Sean Yazbeck trumps Lee Bienstock, wins NBC's fifth 'The Apprentice'
By Tim Andrews, 06/06/2006
Sean Yazbeck a 33-year-old recruitment consultant from London, England, was crowned The Apprentice's fifth winner during last night's live broadcast of the NBC reality show's fifth season finale. Trump selected Sean over Lee Bienstock, a 22-year-old business analyst from New York City.
The Apprentice 5's fifteenth and final broadcast originated from Los Angles, where The Donald and his usual helpers George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher entered into a cheering The Orpheum Theatre. Once there, The Donald introduced clips highlighting each finalist's best season moments.
Afterward, Trump reviewed last week's The Apprentice broadcast in which Sean and Lee were assigned their final tasks, picked their teams, and began the execution of their final task assignments. Lee's task was to run a charity hockey game that would benefit the Leary Firefighter Foundation, while Sean was to run a Bare Naked Ladies charity concert that would benefit the World Wildlife Foundation. As viewers have come to expect at the end of the first part of every two-part The Apprentice final task broadcast, the episode left both finalists dealing with a cliffhanger "critical" issue facing them on the eve of their respective events. In Seanís case, the problem was with Andrea Lake, who experienced a sudden medical condition that forced her to seek treatment in the middle of the task. In Lee's case, it was a matter of a disgruntled charity executive who was concerned that Lee and his team were not doing a good enough job of planning the event.
Once the set up was complete, The Donald asked the audience who they preferred as the winner and while both contestants got applause, it was clear the audience favored Sean. The finale broadcast then went back to the final task assignment's pre-taped footage in which, as is also typical of The Apprentice, both Sean and Lee's previous cliffhanger issues were quickly resolved. After a physician quickly diagnosed Andrea's issue as the bursting of a small blood vessel she returned back to work before Sean and the rest of the team had even decided how to proceed without her. Meanwhile, Lee and The Leary Firefighter Foundation charity representative met and came to terms with what needed to be done and what she was specifically expecting.
With those issues resolved, new ones soon showed up. Most notable was the fact that Lee, rather inexplicably, decided to put Lenny Veltman in charge of dealing with the celebrity players as they arrived -- a task that seem rather incompatible with the Russian immigrant's sometimes abrasive and gruff personality. Sean also appeared to have a few additional issues of his own. After having previously decided to skip his team's initial meeting with Pontiac, his event's primary corporate sponsor, his subsequent meeting exposed an obvious disconnect between the manner in which Sean was envisioning presenting their product and the image that the Pontiac representative wanted to project. In a contrast in styles, Sean was shown being able to quickly adjust his plans to appease the Pontiac executive while Lee was shown sticking with his original plan that Lenny was the best person to work with the hockey event's celebrities.
After their events started, things continued to go awry for both teams. When actor Jason Priestly, the first of the hockey game's celebrity players to arrive, wandered into the event's Chelsea Pier building, Lenny failed to greet him and Priestly was left to find the locker room on his own. Although Lee quickly corrected that issue with the help of the other staffers, it was a sign of things to come. Not only did Lenny appear to have several somewhat abrasive encounters with the celebrities over things such as uniform sizes, but actress Jamie Pressley, who served as the event's celebrity auctioneer, appeared to become quite annoyed with Lenny as the event unfolded.
Meanwhile, over at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, Sean appeared to have completely put the fundraising portion of the benefit concert in the hands of Tarek Saab. While the event's pre-concert reception did appear to be well organized, the area failed to include any signage for Pontiac, the event's primary sponsor, among the banners for SLS Technologies, an additional event sponsor, and World Wildlife Foundation -- an absence that Pontiac's representative noted.
However once the events started, things finally started coming together for both teams. Leeís hockey game appeared to go off with no significant issues other than Leeís inability to personally meet The Donald when he arrived. After the event concluded, even Lee's outspoken Leary Firefighter Foundation critic found nice things to say about him. Seanís project appeared to go even smoother. Not only did the auctioning of the Pontiac vehicles appear to generate more money than expected, but the concert also appeared to be a great success. In the end, both Lee and Sean had felt they had won the event, and heaped praise upon their teammates for their tireless efforts.
During their final boardroom session, Sean and Lee both presented their cases as to why they should be hired. Sean pointed out his experience while Lee highlighted his educational background -- something Sean was able to counter by pointing out he not had he already received a similar high quality education, but he also had the benefit of nearly a decade of actual business experience. Unlike previous The Apprentice seasons, each finalist's support teams were not called in to give their input. Instead, The Donald thanked Sean and Lee and "told" them (in one of the show's obviously dubbed in voiceovers) that he would meet them in Los Angeles for the live finale in which he would decide which one of them to hire.
With the pre-taped portion of The Apprentice's finale concluded, the broadcast picked back up in Los Angeles, where Sean and Lee joined The Donald, George, Carolyn, and the season's other previously introduced contestants out on stage. After first asking audience members Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. which finalist he should hire and receiving noncommittal responses, Trump asked several of Sean and Lee's final task teammates what they thought about the finalists.
Predictably, each final task team member voiced their support for their team leader. Tammy Trenta, who appeared to have entered into a romance with Sean as the show progressed, was asked if Seanís expressive personality was an issue. She responded by stating that Sean's behavior was representative of his passion and that his passionate nature would be an asset to The Trump Organization -- an answer that seemed to impress The Donald. Lenny was also asked what he thought of Lee, but as was rather unfortunately typical of Lenny's comments, something appeared to get lost in the translation and his well-meaning response came across was somewhat confusing and was derided by Trump.
After the former contestants had weighed in with their opinions, The Donald then turned to George and Carolyn. While George followed Ivanka and Donald Jr.'s lead and stated that he liked both contestants equally, Carolyn weighed in with support for Sean. Finally, with everyone's input having been made, Sean and Lee were each was given one last chance to argue their case. Along the way, Trump once again brought up the subject of Sean's relationship with Tammy, causing Sean to reveal that they had begun dating since the show's Fall 2005 production wrapped. Under further prodding by Trump, Sean also voiced his intention to marry Tammy -- a pronouncement that caused Tammy (visible in the camera's background) to enjoy a hearty laugh. In the end, Trump declared that although he almost wanted to hire both of them, he agreed with what he described as the "one-sided" results of the show's week-long NBC website finale voting and told Sean "you're hired!"