Show of hands... How many folks did I upset this week? Ha ha.
I must say, this week was certainly one of the most frustrating tasks of all for me. I'm not sure if you discerned that from the episode or not. ;-)
When I heard the words "write and perform a jingle" come out of Mr. Trump's mouth, my heart sank. After weeks and weeks of doing task after task that I was not always completely comfortable with or "in my wheelhouse" with, finally a task that I knew something about!! When Dayana stepped up immediately and said she wanted to be PM, I was a little surprised. Since I had been PM the week before, I assumed I would not be up to bat again, but in a task that would require live performance and writing, Lisa seemed a better fit to me. In addition to performing live for over 20 years, Lisa went to Harvard, was an editor at Rolling Stone and generally is the best writer amongst all of the contestants on the whole season. When I asked Dayana, "Are you sure?" (which I actually did at least two more times that were cut out), I was hoping to encourage her to suggest that maybe I should break convention and repeat as PM, but alas!
Lisa was the first person in the car to suggest the Frankie Valli connection. The Good Sam mascot has a very buttoned down Father Knows Best look to him; the company was established in the '60s, and as a singer, I tend to gravitate towards that styling. Additionally, our feeling was that with the success of shows like "Jersey Boys," "Hairspray" and "Memphis" on Broadway (not to mention with Mad Men on TV), the '60s were a perfect style that would appeal to a broad range of ages.
I certainly can't blame Dayana for not knowing American musical styles, and as project manager, I knew that she needed to be the one to make the final decision. When the band arrived, we chose a basic chord progression, and I asked them to play those chords in the style of Duran Duran (Dayana's favorite), disco, funk, blues, '80s Chicago power ballad, soul, country, bluegrass... you name it, we went through it. I even asked them to play it like The Carpenters would have (a personal favorite of mine, though not appropriate for the task). It wasn't until 45 minutes later, countless styles rejected by Dayana that I finally asked them to play a Frankie Valli, mid-60s pop sound. Dayana liked it right away and said that's what she wanted.
It's very important that it's stated that the blow up by Lisa after Don Jr. arrived DID come after hours of a GREAT deal of patience by Lisa. I have always said (and Lisa knows it) that I don't necessarily like to handle things in the way she does, but Lisa's feelings of hurt and anger were justified after having her massive amounts of work minimized. That exchange actually went on for about 15 minutes and ended up making its way out in the hall where Lisa and Don had a long talk, and Lisa vented her feelings. (I joked to Don, "You see, you think it's funny. You get to leave and go back to your office. I have to clean this up!! Thanks for coming in and stirring the turd so I have to smell it all day!" ...He was a great sport and was so enjoyable to work with.)
I went and tried to discuss with Dayana how what she had said upset Lisa. Despite having incredible conversational English, Dayana sometimes mixes up words, and what she explained to me was that when she said "loud," she was just trying to say Lisa was a strong player. I tried to tell her that praising me for all of my work and then not recognizing that Lisa had done a LOT as well was enough to be insulting. She said okay, but I don't think it mattered to her. Her apology to Lisa was pretty insincere. But the blood between the two of them is so bad now by week 12 that I don't think anything would smooth it over.
Despite Dayana's beauty and occasional good contribution, she can suffer from what we spoke about weeks ago with regard to Lou. In order to feel like she is having input, she often comes up with (last minute) suggestions that don't make sense. For a performance set in the '60s, she believed that we needed a hippie to be on stage. I tried for 10 minutes to explain to her that the hippies we think of didn't really come about until the late '60s and that having a hippie on stage would not fit with our theme. It was ideas like that that peppered the entire first part of the task until finally Dayana decided to focus in on cutting and pasting things from the Good Sam website onto placards to hand out.
Folks... it took two hours!!!! I was done with recording the band, the background singers and myself. I had finished producing the track and the vocals and had multiple copies burned and sent of to various places. Lisa had written the lyrics and the script, designed the presentation and gone shopping for the costumes and come back. All of this before Dayana decided to start on "graphics." Our rehearsal time with the dancers was supposed to be two and a half hours long. By the time we made it, we had 30 minutes to work with them. My patience - which I think I have a lot of - was gone.
Even as I write this, I feel it is a bit therapeutic. It was the most nerve-wrenching day of my time there.
Fortunately, Lisa carried the brunt of the work in the Boardroom. Following my mantra of not speaking unless spoken to, I am pretty sure I made it through about an hour of the Boardroom (before edits) without saying a word.
Despite Dayana's protestations about neither Lisa nor I respecting her role as project manager, Mr. Trump hit the nail on the head by saying that respect is "earned," not just given. And Dayana had certainly not earned any this week.
Dayana is a classy woman. She is NOT stupid. She is intelligent and poised. But she was few of those things on this task.
Oh... and some stuff happened on the other team too. ;-)
In fact, as the task was progressing, I spoke with the producer, Monica, whom I knew had been assigned this episode. I told her I had no idea how she was ever going to include anything from Team Unanimous in the episode. There was so much drama over with us on Forte, I figured she would have nothing dramatic to show of Unanimous, by comparison.
I should never underestimate Aubrey!
Don't miss next week for any reason... With Lisa and I alone on a team... what happens if we don't agree on something!?!?!?
If nothing else, I think it will give you the perfect opportunity to see Lisa Lampanelli's TRUE colors!
The next episode is DEFINITELY "hair-raising"!