Kelly Perdew trumps Jennifer Massey to become The Donald's second 'Apprentice'
By Reality TV World staff, 12/17/2004
Donald Trump's latest The Apprentice lesson: It pays to be bland -- and if you want to work for him, being passive and subservient also doesn't hurt. Rejecting feisty 30-year-old lawyer Jennifer Massey, The Donald instead selected uncharismatic 37-year-old software executive Kelly Perdew to serve as his apprentice during Thursday's season finale of the second edition of the popular NBC reality show.
The Apprentice 2's three-hour long (and enormously padded) finale began with the broadcast of the conclusion of the final challenge tasks assigned to the program's two remaining contestants. Over at The Genworth Trump Polo Cup in ritzy Greenwich, Connecticut, Kelly's inability to paint the polo match's sponsor logos on the field due to rain showers miraculously resolved itself when the sun shown brightly the next morning, leaving him to only address a less significant issue regarding the exact placement of the logos.
Back in the city at Jennifer's The Genworth Charity Basketball Classic charity game, things didn't go quite as smooth. After being told by NBA basketball star Chris Webber's assistant that he would not be attending the event and serving as its emcee (a commitment to which Webber insists he never agreed) the night before the game, things didn't get much better for Jennifer.
Despite nabbing NBA Commissioner David Stern to serve as the game's new master of ceremonies, the event's Genworth executives continued to express frustration at Jennifer's performance. Additionally, the inability of the building's electrical system to supply the amount of electricity needed to power the dozen plasma displays required for Microsoft's X-Box gaming systems also left a second sponsor dissatisfied.
While Trump employees George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher each claimed that Jennifer and Kelly had, in the end, done a good job with their events, that didn't mean that Trump was satisfied with the most important thing of all -- their homage to him.
Arriving at the polo opening, Trump complained about the box seats that Kelly had reserved for him, stating that not only were the seat cushions "dirty," but that the folding chairs were also "not lined up right." His departure from Jennifer's charity basketball game was also unsatisfactory -- because rather than personally escorting his lordship to his helicopter, Jennifer was instead focusing on ensuring that the event's post-game events executed successfully.
After calling the twosome into his boardroom for post-task discussion and analysis, Trump dismissed the duo (and viewers) in order to be able to discuss his decision with George and Carolyn. When the show came back from commercials the location of the boardroom had clearly shifted from last summer's Trump Towers set to a live finale reproduction similar to the one used for last season's Apprentice finale. Soliciting George and Carolyn for decision advice proved no help to Trump -- George strongly campaigned for Jennifer while Carolyn urged him to hire Kelly -- leading Trump to tell the cameras that he wanted the viewers' opinions and the revealing of the live finale's studio audience.
From there the already excessively long finale took another turn for the worse with Trump and intended reunion host Regis Philbin launching into a 30-minute talk show format in which Trump (claiming to be undecided as to whom to hire) alleged to throw out the existing plans for the reunion show and instead solicited hiring opinions from everyone from Apprentice 1 winner Bill Rancic and his fellow first season contestants to business executives to Jennifer and Kelly's current and former bosses to anonymous audience members to (finally) The Apprentice 2's previously eliminated contestants.
"Last year, I had Bill and Kwame, and they were both exceptional, but I actually thought, long before, that I was going to be choosing Bill," Trump told the crowd. "But this year, at this moment, I have absolutely no...I just don't know. I don't know what it's going to be."
After just about everyone but Jennifer's current boss suggested that he hire Kelly over Jennifer, Trump appeared to be nearly ready to call the twosome out from backstage and make a decision -- but not before Apprentice 2 contestant John Willenborg spoke what many were thinking after witnessing person after person advocate hiring Kelly while kicking Jennifer in the teeth. "I’m impressed that she didn't get up and walk off earlier, with kinda what was going on. ... she’s getting thrown under the bus here, and she doesn't deserve it. She’s a great lady and she performed well."
Finally summoning the duo for his final decision, Trump gave them one final chance to make their pitches -- and a confident Jennifer came out fighting, touting her education, professional experience, and extensively detailing her accomplishments both in and out of the game. After listening to Jennifer criticize his "grandstanding" leadership style, a markedly more reserved (and increasingly anxious) Kelly demonstrated his blandness... and repeatedly suggested Trump hire him for his "consistency."
In the end, Jennifer's final valiant attempt went for naught. Telling her that "your teammates did not really like you too much and you did lose too much," Trump told Jennifer she was fired -- and turned to Kelly and told him he was hired.
After being hired, Kelly was given the choice of managing either the construction of the new Trump International hotel in Las Vegas or assisting Trump in the ongoing construction of The Donald's enormous 17-building Trump Place development in Manhattan's West Side. Opting to stay as close to Trump as possible, the new apprentice chose the New York project.
The next edition of the series, The Apprentice 3, will premiere Thursday, January 20. Dumping the "men versus women" initial format that the program's first two editions used, The Apprentice 3 will instead feature eighteen contestants divided into two teams comprised of "street smarts" (contestants with only high school diplomas) and "book smarts" (those with college degrees.)