This is serious business.
Hey Apprentice fans! Hope you all had a great weekend. Our second episode began with breaking a record; Star Jones presented a check to the American Heart Association for $169,000! This was the most amount of money raised on a first task in Celebrity Apprentice history! Congratulations again to Star and her team for a job well done. Hopefully the ladies are pumped up from a great start and ready for the next challenge.
My father, Eric and I met the teams at Madison Square Garden, a place in New York where I've attended many performances by the world's best athletes and musicians. The teams arrived and little did they know they would have a performance of their own ahead. Eric soon explained that this week the teams would be creating a children's book based on at least one member of the team and they would be performing their book for an audience of children. The criteria they would be judged on were the originality of characters and stories, overall presentation to the children and age appropriateness. We had Celebrity Apprentice favorite Holly Robinson Peete (who has written children's books) and well-known children's book publisher Margery Cuyler on hand to help judge the teams.
Meat Loaf was enthusiastic to step up as Project Manager since his charity, The Painted Turtle, raises money for chronically ill children. Team A.S.A.P. had a bit tougher choice choosing their project manager and they essentially bullied Lisa into taking it on, convincing her that she was best for the role. Lisa reluctantly accepted. NeNe hoped that she would take it on so that they could "get her out," which doesn't exactly scream team spirit to me.
The teams split up to begin the brainstorming process. Backbone was off to a good start and felt confident to have Mark McGrath and John Rich to spearhead the writing process. They tossed around a lot of ideas and decided that with Lil Jon's well-known catchphrases coupled with the team's creativity, they could create a great story with Lil Jon as the main character.
The ladies didn't start off very well as Lisa had a tough time taking charge of her team. They were all waiting to be told what to do and she was not delegating any tasks, while at the same time indicating that she had no support. In my opinion, straight off the bat she was not respected by her team, which makes a tough task enough tougher. Things quickly heated up as the team discussed what the concept of the children's book should be. Dionne had a tough time getting a word in but once she did, she voiced her opinion very loud and clear. The teams were deciding how to use the "lion that could not roar" concept. They were either going with a fun, very light concept or were going to teach the children about sign language in some way and include Marlee. The way that Dionne reacted to Marlee's suggestion was very harsh and put up a clear barrier. I think at this point Lisa could have stepped in and tried to diffuse the situation. Lisa finally stepped in and decided to go with the fun book about being yourself. Marlee noted that there are currently many books out there like this. With a three-year-old and a two-year-old, I can attest that I have seen these on my kids' bookshelves. With that said, I was looking forward to seeing how the ladies could give it a new spin.
My brother Eric visited Backbone at the moment when they were just about at each other's throats. Jose and Gary were sent out for props and were left roaming the city for 40 minutes because Meat Loaf sent them to the wrong place. The men at this point seemed extremely frazzled and had a lot of work to do. And, as we see week after week, time is never on your side on The Apprentice. The team morale seemed to pick up as they were costume shopping. With Jose in high heels, Lil Jon as the main character and the rest of the guys on stage, I knew whatever show they were putting on, it would be original.
I stopped by to see team A.S.A.P. as they were rehearsing. I was surprised to see how quickly Dionne responded when I asked the team who came up with the concept. Personally I felt that the concept was very close to one of the greats, "The Wizard of Oz." This to me was a red flag, as originality was one of the key components they would be judged on. Team A.S.A.P. ran into another roadblock as both Star and Dionne wanted their names on the cover of the book. I was impressed to see Lisa finally put her foot down and insist on the team sharing credit. This was a team effort and, while Star and Dionne contributed hugely, they were part of a team at the end of the day.
It was show time and the ladies' team was up first. Holly and Margery joined my family and I in the audience. Marlee signed while Lisa narrated the story. I thought the ladies' performance was very enthusiastic and animated, which is key when you have an audience that is made up of four- and five-year-olds. They also had colorful costumes that were very engaging for the kids.
Backbone's storyline was about a boy who was shy and the new kid in school. Seeing the guys enter the stage I knew this would be good. Jose was a bit stiff initially but was surrounded by some major entertainers. Lil Jon stood up and got the whole audience moving. I thought that the men's team gave an energetic and fun performance. They all seemed to be having a good time, which entertained the kids much more.
Both teams did an awesome job but it was the moment of truth, time for the Boardroom. My father asked the men's team how they thought Meat Loaf performed as a project manager. I was impressed by Backbone's camaraderie and also by Meat Loaf's leadership and passion for the task. He was emotional about the performance and reminded everyone that it was for the children. As we moved over to the ladies' side of the table you could immediately tell there was tension in the air. I thought it was a weak statement by Lisa when she said, "Anyone could have done this job," and yet she was adamant that she did not want to take it on initially. My father, in his usual fashion, broke up the moment by commenting on Lisa's lip reduction. It was back to business very quickly though. Lisa was in the hot seat hearing that her team felt she was disorganized, had a lot to learn, and lacked focus.
My brother Eric and I went through each of the positives and negatives for both teams. The judges liked both books very much but they thought that the men's team did a fantastic job, winning the task and getting $20,000 for The Painted Turtle, Meat Loaf's charity. That news brought Meat Loaf to tears. Who knew he was such an emotional guy? As the men sung their way out of the Boardroom (and rightfully so), the claws were coming out on team A.S.A.P.
The ladies were tough on Lisa and it seemed to me that she wasn't confident in her abilities on this task. She seemed to have the attitude that she didn't perform "that badly" as project manager. All of the ladies on the team seemed to have very strong opinions and felt that their leader was not effective. It was very obvious who would be staying in the Boardroom with Lisa and that was Dionne and Star. As we progressed in the Boardroom it seemed like Lisa wasn't a fighter, and refuted that she wouldn't fight dirty. My father disagreed with that statement and felt that Star and Dionne were playing smart and tough but not necessarily dirty. Lisa repeatedly said that she had a lot to learn. Between my father and I, we were both giving her points to wield against both Dionne and Star and asking why she wasn't making them. She could have been at an advantage given all the responsibility that Dionne and Star took on for this task, but Lisa did not use it. Maybe Lisa's statement all along was correct; she did have a lot to learn and was fired. We wish Lisa all the best though.
Hope you all enjoyed this week's episode! See you next week in the Boardroom and be sure to join me on Twitter every Sunday night live during the episode. I am also looking forward to reading your comments here on the blog. (www.twitter.com/donaldjtrumpjr)