Carol Alt and Lennox Lewis fired from 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/21/2008
It will be "good versus evil" and the "U.K. against the United States" during The Celebrity Apprentice's live finale broadcast next week.
Donald Trump fired professional boxer Lennox Lewis and supermodel Carol Alt at the beginning of last night's penultimate episode broadcast -- setting up a finale showdown between America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan and country star Trace Adkins.
The Celebrity Apprentice's penultimate episode began following the previous elimination of Stephen Baldwin with the four remaining candidates immediately returning to the boardroom.
Trump explained each of the four candidates would be individually interviewed by CNBC'S Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett, who would then offer their input to The Donald before he decides which two would compete in the final task.
As the four candidates sat around waiting, Piers commented how he was a "bit nervous" but also "pretty confident" since one thing he's good at is "talking." Jim and Erin then interviewed the candidates, and questions ranged from their charitable efforts and best moment in the competition to their biggest screw-up so far and who should be fired.
Jim and Erin then reported back to Trump. Erin said she was "very impressed" with all the candidates, but liked Piers the least because of his "edge." Jim explained that if Trump is looking for the candidate who can raise the most money than Piers is his man, however he also agreed with Erin about Piers' demeanor. Both Jim and Erin were big fans of Carol and Trace, and Lennox was faulted for being "too laid back."
Carol, Lennox, Piers and Trace then entered the boardroom, and Trump -- who was flanked by Ivanka and Donald Jr. -- congratulated them on having made it this far. Piers commented his interviews were "very strong" before The Donald informed him Jim and Erin thought he was "very harsh," "very tough" and "very in your face."
Piers said he hadn't broken any rules or done anything immoral during the competition and simply works as hard as he can to raise money for his charity. Ivanka agreed and said while Piers hadn't crossed that thin line -- he was walking on it.
"If I am to lose because of my lack of British tact in a game which is led by a man who is renowned around the world for being a ruthless, tough businessman, than I plead happily guilty to that," said Piers.
Carol said she's "organized, detailed, versatile" and has "gumption," explaining she thought the final two candidates should be her and Piers. Piers then singled out Lennox, and said his fellow countryman wouldn't have made it this far in the competition if it wasn't for him. Lennox then made the mistake of agreeing with Piers' comment -- which Trump didn't think was a smart move.
"He's a good asset to the team... One of the greatest assets," said Lennox of Piers.
"Lennox, you come across as a really smart guy, but you just said you would not have won so much if it weren't for Piers," said The Donald. "I really like that statement -- and in another way, you understand I don't like. Another element that has to play into my mind, [Jim and Erin] thought you were too laid back and they thought you should be fired. I have to say Lennox -- you're fantastic -- but you're fired."
Lennox said his brief goodbyes and exited the boardroom.
"The best part of this experience was I earned $40,000 for the [Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center]," said Lennox after his ouster. "The reason why I joined The Celebrity Apprentice was to make money for my charity and I'm so happy that I was able to do so."
The Donald then stated the obvious -- how it would be "very tough" for him to fire Piers since he's raised the most money so far. While Trump was explaining Piers may be the "least nice" person, Piers cut him off and tried to defend himself.
"I'm sticking up for you, you shouldn't be cutting me off," said Trump. "I'm getting ready to sort of exonerate you and instead of just sort of taking it..."
"I'll take my bullocking like a man," replied Piers before suggesting Trump fire Trace because Carol would be a "tougher competitor."
Trace defended himself, saying he'd give "100%" and "bring celebrities" to the final task and fight like there's no more noble of a cause than his charity. The Donald then asked if he likes Piers.
"We have been sociable and cordial with one another," answered Trace. "I don't know that we've developed any kind of tight bond." Trace further described Pier's game play as "ruthless and merciless to a point." Piers didn't dispute the comment.
"Carol how do I get over the fact that I want to see these two guys fight?" asked Trump, who then revealed both Jim and Erin thought the final two candidates should be Carol and Trace.
"But I love the friction between these two guys, because I say they don't like each other," said Trump. "Carol I want to see these two guys go at it. Carol, you're fired."
"Oh sir!" said Carol. "As long as that's the reason I'm going, I'm okay with it."
She then exited the boardroom.
"Just to step forward doing The Celebrity Apprentice in the first place is really a big act of faith. I accomplished everything I set out to do," said Carol. "Every task along the way is a personal triumph."
Trump said firing Carol was difficult, but commended himself for setting up a boardroom battle for the ages.
"It's good versus evil, it's the U.K. against the United States," he said.
The next morning, Piers and Trace met Trump, Ivanka and Donald Jr. For their final task, Trump said Piers and Trace would be throwing a "really grand charity event" with the help of four previously eliminated candidates -- Carol, Lennox, Stephen and Marilu Henner.
Trace had first pick and chose Lennox -- who he described as Piers' "security blanket" -- and Marilu; while Piers chose Stephen and Carol.
Both teams would be working on the same charity event, with each responsible for different aspects of it. Piers' team would be responsible for catering and a live auction, while Trace's team was responsible for the event's decor and its live entertainment -- The Backstreet Boys. The teams would be judged on tickets sold, money raised and how well they ran their responsibilities.
Trace and Piers negotiated for which auction items each would be selling, with Piers going for the more unique items thinking they'd sell for a higher price.
Stephen warned Piers that Trace was going to bring out as many country celebrities as possible for the event -- and as if on cue -- Trace told his team he wanted to "concentrate on celebrities" because he knew he'd be unable to raise as much money as Piers. To ensure he had the star power, Trace said he was chartering two planes from Nashville to New York for the event.
Since the event would be put together on such short notice, Trace's team immediately got on the phone and tried to assemble some celebrities to make appearances.
Country stars Trace secured include Montgomery Gentry, Ronnie Milsap and Lonestar's Dean Sams. Marilu and Lennox then went to the prop rental place to pick-out decor items, however Marilu did most of the looking while Lennox hurried her along since they were so short on time.
Stephen and Carol met with the catering and snacked on hors d'oeuvres -- or in Stephen's case -- gorged on hors d'oeuvres. Carol described Stephen as "charming," "cute" and "a piece of work."
It was time for Piers to call on the big guns, so he met with Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Piers explained the charity event to her -- and since she's "incredibly enthusiastic" when it comes to helping charities -- Sarah said a royal tea with her could be one of his auction items.
"We're going to win it," Sarah told Piers as he left her office. "Everything we do we have to win."
Trace went over the checklist of items The Backstreet Boys would need in their dressing rooms for the event -- and the list included some items that seemed excessive, so Trace was hoping to talk to their tour manager and lighten the load a bit.
However the next morning when he met with The Backstreet Boys and their tour manager, it didn't go as planned and they insisted on having double the amount of items on their checklist since their band would also be with them. They also asked for wheat grass, which Trace thought was a joke.
"I knew then that I was dealing with a group of kids who were going to bust my balls all day," said Trace.
Piers met with a representative from his charity -- the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund -- and asked if 20 veterans could be in attendance at the event, which was a calculated risk on his part.
"I'm aware by doing this I'm giving up tickets I could have sold," said Piers. "But I think that Mr. Trump will find that perhaps is in the spirit of the game... I thought that would add a really nice touch to the event."
Stephen was also pulling out all the stops in trying to contact celebrities -- but it wasn't going very well and he couldn't secure a single one, blaming it on the short notice. Piers described Stephen as "fairly useless" and added his inability to attract star power was a "bit depressing."
"If Piers gets fired because no celebrities show up, sorry," said Stephen.