Hallelujah! In the first five minutes of tonight's "Celebrity Apprentice," Donald Trump fired the insufferably bratty Aubrey O'Day. Yes!!
Not only did that mean Aubrey couldn't possibly win the competition, it meant Clay Aiken was a finalist -- against his pal Arsenio Hall.
"I'm having a little deja vu," Clay said, referencing the 2003 season of "American Idol" when he was a finalist on that show with Ruben Studdard. Arsenio joked that he's "not that heavy."
Trump asked Clay if "Celebrity Apprentice" was harder than "American Idol." "Oh, it's so much harder than American Idol," Clay answered.
Then Trump dismissed the finalists and on the way out, Arsenio hugged Clay and said "I'm getting in your ass!" Clay: "You might want to re-phrase that." Arsenio busted up and started yelling, "It was a colloquialism that was misunderstood!"
Outside the boardroom, the two shared a big hug and reflected on when they first met at the competition, with Arsenio giving his best Southern rendition of "Hi!"
Arsenio said the best part of being a finalist was being in it with someone he respects. Clay said he also respects Arsenio, but "It's a shame I have to beat him. . . . This time I ain't gonna lose."
Clay said he is going to work even harder this time not to be a runner-up. "I'll sleep when it's over but until then, game on."
The Final Task
For the final task, Arsenio and Clay must produce, host and sell tickets to a celebrity charity event, and be responsible for all aspects of the event. They have to produce a commercial for the show and put on a variety show. And of course, raise as much money as possible. The money they earn, they keep for their charities.
Arsenio and Clay next had to pick teams from some of the called-back castoffs.
Arsenio picked: Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Teutul Sr., and Teresa Guidice
Clay picked: Penn Jillette, Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider, and Aubrey O'Day
Arsenio got the two comics he wanted and Clay got three singers.
Before they started working on the event, Clay talked to his team about his work with kids with disabilities and about his charity.
Aubrey said she thinks Clay is talented professionally, but that he bugs her as a person. But, she said, when he talked about his charity: "I actually like him a little more. I mean, I'm starting to see the appeal of Clay. And I can't even believe I just said that."
There was some worry at first that Penn would be a hindrance on Clay's team when he started shooting down Clay's ideas. But fortunately, he came up with a great alternative idea for the PSA for the National Inclusion Project. If Penn is clicking and Aubrey acts okay, Clay has a really strong team.
But. Arsenio's team was already raising lots of money and had figured out a way to get Magic Johnson to film something for his PSA. As Donald Trump Jr. noted when he dropped in on Clay's group, they didn't seem to be thinking at all about raising money.
Once Clay started working on the money-raising a little, things didn't seem to go so well. It sounded like he was getting a lot of rejection. Let's hope a lot of that is editing.
Then Clay's team argued a bit about whether or not to paint the walls in their hall. Then they loaded up and went to what is apparently Dog Sh*t Park in NYC to film their PSA -- a nice smelly park with a really loud train running nearby.
They walked around looking for another green space (they weren't allowed to shoot in Central Park, Clay noted Sunday night on Twitter) and interrupted a baseball game. So, no dice. The coach was a big fan of Clay, but sorry, no dice.
Clay: "Plan A has fallen through, Plan B has now fallen through, Plan C is gone and we're now at Plan F for 'we're [blanked].'"
Penn suggested they just do it in the studio and Clay resisted, so Penn declared Clay "uptight."
They finally got what they needed and Clay seemed right at home playing with the kids. The teacher in him came out immediately.
Now, go raise some money, Clay!
One of the best parts of the show was getting to hear Aubrey's digs at Debbie Gibson again. I know Aubrey is a brat, but for some reason, her comments about Debbie Gibson and her "comeback tour" crack me up.
Also loved Arsenio's rant about how he can write off the so-called friends who "ran from him" when he was trying to raise money. Then cut to a clip of Clay calling an unidentified person for a contribution: "Well, you tell her I don't want to come in second on another TV show, so she needs to make it big."
A nice surprise for Clay: Arsenio's team member Lisa Lampanelli called Clay and told him she was going to personally give him a donation for his show. Clay was moved, especially since Lisa was working for Arsenio. "[Blank] Arsenio," he joked. Then to the camera, "Can you use that?"
Then Aubrey said she had a guy who will give Clay at least ten thousand dollars. Clay was so excited he kissed Aubrey on the mouth. Aubrey: "Oh my God, Clay Aiken kissed me! I'm a Claymate!"
Then we had another -- another -- big fight about painting that stupid wall. Debbie Gibson was going to get her cousin to paint a mural for the room and Clay wanted to see a sketch before it went on the wall. He was adamant about that and wanted to pull the plug when it looked like there'd be no sketch up front. But Debbie was determined to make the mural happen. I'm with Clay on this one. Murals can be cool but more often than not, they are cheesy. So, get the sketch!!
The final bit we get from the show is that Adam appears to have really screwed up Arsenio's PSA with Magic Johnson.
But we'll have to wait until next week to see what happened. Next week's finale (9pm on NBC) will show the two events and then the winner will be revealed live.
See you next week!
Be sure to read our interview with Clay Aiken and get the scoop on Aubrey, Penn and the other guys.