Bret Michaels was crowned The Celebrity Apprentice's third-season winner during last night's live finale broadcast on NBC.
The former Poison frontman and Rock of Love star defeated actress Holly Robinson Peete and received the $250,000 grand prize, which was donated to the American Diabetes Association, the charity for which he was competing.
Due to a Snapple donation, Holly's HollyRod Foundation autism charity also received $250,000.
"Bret, they didn't want you to be here tonight," saidThe Apprentice star Donald Trump to Bret during the broadcast. "Are you risking your life being here?"
"Lately it seems like me just standing up is risking my life," joked Bret. "It's been crazy, honestly, for about a month-and-a-half it's been a rough go. Yes, it's a risk but I wanted to be here."
"I'm just overjoyed that he is here," said Holly to Bret. "We all love you."
The Celebrity Apprentice's third-season finale began where last week's penultimate episode finished, with Bret and Holly working on their final task -- creating a new Snapple flavor as well as commercials and print ads for it.
Bret was still looking for a dolly track to shoot his commercial when he eventually decided to simply improvise by placing the camera on a cart. With the problem solved, Bret focused on finishing his commercials and ads. Ivanka Trump showed up in the middle of the commercial shoot and was surprised Bret was filming two separate serious and funny commercials.
"I don't know why he made the decision to do two commercials as opposed to focusing on one great concept and executing well," said Ivanka.
Holly decided to send wrestler Maria Kanellis to the editing bay, and Ivanka surprised Holly and celebrity chef Curtis Stone as they finished up.
"She might be playing it a bit too safe," remarked Ivanka.
With his print ad photo shoot wrapping up, Bret decided to leave early to go to the editing bay. As he got in the van he realized he was forgetting something but assumed it wasn't important -- until he realized it was his commercial script he forgot.
"This could go horribly bad for me," he commented.
With less than two hours remaining, Holly still had to complete her presentation but was happy her teammates were there to help her. Curtis then asked if he could bail to go have dinner with a recently-engaged friend. With Maria at the editing bay, Holly was on her own.
Bret called Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders and asked about his script. She thought she found it but couldn't read Bret's writing, so she was unsure if she was bringing him the right thing. Bret decided to edit without the script so he wasn't wasting time while waiting for Summer and former MLB star Daryl Strawberry. Once they arrived, Summer didn't approve of Bret's idea of going forward without the script.
"I don't get it at all," she said about the commercial.
In addition, Summer pointed out to Bret that he forgot about the event launch the next day.
"I don't think he was concerned about it for a second," she said.
The next morning, the two teams looked at the room where they'd be giving the presentations. As Bret rehearsed, he was surprised with a visit from his daughter Raine.
"This is the whole reason I'm here," said Bret about his daughter, who is borderline diabetic.
The Snapple launch event then commenced, as Donald arrived with Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.. Holly was the first to present and was excited about the "visibility" Snapple might provide her charity. She also showed her commercial, which drew applause from those in attendance.
Bret then gave his presentation and it was obvious that he was nervous. However he was eventually able to pull it together when he decided to "speak from the heart." He also showed his commercial, which drew laughs from the audience.
"He pretty much nailed it, even with his little stumbles," said Summer. "He blew me away."
With both presentations in the book, Trump took a poll of the crowd and Bret received louder applause.
"All I can do is just take a deep sigh. I haven't done anything this hard in a long time," said Holly.
Donald then met with the Snapple executives, who were impressed with both Bret and Holly. In addition, both the executives liked the Snapple flavors and the names of their drinks, "Compassionberry" and "Trop-a-Rocka." Holly's label was more well liked, while Bret's commercial was the favorite.
The Celebrity Apprentice's final pre-taped boardroom session then commenced, and Trump was flanked by Ivanka and Donald Jr..
Trump asked Bret if he thought choosing a diet tea blend would hurt him and Bret said no.
"I think it's an exploding brand," added Bret.
Donald Jr. said he thought Bret did a good job "masking" the diet taste and called Bret's situation a "catch 22." Trump asked Holly why she didn't use Maria or Curtis in her commercial.
"I have to say I was more focused on integrating the elements of the charity," she responded.
In addition, Holly credited Curtis for helping her choose flavors quickly since he is a chef. Trump said he liked both names, but really liked Holly's "Compassionberry." Ivanka credited Bret with becoming a "celebrity spokesperson" for his drink and making it a focus of his campaign. Bret called his label "bold" and acknowledged it was a "bit darker" than Snapple is used to.
Trump bluntly said he liked Holly's label but favored Bret's three-page print ad.
Summer -- who had grown close to Holly -- had a hard time crediting Bret for being a good project manager, while Daryl called Bret a "great" project manager. Curtis, Maria, Summer and Daryl then left the boardroom.
"This is very tough," said Trump.
Holly and Bret were then introduced during the live portion of last night's The Celebrity Apprentice broadcast. Trump asked Holly if she thought it was fair that she might have lost her front-runner status due to Bret's recent medical problems.
"I walked into a store today in New York and I saw my logo that I created with my husband for the HollyRod Foundation on the cover of a Snapple bottle," replied Holly.
"I feel like I've won. Yes, in a way I did lose my momentum because the guy was on the cover of People, 'Lucky to be Alive' on Oprah, it's Michaels Mania. That said, I really do feel like I did a good job."
"Bret, do you think you win because of the sympathy vote?" asked Trump.
"Once I saw her dress and she's playing the hotness card, I'll take a vote anyway I can get it. If it's sympathy right now, I'm taking it," joked Bret.
Trump then asked Holly why she should win.
"It's a little bit like a David versus Goliath situation," she began.
"I took this on, I was really nervous about leaving my four kids, my husband. But I sat down and I said, 'What can I do if I get on the show? I can talk about families affected by autism.' Autism is something that affects more people than juvenile diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined. I have this opportunity to come here and do this, and I'm glad I did."
In addition, Holly revealed she learned her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer after the season's third episode was filmed and she was ready to travel home until her mom stopped her.
"I'm compassionate, I'm dedicated and I came to play," she said.
Trump asked Bret the same question.
"I came here to win," he said. "I put my heart and soul into everything."
Donald Jr. then said he thought Holly would be one of the finalists when the competition began while Bret came on stronger as the game continued. Ivanka said she agreed with Donald.
"Bret, you've been popular, everyone's loved you. You've been imaginative, you've done an amazing job in every single way -- a little flaky, but that's okay. You've really proven -- and maybe this is unfair -- but you've also proven to be very brave. I appreciate that," said Trump.
"Holly, you won more money than anybody has ever won on The Apprentice or The Celebrity Apprentice. You won a lot of money for your charity, and I'm very, very proud of you. You've been amazing. You lost a couple of times as project manager, but we can forget that."
Trump then revealed Bret as the winner.
(Photo credit NBC)
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