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'The New Celebrity Apprentice' star Arnold Schwarzenegger fires Laila Ali and Brooke Burke-Charvet, leaving Matt Iseman and Boy George to battle for title


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/07/2017 

The New Celebrity Apprentice star Arnold Schwarzenegger fired Laila Ali and Brooke Burke-Charvet during Monday night's two-hour episode on NBC.

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The world-famous bodybuilder, actor and former California governor fired Laila, a retired undefeated American pro boxer, as well as Brooke, a former Dancing with the Stars co-host, heading into the season's final task.

Laila was deemed responsible for her Arete team's loss in the season's eleventh task, while Brooke was terminated from the show when Arnold determined American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman and Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Boy George should be the Final 2.

The drama kicked off with Arnold approaching the two teams with a new task. Since Boy George was alone on the "Prima" team, Arnold asked Brooke to join him, and she wasn't thrilled because she had to leave her "dream team" on "Arete."

The eleventh task required the teams of two to choose three products from actress Jessica Alba's The Honest Company, which produces safe, stylish and affordable products that really work. Jessica told the teams to convince potential customers that the products are unique and right for their lifestyles.

Each team had to create an effective in-home demo of the three products for a focus group. They would be judged on creativity, alignment with brand principles and overall execution.

Boy George stepped up to lead "Prima" since his last effort as a project manager was quite some time ago and he needed to take risks. Meanwhile, Laila volunteered to serve as Arete's project manager because she already lives an "honest life" and felt right at home with the task. The winner would earn a total of $50,000 for his or her favorite charity.

Once in the boardroom, Jessica Alba revealed the results. She said "Arete" delivered a concise presentation, did a good job hitting products' values and had a "strong tangible takeaway" for everyone who watched the demo. However, the team's presentation lacked creativity, and because it was so tactful and methodical, it felt a little bit like an infomercial.

"Prima" on the other hand created a fun song and dance, and the focus group loved the team's fantasy story in which Boy George and Brooke pretended to be a happy husband and wife. Their show and tell of the products also worked, but Jessica said it would've been nice if people took something away from the presentation in terms of how The Honest Company is different from any other brand.

Although the race was close, "Prima" won the task, so Boy George received money for his Safe Kids Worldwide charity.

Laila and Matt certainly battled in the boardroom to stay. Matt was accused of acting like a TV host during the demo, giving the presentation its "infomercial" feel.

Matt argued Laila, however, pushed back on creativity and the vision for the demo belonged to her. Matt told Arnold that this was his first real stumble in the game, but then Laila countered by reminding him she had led her 0-4 women's team to a victory earlier in the season.

Laila lost one of her two tasks as project manager, but Matt never lost as a team's leader. Matt had also never been brought back into the boardroom for a discussion on whom should be fired.

Arnold therefore decided to terminate Laila although he admires her. Arnold's nephew Patrick Schwarzenegger pointed out that Laila brought her A-game a little too late in the competition when Matt was consistent all season long.

"I definitely am surprised that I got fired today. I didn't wake up at all feeling like it was even a possibility, and here I am. Getting fired one task from the final task, that's what I'm most sad about. I'm not going to be here to be in the finals and win an even bigger amount of money and raise even more money for my charity," Laila said following her ouster.

Before diving into the season's twelfth and final task, Arnold asked Matt, Boy George and Brooke to join him in the boardroom. It quickly became clear he wanted to fire one more person before the finale. Each contestant had won two tasks as a project manager and raised at least $100,000 for their charities. The competition was so close.

Each contestant fought for his or her chance to stay, and Arnold made it known that there would be no losers at this point in the season.

After carefully listening to closing arguments, Arnold decided to fire Brooke since she wasn't a standout on the show in the beginning. Like Laila, she became strong towards the end.

"I did not see that coming," Matt told Brooke as he hugged her goodbye.

"Wow," Brooke said after she was terminated. "I made it this far. There was one more task. It'd be awesome to win that, but at the end of the day, I raised $100,000 for Operation Smile, which is huge. I'm proud of what I came here to do and what I accomplished. It was really, really fun. I really enjoyed it."

Boy George and Matt then jumped right into their final task with Tyra Banks, once again, serving as a boardroom adviser.

Carnival Luxury Cruises CEO and president Arnold Donald instructed the two finalists to share the value of a cruise experience with people. Each contestant was required to produce an ad campaign, host a party and produce a 15-minute variety show. The ad campaign needed to highlight the following cruise lines: Carnival, Holland America, Princess and Seabourn. It's purpose was to dispel common myths about cruises.

Boy George and Matt only needed to feature two cruise lines at their parties and variety shows. The finalists would be judged on overall brand integration, guest experience and the amount of money raised for charity from ticket sales.

A handful of previously-eliminated contestants returned to help Matt and Boy George out. Matt's team was comprised of Carnie Wilson, Carrie Keagan and Kyle Richards. Boy George's team featured Carson Kressley, Porsha Williams and Laila Ali.

The winner of The Next Celebrity Apprentice will be crowned next week and walk away with the $250,000 grand prize for his charity.


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