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Bryce Gahagan the seventh contestant fired from NBC's 'Apprentice 5'


By Tim Andrews, 04/04/2006 

Done in by his refusal to place his team's failure to win the week's task on anyone who contributed to it, Bryce Gahagan, a 28-year-old home builder from Kansas City, MO, became the seventh contestant fired from the fifth edition of The Apprentice.

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The Apprentice 5's sixth episode began with Gold Rush Corporation returning from last week's boardroom session in which Dan Brody was fired. The team seemed hopelessly divided when they arrived back at the loft, with several members openly hostile towards inflexible and opinionated Mensa member Tarek Saab, who had just survived his third final boardroom appearance.

Seeing the disharmony, Bryce volunteered to become the team's next project manager and attempted to clear the air in the team with a group discussion designed to get the team to working together again. Unfortunately, Bryce's effort did not really seem to work and the team appeared to start the next day as fractured as ever.

When they met with Donald Trump the next morning, The Apprentice's remaining candidates learned that their next task would be to create a jingle used to promote Arby's new all natural chicken sandwich line. Synergy Corporation member Sean Yazbeck volunteered to lead his team through the project, citing his feeling that he had the creative energy to run the task. Meanwhile things continued to go less than ideal for Gold Rush, with Lee Bienstock announcing that he'd once again be unavailable to his team due to his celebration of the Yom Kipur Jewish holiday.

After meeting with the Arby's executives, Synergy felt they had a pretty good idea about what they would be looking for in the jingle. As they left Roxanne Wilson started singing what became the basis of a tune and the rest of the team joined in contributing lyrics and filling in missing pieces. Although their final product did sound like more of a pop song than a commercial jingle, the end result did appear to come off well and the team definitely worked well together.

Unlike Synergy, things did not start out as well for Gold Rush, with the team failing to arrive on time for the 10:15AM meeting that Charmaine Hunt had scheduled with the Arby's executives. The team arrived nearly thirty minutes late, upsetting the executives and getting the meeting off on the wrong foot.

Things began to go more smoothly for Gold Rush once they began their brainstorming session, as Charmaine and Leslie Bourgeois put together lyrics while Tarek worked with the musicians to get the overall arrangement to sound classically jinglish and somewhat catchy. Meanwhile, although he was shown throwing out numerous suggestions, Russian immigrant Lenny Veltman felt he was incapable of contributing much to jingle writing process, citing his inability to rhyme in English and unfamiliarity with American jingles. In the end, although they were hamstrung by both Lee's absence and Lenny's inability to contribute, the team worked well together and agreed that the task represented their best team effort thus far.

At the presentation to the Arby executives, the teams presented their jingles using a live band and a live audience. Synergy Corpís pop-sounding jingle went first and really got the crowd going. While perhaps more catchy, Gold Rush's more traditional sounding jingle did not work as well in a live audience format. When it came time to determine a winner, the executives selected Synergy's offering, citing the fact that Gold Rush's jingle did not describe Arby's as "the only place" where a listener could get the new chicken products as a key reason why Synergy's jingle was better.

As a reward for their victory, Synergy was treated to eating $4,000 a pound white truffles at the Alain Ducasse exclusive restaurant -- a meal The Donald insisted would be "without question" the most expensive meal any of them would ever eat.

Once back at the loft, rather than plotting his defense for the task loss or figuring out a strategy to get someone else fired before the boardroom session, Bryce instead called his team together again and rallied them to go in as a unified team. Bryce's decision was a noble concept that was sure to win the support of the public, but unlike China's The Apprentice copycat in which the results are decided by viewer voting, it probably was not the best strategy for winning over The Donald.

During the boardroom, several people were pointed out as having been complicit in the loss, including Tarek, who was the creative director for the song, and Charmaine, who was primarily responsible for the lyrics and also for setting up the executive meeting to which the team arrived late.

In the end though, Bryce choose to bring back only Lenny and Lee for the final boardroom, because as he tried to point out, they had contributed the least on the task. That argument did not appear to hold any weight with The Donald however, and despite the fact that he himself had questioned Lee concerning his second "free pass," Trump appeared to be offended that Bryce opted to bring him back into the firing session.

Ultimately, Bryce's passionate yet professional defense was unable to convince The Donald why he was not the only one in the room who should be fired for the task, causing Trump to make him the seventh candidate fired from The Apprentice's fifth edition. Undeterred, Bryce did manage to get the final word during his cab ride departure: "It wouldn't hurt Trump to listen once in a while." Truer may never have been spoken.

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