December 06, 2010 01:00 PM by Shayla Perry
The season finale of NBC’s The Apprentice is almost here, and in her blog, Ivanka Trump dishes about the final two contestants, Brandy and Clint, getting us all up to speed, and filling us in on what to expect in Thursday’s all new episode.
“Hi Apprentice fans!Â Weâ€™re almost at the finish line for The Apprentice and I couldnâ€™t be more fascinated by all the excitement on this weekâ€™s episode. With the two finalists being announced and former contestants returning, the game is the most cutthroat it has ever been â€” just the way we all like it on reality TV!
“In order to select who the finalists would be, my father had the three remaining contestants join him in the boardroom and tell him why they each felt they deserved to be the next Apprentice. This was not an enviable place for Brandy, Liza, or Clint. Itâ€™s very stressful! I was interested to see what each contestantâ€™s rationale was for why he or she should be hired, and had a strong idea of who I would choose â€” and it seems my father and I agreed. While Liza is incredibly talented and showed some real moxy last episode, she did not seem as consistently strong as Clint and Brandy had been throughout the season. The story of her achievements was compelling, but Brandyâ€™s corporate experience and Clintâ€™s self description as ‘a CEO in a box’ were better arguments. My father fired Liza, knowing she was the weakest of the three players, and advised her to try to get along with her colleagues better in the future. I thought it was a very fair firing and that he offered her some solid constructive criticism.
“I was pleased with the decision, as I truly think that Brandy and Clint represent this seasonâ€™s strongest players. As my father said, however, everyone is a winner on The Apprentice as they can take the exposure that they have garnered from being on the show and can use it to make great strides in their subsequent careers.Â I congratulate all of this seasonâ€™s contestants and wish them great success in business and in life.
“Letâ€™s see what successes Clint and Brandy have on the two final episodesâ€¦
“The final challenge was based on one of my fatherâ€™s main passions â€” golf â€” and the two finalists found that they were going to be tested in a ‘real’ Trump Organization setting. My father, as many people know, is a golf fanatic, and the owner of 11 top courses throughout the world. He is a world-class golf developer, marketer, and entrepreneur and any Apprentice would have to show strong skills in this arena. We really saved the toughest and the best task for last.
“I met my father and Don at the beautiful Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff, New York to deliver the final task assignment. As always, former contestants were brought back to ‘aid’ the finalists â€” Mahsa, Poppy, and Steuart were one team, and Anand, Stephanie and Liza were another. Brandy and Clint had some tough choices to make â€” choose the more ‘desirable’ of the two tasks or the more ‘desirable’ of the two teams. Brandy chose what I think was the more easily manageable team (and the one with a golf star â€“ Liza), leaving Clint with the choice between a dinner gala followed by a concert by Liza Minnelli and a VIP golf tournament featuring Kathy Griffin. Clint chose the Liza Minnelli gala. It was a solid choice in my opinion â€” hosting a gala featuring a world-renowned icon seems like a slightly less logically challenging proposition than coordinating the entertainment and flow of a large numbers of golfers spread out over hundreds of acres of property. That said, neither challenge was going to be an easy feat. Let the games begin!
“In my opinion, the key elements in event planning are extreme organization and attention to detail â€” without these capabilities, anybody will be crushed in a high-stress situation. My father is famous for his acute attention to detail, a trait that I have inherited, and I was impressed at how Clint exemplified this attribute in his meeting with Ms. Minnelliâ€™s manager. Don was surprised that Clint chose the concert for the task, but I can see a bit of the showman in Clint, so I knew that he was going to be a very strong project manager and rise to the occasion.
“Brandy was aptly nervous going into her task as she did not know a great deal about golf â€” but she was reassured after seeing the course and realizing that the location was spectacular and the course itself would be the eventâ€™s greatest selling point. I agree with her that Trump National Westchester is exceptionally beautiful â€” but I also knew that there are many moving parts to be considered for a tournament and that she was in for many challenges. Brandy, however, is a very strong competitor, and I had faith that she was up to it.
“For one of the first task delegations, Brandy decided to rely on Liza to acquire gift bag items. With a healthy $25,000 budget, the team decided that it was best to get gift cards as the gift items so that avid golfers could pick and choose what they wanted.Â It wasnâ€™t the most creative decision, but the rationale behind it was strong.Â Liza, however, wanted to make a bigger impact after hearing Don talk about exceeding expectations.Â She disregarded what had been decided, and bought the items that she thought worked for the gift bag.Â Even recognizing that Brandy hasnâ€™t worked on a golf tournament before and Liza has experience in this realm, it was still extremely disrespectful to Brandy, her authority, and the team as a whole. What a disaster!
“On the other team, they seemed to be faring better and working more cohesively until the caterers cancelled last minute at 6:30 pm. Clint and his team handled it well and in a huge stroke of luck (and perseverance) found a caterer that could accommodate 550 people the next day. It was a close call and a good show of Clintâ€™s drive to win. He is not someone to panic and let a setback get the best of him. I really liked seeing him come out swinging!
“Brandy seemed to be making good progress. She handled Kathy Griffin well, listening to her advice, and creating a program around Kathyâ€™s suggested timing. Kathy is a real pro, and Brandy did very well to heed her advice.
“Then came some news that could have been construed as good or bad. Brandy would lose one member of her team as my father wanted Liza to play with him in the tournament. In all honesty, after her behavior with the gift bags, I donâ€™t think that it was necessarily a disadvantage to have Liza out of play, but Brandy was going to be down one set of hands.
“Then came more news, this time definitely bad, for Brandyâ€™s team: The photographer theyâ€™d hired for the golf event went to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. He apparently hadnâ€™t been told he was to be at the Westchester club. The clubs are about a two-hour drive from one another, so it would be a close call. As I said, details are one of the most essential elements in event planning, and this was aÂ major detail to overlook.Â This would be a big challenge for Brandy to overcome.
“Plans for the gala and concert seemed to be going well after the catering issue was resolved, which seemed to point to smoother sailing. That was until they got the poster boards and place cards back from the printer and noticed that Liza Minnelliâ€™s name was spelled incorrectly. Clintâ€™s team had already spent money to have this printing done, and not much left in their budget to have it fixed. As they say, ‘the devil is in the details’ and the detailsÂ may be the downfall ofÂ Clintâ€™s team!
“At the moment, both teams are having some major issues, and you will have to tune in next week to see how they are resolved. I promise, that it will be exciting and worth your while!
“I look forward to seeing you in the FINAL Boardroom Thursday!”