Richly Deserved: The Apprentice: Los Angeles Taking You Inside The Finale

If you’ve never been to the Hollywood Bowl before, it is quite impressive. This ampitheatre carved just at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, as Trump mentioned in his opening, has hosted everyone from Sinatra to The Beatles.

So on a cool, overcast night in Los Angeles, about 3000 people made their way into the bowl for the finale. I was sitting right behind Tim’s family. In front of them was Team James, complete with signs and portraits of their man. A section to the right was a group of equally loud Stefani supporters while to our left was Frank’s support team. Was I at The Apprentice or American Idol?

The warm-up was rather cheesy. “Bill the warm-up guy” was funny at times, but a little off-colour at others which made it a little uncomfortable. He had the usual array of t-shirt giveaways, made fun of a guy in the front row who didn’t applaud, and got some way too cool (and possibly, planted in the audience) old guy to come up and dance on stage.

There was also several faces from Apprentice past in attendance, Omarosa made an appearance. There’s Randal! And isn’t that Sean walking around. Lee, Kendra, Tana, Alla, and many more.

Finally, time for this thing to start. Fireworks go off as Trump and the Trump kids (Yeah, I know, they’re not kids anymore) enter the stage to the chants of “Trump, Trump” from the audience (who were cued to do so). We are treated to a season recap. Hard to believe Frank was so close to being fired first week, eh?

The final four are introduced and they go to break as the audience in unison clap to the theme song. During the break, warm-up guy goes into the audience to talk to the James and Stefani supporters.

From break, Trump asks his personal favourite, Angela, who should win. She suggests either James or Stefani. Trump asks Stefani. Why?

They show the two finished products from last week, the mini-movies for Renuzit air freshener, deodorizer, whatever. There’s a good live audience reaction to both. Stefani is asked about her role and she says “behind a great director is a great producer.” James says he is very creative and knows how to plan things. Frank said his concept was a team effort. Nicole complimented Frank, saying he knows how to get things done.

Tim is asked who Trump should hire. Why? He picks Nicole (you mean the Nicole he was holding hands with at the after party and is still dating? Awwwwwwww). He tried to put forth a legitimate argument. Whatever.

Surya, who doesn’t like Frank (or anyone else in the final four, it seems), said working with him doesn’t change his opinion of him. Aaron touts James.

On to the jobs. The winner will either oversee construction of a condominium and golf complex at Capcana in the Dominican Republic or the construction of a twin-tower Trump development in Atlanta.

Stefani chooses Capcana, saying her legal and business background will help there. James chooses Atlanta and pushes his technology background. Nicole chooses Capcana, selling her marketing skills. And Frank chooses Atlanta, unfortunately the big screen above them comes on and shows the boardroom scene and Frank seems distracted by this, looking up several times.

Ivanka chimes in, saying she was not impressed by Frank and Nicole’s film. Don Jr. said he was not impressed by their judgement in choosing Tim and Surya to work for them. Frank defended the choices but somehow forgot Tim’s name and had to be reminded by Nicole.

Stefani was asked by Trump if he should hire James. She replied that he should hire her and in turn, she will hire James. Good chuckle from the audience.

A general banter ensues and Frank starts yapping about something. Time for a break. During the break, Warm-up guy catches up with Omarosa, Randal, Kendra, and Sean. Darkness starts to set in over the Hollywood Hills.

Back from break. Trump disagreed with Frank’s choice of Surya. Frank is fired. Trump says he loves relationships but not inter-office ones. Nicole is fired. Supportive applause from the audience.

Time for the profiles of the final two. Stefani is shown first, being a tough-as-nails lawyer, fiercely negotiating on behalf of clients facing workmans’ compensation claims from employees. Then she is shown taking a few karate kicks. James played his “I came to America with nothing” card eventually giving up a six-figure salary to pursue running his own technology business. He is also shown reading to and playing with his two little daughters. Real cute.

Break, a little more interaction from Warm-up guy. Then back from commercial, we get our suprise. George gets to put his two-cents in. I miss George, but I miss Carolyn more. Anyway he thought James lacked focus while Stefani didn’t show enough leadership. Thanks, George.

It starts to drizzle at the Hollywood Bowl. Ivanka asked Stefani if she can work independently. Whatever. James said he is a leader. Whatever. Don Jr. said James becomes too focused on one thing at times. Trump accuses Stefani of being under the radar and she makes a valid point. She was well-respected by everyone on her team and was never called back for a final boardroom. It’s true, she was never in danger of being fired.

Heidi said Stefani should win saying “I love a strong woman”. Kristine said this was the year of the woman. Frank said it was a difficult choice.

Surya told Trump he wasn’t sure he would hire either one of them. But there was a guy named Sanjaya who was looking for a job. Trump’s facial impression showed he was unimpressed by Surya’s answer (and after the show, Surya was told in no uncertain terms by Trump that he didn’t like the answer).

Don Jr. said he was proud of both of them but said it would be much different working for Trump than competing on the reality show. Really, Jr? (as an aside, Don Jr. was probably the most accessible of the Trumps afterward so I give him credit for that).

Final segment. Trump said Stefani flew under the radar. James was told he was terrific in every respect but for now …

James, you’re fired. Stefani, you’re hired.

Sir Linksalot: The Apprentice

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