Raleigh’s Clay Aiken is competing on the new season of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which debuts tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.
On “The Celebrity Apprentice,” figures from the entertainment industry form teams -- usually men vs. women -- and compete in business-themed tasks around New York City to prove their worthiness to host Donald Trump. The contestants compete for charity, and in many cases, for the chance to rejuvenate a stalling career.
Some of the celebrities who will compete alongside Clay this season are Lou Ferrigno, Arsenio Hall, Dee Snider, Cheryl Tiegs, Debbie Gibson, Lisa Lampenelli, Penn Jillette, Adam Carolla, Michael Andretti, and George Takei. Several reality show stars are also involved.
The first task for the stars will be running a midtown sandwich shop for a day. In a preview released by NBC, Clay is shown convincing a businessman to pay $1,000 for a sandwich instead of the already generous $500 he was offering.
“Wait a minute, this is a platinum card,” Clay says. “I think you can do more than $500! What about a thousand?”
Clay should go far in the competition. Trump told “Today” host Matt Lauer recently that Clay is a “tough” and “nasty” player.
“Clay Aiken is totally different than I thought,” Trump said. “I figured he wasn’t going to be that strong of a player. He’s a really strong player. Great singer, but he’s a tough guy, and he’s nasty. You wouldn’t think it.”
Clay, the runner-up on the second season of “American Idol,” has sold more than 4 million albums since 2003 (source: Forbes), written a New York Times bestselling memoir, and starred in “Spamalot” on Broadway. In 2011, Forbes named Clay #9 in their list of 10 Top-Earning American Idols, estimating the singer makes about $1.5 million per year.
He’s competing on “The Celebrity Apprentice” for the National Inclusion Project, a charity Clay started with Diane Bubel to help kids with disabilities be mainstreamed into programs for children.