger with comedy is that if it doesn't work, it really falls flat (see: Paul Teutul, Sr. attempting to ad lib on stage). The danger with singing is that different people have different tastes. A Twisted Sister fan probably doesn't want to hear a whole lot of Debbie Gibson, and vice versa.

Adam, Lisa, and Arsenio are all professional comedians, so they knew how to work a room. Sure, cracking jokes about Trump's hair isn't exactly reinventing the comedy wheel, but I'm assuming the goal here was to make the comedy as broad as possible. Lisa also made a joke about how unshocked she was when Clay finally came out of the closet, commenting that "the only thing that's Aiken is Clay's ass!" Zing!

Clay's show was just…bizarre. It began with Dee Snider and Debbie Gibson serenading each other with "Baby Love," causing Dee to recycle his joke from last week about how he would have punched someone in the nose if he'd been told back in the '80s that he would be singing with Debbie Gibson. Why does the mere mention of Debbie Gibson's name keep making Dee Snider want to punch people in the face? Was he more of a Tiffany man or something? What's the real story here? Shake your hate, Dee!

Dee and Debbie then turned the stage over to Aubrey, who performed "I Will Survive" — although I'm not sure Aubrey technically "survived" this competition since she was…you know, fired and all. Any questions over the literal accuracy of the song in question were immediately washed away, however, by much more pressing matters — namely, why is Penn Jillette grinding and dirty dancing all over Aubrey? This was very uncomfortable to watch.

Speaking of uncomfortable, Dee and Debbie are back! The less-than-dynamic duo at least busted out some of their songs this time, constantly interrupting each other to do it. MASHUP!!! Finally, Clay took the stage. I was personally hoping for a little American Idol flashback with "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (which would have certainly fit the charity theme), but instead of Simon & Garfunkel, he went for another duo instead: Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes! Don't worry, I have no idea who they are either, but after a quick Google search it appears that they apparently sang that Dirty Dancing song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."

But Clay doesn't go this one alone. Aubrey O'Day storms the stage to join in, sucking face with Clay for the second time while she's at it. And then out come Dee and Debbie as well. The fact that heavy metal god Dee Snider is now singing the theme from Dirty Dancing in a cruise ship type revue kind of makes me want to punch him in the nose. And you know what, '80s Dee Snider would be kicking 2012 Dee Snider's ass as well, because THAT DUDE IS NOT GONNA TAKE IT!

While Arsenio clearly won the ad, and Clay clearly won the party, the show is a hard one to call. I mean, make no mistake, Team Clay's performance was so cheesy there was a pool of Velveeta literally congealing on the stage when they were done. But often cheesy is funny — unintentionally funny perhaps, but funny nonetheless. So I'm going to go ahead and score this one a draw. Of course the best part of either performance is the fact that it became abundantly clear in the Boardroom later that Donald Trump had never heard "We're Not Gonna Take it" before in his life. "I love that song!" he gushed. "You must have a lot of money in the bank. That song is big! That's a biggie!" He's right, it was big…28 YEARS AGO! Trump can slap that song on his iPod right in between some other hot new jamz: Baltimora's "Tarzan Boy" and Peter Schilling's "Major Tom."

But Trump, of course, did not score this season a draw. He scored it a win for Arsenio. I don't necessarily think it's the right call, but it's not a surprising one either considering Arsenio's fame and ability to bring in the even more famous Magic Johnson. What do you think? Did Trump blow it, or get it right? Hit the message boards and let us know. And if for some reason you missed it, make sure to check out ourhilarious podcast interview with Arsenio and Clay in which they relive the highs and lows of the entire season. And hardcore fans will definitely want to listen in on our exclusive podcast interview with Boardroom receptionist Amanda Miller. Plus: I just posted a brand new interview with winner Arsenio from this morning. And that, ladies and gentlemen, will officially conclude another jaw dropping season of inanity and insanity.

Thanks to all of you for playing along all season. Your kind words have been much appreciated, and just knowing there are other loonies out there as obsessed with this wonderfully ridiculous television show as I am has made me feel just a little more sane. Not a lot. But a little. I'll see you again in 2013, and until then, for more reality ramblings all year long you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. And now as we wave goodbye, say it with me one last time: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!

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cinemablend.com

The Celebrity Apprentice: And the Winner Is...

The Celebrity Apprentice: And The Winner Is...

Author:

Kelly West

published: 2012-05-20 21:17:13

the_celebrity_apprentice_42706.jpg

After weeks of challenges, thousands of dollars or more raised and a fair amount of drama, the fifth Celebrity Apprentice season drew to a close tonight as Donald Trump declared one man the winner. Would we call the results an upset? I don't know about that, as the winning contestant is certainly one of the more likable contestants of the season. But I really can't say I saw it coming.

A couple of weeks ago, I would have put money down that this season of Celebrity Apprentice was going to come down to Clay and Aubrey. Clay has played well all season and Aubrey's aggressive approach hadn't gone unnoticed by Donald Trump. But I was wrong when I predicted that Clay Aiken had this season in the bag going into tonight's finale, so it's a good thing I'm not a betting kind of woman or I would've been out some serious money this season.

Tonight's two-hour finale took us through the final challenge, which wasn't nearly as exciting or dramatic as some of the previous challenges we'd gotten to see. When things left off last week, it seemed like Arsenio was stuck with a bizarre video of Magic Johnson facing sideways (I still don't understand how anyone thought that having Magic facing sideways was what they were being asked to deliver), and Clay was having difficulties with Debbie Gibson over a mural that seemed like a very minor detail in the grand scheme of the whole task. Tonight, that drama seemed to be resolved and from what we were shown of Arsenio's video, they got some footage of Magic facing forward.

All of the returning contestants seemed to be in good spirits as they returned for the finale and laughed at the footage shown, which included a montage of Lou Ferrigno saying 110% a lot, and Lisa's many swearing tirades. Aubrey delivered a sort of prepared speech about how she behaved, which included mentioning not wanting anyone to feel bad. It felt rehearsed but came off as gracious, and on a semi-related note, I think I like the blond much better than the red. Tension seemed somewhat minimal though over all, at least by comparison to what we'd seen between the contestants over the course of the season, and in the end, it was impossible to tell which way Donald was leaning. In fact, he seemed happy with both Clay and Arsenio, so it wasn't really all that clear to me why he went with Arsenio, other than maybe because he was undefeated.

Over all, it was a just-ok end to a solid season. Aubrey at the table in the final two might have made for a more tension-filled and exciting finale, but that's not how it played out. It came down to Clay and Arsenio, and Donald went with Arsenio for the win. I would have gone with Clay, given how he performed all season, but once again he came in second. With that said, as a fan of Arsenio, it's difficult to be disappointed by the outcome of the season in general.

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Clay Aiken at "The Celebrity Apprentice" 2012 Season-Finale After-Party

Clay Aiken at 'The Celebrity Apprentice' 2012 season-finale after-party

Carla Hay

Celebrity Q&A Examiner

"The Celebrity Apprentice" 2012 was the most competitive season for the show so far, since there were more contestants (18) in one season than in any other previous season for the show. In the end, comedian/actor/TV host Arsenio Hall was named the winner, and he received the grand prize of $250,000 for his charity of choice: The Magic Johnson Foundation. (Second place went to "American Idol" 2003 finalist Clay Aiken.) "The Celebrity Apprentice," which is executive produced and hosted by Donald Trump (who chooses the winner), features celebrities competing for their selected charities. Hall was named the winner in a live season finale on May 20, 2012. The season finale and after-party were held at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I had a chance to briefly interview several of the stars at the after-party. Here is what this "Celebrity Apprentice" star said.

CLAY AIKEN

How are you feeling right now?

I'm good. I'm perfectly happy for my friend Arsenio.

Before you were on "American Idol," you were a teacher for special-needs children. And you obviously started your charity, the National Inclusion Project, to help children. Can you talk about your first experiences working with kids?

I went to school and worked at YMCAs a lot. I got the experience there and fell in love with it.

It's obviously nerve-racking to be part of this type of competition, especially when you have to find out on live TV if you won or not. What was the easiest thing about tonight for you?

The singing was easy. That was the most effortless part of the evening.

You're very close to your mother. Have you had a chance to talk to her yet tonight?

I haven't talked to my mom yet. I haven't seen her yet. I'm sure she's fine. I'm sure she's probably resolving the fact that the National Inclusion Project is going to raise so much money from people from sympathy voting and sending in sympathy money because I didn't win. So I think we're going to raise just as much as ["The Celebrity Apprentice" $250,000 grand prize]. I'm thrilled for Arsenio. And I'm excited about counting the checks for the foundation.

Were you surprised that you didn't win?

I'm sure there were people who would have been surprised if I had won. It's kind of an either/or thing. Everyone wants somebody to win.

[He says jokingly] I think we've seen Arsenio cry a lot this season. And Mr. Trump knew I could handle it. Arsenio cried so much that Mr. Trump didn't want to hurt his feelings.

What is the biggest lesson you learned from being on "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

[He says jokingly] Never to do a reality competition with a black guy.

There's a lot of people on the Internet who are upset that you didn't win. What do you have to say to them?

These people who are crying out in protest need to vote with their wallets and go to InclusionProject.org so we can raise $250,000 — and it'll all be fine.

How would you sum up your experience on "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

This has been a long process and a fun process sometimes and an exhausting process at other times. I've been happy to be a part of it. I'm happy for it to be over. I get to sleep in tomorrow. Arsenio has to get up early tomorrow to do the "Today" show, but I get to sleep in.

You became famous because of "American Idol." And now you've done "The Celebrity Apprentice." Do you think you'll do another reality show?

Hell no! [He says jokingly] I'll never do another reality show with a black guy again. It does not work in my favor.

You're the first "American Idol" alum to be on "The Celebrity Apprentice." Why do you think it took so long for someone from "American Idol" to be on "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

Let me make it very clear: Not many Idols can do this. I know many of them, and they could not be successful at this. I think the goal was to prove that I'm not completely stupid, and if that worked, then great!

Obviously, you wanted to win, but as you watched in the live season finale how Arsenio handled his final task, did your expectations about winning change at all?

I was expecting him or me to win. Arsenio's been nervous all day, because he's never done a live results show. I've done so many of them that I was much more calm. I knew there was no way to determine what was going to happen in the results. So I didn't think about it too much. I just thought, "Mr. Trump will just say [his decision], and when he says it, I'll know."

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rollingstone.com

"Celebrity Apprentice" Recap: Nice Guys Finish Second

'Celebrity Apprentice' Recap: Nice Guys Finish Secondebrity Apprentice' Recap: Nice Guys Finish Second

Arsenio Hall steals this season's crown

main.jpgArsenio Hall and Clay Aiken during the live finale of 'The Celebrity Apprentice.'Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

May 21, 2012 9:55 AM ET

For the past three months, viewers have borne witness to what has become a winning formula in reality TV: loudmouthed, oftentimes obnoxious people bickering with one another. That it happens to be celebrities – and b-list ones, at that – in the case of The Celebrity Apprentice might just explain why Donald Trump's long-running show has been so damn popular. This season, which wrapped on Sunday, was no different; a cast of 18 celebrities (more than ever!) were assigned entry-level tasks, project managers raised money for their charities and, of course, feelings were hurt and egos stomped upon. Basically, it had all the trappings of a great show.

Now we stand at the end. And two contestants remain: late-night "legend" Arsenio Hall and American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken. The final episode was billed as a "live finale." All this meant is that Donald Trump would gather a bunch of snooty people at the American Museum of Natural History, bring out the fired contestants for tell-all deliciousness and, after a few hours of delay, crown the winner.

After Trump arrives at the live finale by way of a cheesy intro that sees him in the backseat of an Indy car with Mario Andretti, we pick up from last week. In the previous episode, both finalists were given their final task. First, however, they had to divvy up a crop of their previously-fired peers and make teams. After doing so, it was time to plan a charity event, work on a PSA and begin putting together a variety show. Ultimately, the host of the best charity event would take the Celebrity Apprentice crown and $250,000 for his charity.

On Team Arsenio, Adam Carolla hired an L.A. video team to put together the team's PSA. Hall's charity was the Magic Johnson Foundation, so he thought it essential that Johnson himself appear in the ad. Carolla's video team shot the footage of Johnson out in California, but when it arrived in New York, they discovered it had been shot at the wrong angle. Of course, only a few minutes into the show, Hall and Carolla discover there's a better take of Johnson, and all is well.

On Team Clay, there was tension between Debbie Gibson and Aiken; the disagreement hinged on Gibson getting her cousin, a painter, to come draw a mural for the team's event. But Aiken wanted to first see the cousin's work before agreeing to let her paint. Again, all is quickly resolved when Gibson shows Aiken some of her cousin's previous work. OK, so now what? We've got nearly two hours to kill.

Both teams put the finishing touches on their parties – Aiken's has a carnival theme and Hall's is, well, just a party. The teams also have 75 tickets to sell for charity. Big donors shell out cash to both squads. Aiken gets $10K from fellow Idol alum Kelly Clarkson; Hall snags $15K from Jay Leno and $5K from Chris Rock and George Lopez, respectively. Both parties, separated by only a curtain, are quite successful. Midway through the shindigs, the curtain falls and all congregate to watch both teams' variety shows. Hall, having the likes of Carolla and Lisa Lampanelli on his team, opts for a comedy routine that, albeit a bit raunchy, goes over well. Aiken, meanwhile, has Gibson, Aubrey O'Day and Dee Snider on his squad, so naturally his is a musical performance. Aiken has a slight edge here; his team's performance is surprisingly sharp, with Snider and Gibson duetting on "We're Not Gonna Take It" before Aiken croons to "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."

Cut back to the live finale. Trump brings out the fired contestants and wants their take on the season. Here's a brief rundown of what they think: People think it's funny that Lou Ferrigno says "110 percent" a lot; Dayana Mendoza still hates Lampanelli; Victoria Gotti also hates Lisa; Patricia Velasquez is still sad she didn't win money for her charity; Tia Carrere hates – you guessed it – Lisa.

It's time for our final boardroom. First, who raised more money? It's Aiken by a long shot ($301,500 to Hall's $167,100, to be exact). Before Trump grills the finalists and announces his decision, it's time for an extremely odd "Lean on Me" duet by Aiken and Hall.

OK, now that that's out of the way, it's game time! Aiken tells Trump he's exceeded his own expectations. Hall wants a late-night show and says he's been playing in honor of his late cousin. "I've never been so torn," Trump says of his tough decision. But he has to choose, right? OK. So who's it gonna be? Trump beings, "The winner of The Celebrity Apprentice is . . . ARSENIO HALL!"

Oh, snap! Hall takes it! That's two runner-up finishes for Aiken. Ouch!

So there you have it, people. If this doesn't revive Hall's career, we're thinking nothing will. Ah, the beauty of The Celebrity Apprentice: giving has-beens one more shot at a career that never was since 2008.

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"Celebrity Apprentice" Finale: Top 5 Behind-the-Scenes Moments

'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale: Top 5 Behind-The-Scenes Moments

Posted 5 hours ago by MTV News in Television

celeb-apprentice.jpg

By James Dinh and Uptin Saiidi (@

uptin )

New York, NY - It's been a three-month long TV addiction, but we've made it to the very end. On Sunday night (May 20), we took our Trump fandom to the next level and attended the live finale of the Donald's "

Celebrity Apprentice ," which saw talk show staple Arsenio Hall best Clay Aiken for the famed title.

Viewers were treated to a fair share of reality television goodness, but somewhere in between the camera angles and edits were a string of behind-the-scenes moments that didn't make the air.

So without further ado, peep our five OMG-worthy moments from last night's Trump event at the American Museum of Natural History:

1.) In between keeping tabs on all the on and off stage antics, it wasn't hard to catch a glimpse of some familiar faces sitting in the audience. Spotted among the seating crowd in the American Museum of Natural History was last season's sign language interpreter Jack Jason, Teresa Giudice's husband Joe and, of course, Donald's favorite TV receptionist, Amanda.

2.) Aubrey's Aubtourage was out in full force last night ... Or at least a group of them sitting in the upper balcony. Throughout the two-hour long event, the audience members shouted out the pop star's name, and every time there was a commercial break the stage manager tried to put an end to it by telling them to shout during commercials to get it out of their system. Although he tried to reason with them, they continued shouting, making some of the audience members very annoyed and giving Aubs a good chuckle. No word on if they ended up getting kicked out or not.

3.) Remember when Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall sang their brotherly rendition of "Lean On Me"? Well, the part you didn't see on TV was that standing in the audience was a production person quickly shuffling through cue cards. That's right. Are the lyrics of "Lean On Me" really that hard to memorize?

4.) We know there've been a lot of feuds on this season and the off-camera tension was palpable. On stage, during commercial breaks, the contestants barely interacted with one another. Although, we could see off-camera there was a genuine friendship between Clay and Aresenio. Lisa and Aubrey were also some of the only contestants to talk during the breaks.

5.) Once the cameras stopped rolling and the confetti fell to the floor, the Trumps and this season's star competitors stayed on stage for some mingling as friends, family and your average audience attendees were welcomed on stage for a brief chat and a quick photo opp.

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tvgasm.com

Celebrity Apprentice Finale: The Wrong Man Wins -- AGAIN!

Greetings Gasmii,

I have to warn you right now that I'm in aterrible mood over this final episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

For one thing, it was boring as all hell. Itgot so bad that I finally started working while I was watching it and managedto hem a few curtains, repair a pants seam, modify two pillow cases, finish ababy blanket for a friend and tailor a dress for a wedding. Seriously, I gotall that done while Sparky droned on and on. You'd think I'd be in a bettermood with all that productiveness, but nothing will assuage the bull shit thatproved to be this season. I guess the sooner I get this thing started the soonerit will be over with and I can go crawl up with a good romance novel and forgetthe last 14 weeks ever happened.

The episode starts off with what I think is acommercial for a glass hoarders episode.

Donald-Brags.jpgConsidering one is a cross, I'm guessing the set dec departmenthit every

garage sale in NYC to show offhis wall of accolades.

But nope, turns out itwasn't a commercial because suddenly before our very eyes appears the hideousman himself, "acting" his way out of a paper bag. As he busily takes a phonecall from the Mayor of NYC ('cause he's in like that), a voice pipes up tellinghim he will be late for the finale. He commands said script supervisor to gethim the fastest driver anywhere in the world. He then tells the "mayor" he hasto go because they are doing a live finale of Celebrity Apprentice and that isway more important than chit-chatting with the man who runs the largest city inthe United States.

Trump-on-phone-frown.jpgHe assures the mayor that this episode is going to be amazing.

Don't you believe it,readers.

Its-a-trap.jpgRun. Save yourselves. I have to take this bullet, but you canstill get away.

The Donald struts out of hisoffice as a live audience watches and claps. He tells us how this epicdrama started with 18 celebrities and after 15 weeks it has all boiled down toa battle between Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall. He's got a tough decision aheadof him … not really.

It's obvious who should win.Whether or not he does win will be determined by how contrived the show trulyis. Will this be a case of the best man winning; a show that celebrates theorganic nature of the competition, or will this all have been a total ruse andhoax from the beginning? Since I'm in a bad mood, let me spoil it for you. Theanswer is B.

If nothing else willconvince you of how over the top and false this whole thing is, maybe the nextbit will. Donald steps on to the rainy streets of New York (did you notice thatevery time a fired celeb left the building, it was just after a good rain? Wasthat a contrived metaphor?). Anyway, Sparks emerges from the giant phallicobject bearing his name to "discover" another phallic object parked and waitingto whisk him to the finale. Apparently it is an integral part of the drama toobserve Sparky's commute.

Donald-catches-a-ride.jpgWhy Mario Andretti, look how completely shocked I am that

you are here waiting to give mea ride. I'm acting with my body.

See how I did that?

So Mario races through thestreets of NYC, but we never see a shot of Sparks in the car. Naturally,because he would never, ever allow himself to be filmed in a manner that mightthreaten his accessories. And by accessories I mean toupe. And so, as they pullup to the American Museum of Natural History, we are led to believe that thisis how Sparks looks after tearing through NYC with no helmet:

Donald-in-car.jpgHere, he employs method acting by recalling the triumph

of a night where no viagra wasneeded.

And the paid crowd goes wild.

Standing O's as he entersthe building. He hasn't even done anything yet but act like a giant egotisticaldouche. Oh wait, that wasn't acting.

Donald-enters-building.jpgSeriously, people?

Finally after a bunchmore filler and the opening credits, we get back down to business where we leftoff last week. Arsenio and Adam are in the editing room and they've justdiscovered the footage from Magic Johnson is unusable.

Arsenio-worried1.jpgIsn't it?

Magic-faces-front.jpgHells no!

Thank you for the pointlesscliffhanger of fabricated drama.

What about the Debbie muraldrama in Clay's camp? Is that going to be a true moment of drama? Is she goingto leave the show? Nope. She does bitch about how "suddenly" Clay wants to seea sketch – I'm not sure why this was not possible to be conveyed when she firstcalled her cousin, since Clay has been requesting it all along. Whatever. IfI'm covering this shit, I need a drink. (And I quit drinking). Expect buzzedrambling by the end of this recap. Sorry.

clay-eyeliner.jpgYou can't convince me that isn't eye liner!

Blah, blah, blah they try tocreate some drama with the mural thing. The only thing I get out of it is thatDebbie says she needs to be calm and centered to "be in good voice", which isimpossible when she's so stressed out about the mural and still has to do themusic.

Debbie-good-voice.jpg

Debbi-this-makes-voice-good.jpg

And I thought this was the onlything that made her be "in good voice."

Man, am I bitchy today, orwhat? And it's not even that time of the month. I blame it all on Donald Trump.

Trump-no-hair.jpgPhotoshopped, but hilarious, nevertheless.

We come back from thecommercial and Trump introduces his family, which he says is more importantthan business.

Trump-Family.jpgIvanka and Eric are in attendance.

DJ-hunting.jpgDorkus Amongus is busy promoting the Trump's new eco-friendlybrand.

Baron-wants-out.jpgPoor Baron just wants to go ride his bike.

Finally we get back tothe drama. It's the morning of the big event. Clay's team is riding in theirvan and talking preparation. Aubrey has already got her hair prepared for thebig show.

Aubrey-hair-in-clips.jpgFor some reason, in this picture, she reminds me of

Eleanor Abernathy beforethe big transformation.

Finally, the morning of theevent, Debbie provides something to Clay that proves her cousin isn't a specialed scribbler.

Debbie-shows-Clay.jpgLooks good. Give her the green light. She has fifteen minutes toget it done.

Arsenio's team has arrivedat the space where the big event will be held. They are strategizing theirperformance concept and Adam plans on writing a few jokes for Teresa and Paulto add them to the mix. He also wants to roast Arsenio.

Arsenio-wants-it-his-way.jpgAn offensive roast isn't going to compete with

Mr. Feelgood PG guy andhis handicapped children!

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Part 2

Poor Adam seems at a loss. He thinks he has aresponsibility to come up with all the ideas since he was picked first, butArsenio has shot down quite a few of his contributions. Plus his comedy isalways a roast or self deprecating, so if he can't do that, he has no idea howto be funny.

Adam-Carolla-muppet.jpg

Muppet.jpg

Someone should explain howfunny his face is all by itself.

Arsenio-cant-boss-around.jpgArsenio hates to shoot down people's creative ideas.

This man is a sweet man,but he is no leader.

Clay is realizing histeam has a ton of work to do and they may not get it all done in time. Whensome guy arrives that Aubrey knows, she interrupts Clay's greeting of the manto offer to show him around. Clay intercepts her and asks if she minds if hehelms the situation.

Aubrey-snake-eyes.jpg

Serpent-eyes.jpg

For once, Aubrey accidentallylets her serpent glare shine through.

Debbie's cousin is here and although Aubreyand Debbie are irritated that Clay wants to run the entire show, the cousinseems to understand who is really in charge.

Debbies-cousin.jpgCan you imagine Christmas at Grandma's when she and Debbie wereteens?

At Team Arsenio, they aredecorating their space. Arsenio tells us his plan is to keep it simple.Sophisticated decor and lots of booze.

Teresa-decoration.jpgThere is no doubt Teresa's forte is party planning and decoration.

Meanwhile, in Clay's camp,the mural is taking longer than expected.

Clay-paints.jpgClay is definitely taking a hands on approach to this task.

He dons a giant garbage bagand begins to paint. He also gets Aubrey and Penn in there wielding a paintbrush.

Teller-paints.jpgHe may lose points for pressing volunteers into slavery, though.

And so, with unknown reasonsfor applause, we cut back to Trump and the live show currently in progress. Heintroduces the fired contestants and out comes everyone who isn't currentlyserving Clay or Arsenio. Except we are missing Michael Andretti and CherylTiegs. Can't say that I blame them.

Fired-contestants.jpgI would be too pissed to participate in this sham if I was them!

Oh my f*ing God! After thecommercial we cut to Lou saying he gave 110% twelve times. I thought we weredone with that. Ugh! But Lou is laughing as Dorkus Amongus is shown discussinghow 110% is a mathematical impossibility.

Lou-shape-shifter.jpgTurns out, Lou is a shape shifter, so maybe he really can do theimpossible.

Lou tells us that he justhad surgery six weeks ago and now, for the first time in his life, he can hearwithout the help of a hearing aid. The crowd rightfully cheers, but Lou holdsup a finger to silence them. Then he rises to his feet and starts heading toDonald Trump. What's he up to? As he walks towards Sparky, he says, everyonemakes fun of him for saying 110%, but he raised $41,000 for his charity, theMuscular Dystrophy Association. With that, he tosses an envelope on the desk infront of Sparky.

Donald-a-secretary.jpgAwkward Moment #1: Lou thinks Donald Trump is his secretary.

"File this for me,bitch!"

Sparky asks Dayana what shethought of Lisa.

Dayana-hates-Lisa.jpgShe's as much of a cerdo as you are, sir.

Awkward Moment #2: Sparkyasks Dayana if she had a good time on the show and she pauses before saying,"Thank you for the opportunity."

"Victoria, you come from asmart, tough family."

Victoria-SNL-lampoon.jpgBut now you look like a Kristen Wiig impersonation of yourself.

"Did that help in terms ofdoing so well with Celebrity Apprentice."

Victoria-doing-so-well.jpgDoing so well? I was the second one fired. Do you even know

what the hell you arereading off those cue cards?

Trump then turns to Patriciaand says her heart was broken when she lost money she raised for the WayutayaFoundation. He wants to know how she's doing now.

Patricia-has-hard-time.jpg"Mr. Trump, I am having a really, really hard time, because theWayutaya Foundation

I started to save thelives in an area where one kid was dying a day; I've saved hundreds of

lives, and, ah, becauseof the money going to the other team, this is money that I personally

raised myself. 90% ofthe money went to the other team. I was going to finish a school

where the kids wouldhave two meals a day. Not only have I not been able to finish

the school, but at thesame time, I have not been able to raise the money that

I lost, so it's been achallenge."

Trump-not-even-listening.jpgGood for you for doing so well.

WTF??? Is this idiot even listening to whatshe is saying?

Tia observes that thedivisive nature of certain unnamed girls resulted in an all boys finale, whichis telling. George appreciates how gently Trump let him go and says theexposure helped him raise contributions for his charity. George explains thathe's received something like ten thousand dollars for the museum. Since Sparkydoesn't care he interrupts George as George is trying to add that he personallydonated another fifty thousand.

Trump-interrupts.jpgShut up, George. That isn't on the cue cards.

Seriously, how can he evenread the cards through those tiny slits?

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Part 3

Trump leads us into a flashback as the finaltask continues. My husband has just turned on Game of Thrones and I'm moreintrigued by the kidnapped dragons and their terribly acting mother than I amabout what happens next on this show.

So there is a line formingoutside the venue and Lisa asks the people in line to raise their hands if theyare in line to see Arsenio. Crickets. When Clay asks who is there to see Clay,nearly everyone raisess their hand.

Arsenio-where-my-peeps.jpgWhere my peeps at?

Arsenioo explains to us thatall his people are on CP time (colored people time). Even his white friendssuffer from this affliction. But slowly the donors start pouring in for bothteams. They seem to be doing well with big name stars sending unknown reps todeliver their checks ranging from five thousand to twenty thousand.

marco-Andretti.jpgMarco Andretti finally makes an appearance and blesses Arseniowith his donoation.

Lisa has hired a drag gueento deliver her donation to Clay's team. The impersonator looks like a betterLisa than the real thing!

Drag-Lisa.jpgShe does a mean Carney Wilson, too.

Lisa-which-is-real.jpgCan you tell which one is the real Lisa Lampoonelli?

Clay's party has started andit seems like things are going well.

Clay-party-started.jpgThere's no doubt Debbie can multi-task.

Clay is pleased that Trumparrives and the first thing he sees is Debbie peforming a circus trick. Hethinks it will help establish the carnival atmosphere in Sparky's aging brain.But it isn't long before Aubrey homes in on the action.

Aubrey-takes-over.jpg"It's important that I'm by Mr. Trump's side every moment becausethis is my party."

Clay-back-off-Aubrey.jpgBack off, my little fag hag. This isn't your competition.

Trump heads over to checkout the sitch at Arsenio's party.

Arsenio-Trump-we-good.jpgWe still good on that secret deal? Yeah, we good.

True to Arsenio'sexplanation, Whoopi Goldberg arrives quite late.

Whoopi-arrives.jpgShe's on VIP CP time.

Clay and Arsenio each tug acord and the curtains come down, allowing both of their parties to flowtogether. It is time for the performance, but we are sucked back for more realtime "entertainment" by squinty eyes.

Trump-f-you-Luscious.jpgF* you, Luscious. This shit isn't easy.

Trump introduces the rest ofthe fired contestants, the ones who helped out with the final task. Heimmediately turns to Aubrey and asks why everyone hated her. She looks muchbetter as a blonde, although her dress reminds me of my mom's nightgown fromthe 1970′s.

Aubrey-lights-up.jpgI suffer from being an amazing person that no one understands,

blah blah blah I wanteveryone to feel better about themselves

when they walk away fromme so this was a teaching moment,

blah, blah, senselessblah.

Trump turns to Lisa next andI completely forgot the clip he shows where she tells the girls team theyaren't going to be the typical catty, mean and bitchy women's team. Then theyproceed to show multiple clips of her doing just that. Love it!

Lisa-I-am-brilliant.jpgI am hilarious AND brilliant!

Lisa blames it on menopause. To back up thatstatement, Trump shows a series of clips where Lisa is crying. The best part ofall is when they show the clip of Dayana imitating a crying Lisa.

Dayana-crowd-goes-wild.jpgThe crowd goes wild!

Lisa says she loves theimpersonation and she can take it as well as she can dish it out.

Trump turns to Adam and askshim if his ability to be a funny guy helped him do so well in CelebrityApprentice.

Adam-did-not-do-well.jpgDo well? I got fired as project manager for a gay car that Inailed

the presentation on. Howcan you call that doing well?

Trump asks Teresa if she isnaive as Adam claimed she was. Adam says Teresa thinks that is a brand ofdouche.

Teresa-I-know-naive.jpgI know what naive means.

Teresa explains that she isnot at all naive. Instead she is a little too trusting. The fact that that issomething naive people practice is irrelevant.

Teresa-naive.jpgI think it was naive of her to believe her stylist

that Star BelliedSneetches were back in.

Dee tells Trump that thefinger is still funky and he's had two more surgeries and might need more. Butall in all he's doing well.

Dee-broken-finger.jpgHe says he's still able to autograph copies of his new book thatjust came out.

Paul tells us the teddy bearwe saw on CA is really who he is, rather than the wrench throwing abusivefather we've all seen on his show. Trump asks Penn if he was surprised thatClay picked him for his team, since they've had problems. He says it makessense because Clay really wants to win.

Penn-glasses-too-small.jpgThese glasses are ridiculously too small.

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