May 01, 2011 09:23 PM by Shayla Perry
This week on NBC‘s Celebrity Apprentice, the rest of the contestants try to guess which of the ladies was fired after losing the Trump Hotel challenge, and are all shocked to see NeNe Leakes return.
Star Jones celebrates her victory with a glass of wine, but for NeNe, the rest of the competition is about crushing the former View co-host.
After another big win, John Rich delivers a check for nearly $650,000 to his charity, St. Jude’s, then joins Donald Trump and the other contestants to get the details on the next challenge.
This week the teams will each produce a hair show with the help of two stylists. They will be judged on brand messaging, their creativity in showcasing the haircare and styling products, and the overall production.
Going the rock paper scissors route, Lil Jon ends up with the task of Project Manager for Backbone.
For team A.S.A.P, things aren’t that easy. NeNe Leakes says that Star volunteered her for the job of Project Manager, but tells Trump that she’ll gladly take on the role to get rid of Star. She then begins to verbally attack Jones, telling everyone that she’s tired of how she’s been manipulating all of the women from day 1 of the competition, and goes on to refer to Hope Dworaczyk as Star’s “puppet.”
After being embarrassed in front of Donald Trump and the other contestants, Star Jones says that she’s eager to show the world how an educated black woman handles confrontations and stressful situations vs. an uneducated black woman. (We’re gonna go out on a limb here and assume that Star is referring to herself as the educated one.)
Once the contestants are dismissed, the cameras continue rolling behind the scenes as NeNe’s rant goes on and on, with the Housewife yelling in Jones’ face. Star finally asks Leakes what it is that she’s accusing her of doing, but instead of giving her a straightforward answer, NeNe tells her to “shut the f**k up!”
Realizing the clear advantage they now have, team Backbone gets started on their plans, with Lil Jon showing Meat Loaf and John Rich a few examples of hair shows online.
In a strategic move, the men decide to call former A.S.A.P. team member and supermodel, Nikki Taylor to participate in their show, and Nikki is all for it — but wonders why the ladies didn’t ask her. John Rich explains that things are a little dicey with the women at the moment, and tells Nikki that she’s lucky to not be working with them right now.
Over at A.S.A.P., the tension in the air is thick as NeNe Leakes tries to tell her team members about the hair shows in Atlanta that she’s experienced, but after the display that Leakes put on earlier, no one is exactly ready to work with NeNe, let alone take orders from her.
Strangely enough, when they come up with the concept of “Shake Your Beauty,” things mellow out as the ladies all do their best hair whippin’ and dance moves.
After meeting with the company exec, the teams are both pumped about the challenge and eager to get started.
But little do they know…
Donald Trump has a visitor at his office…La Toya Jackson! After being fired, LaToya has returned to privately plead her case with the Donald, arguing that she never should have been eliminated in the first place. La Toya wants to return to the game as a member of the men’s team to prove herself as a competitor and beat Star Jones. Not saying no, Donald Trump says that he’ll give her an answer in less than 24 hours.
This just got interesting!
Team Backbone is in the brainstorming phase, which for them, means there’s a lot of trying to decipher Meat Loaf’s ideas. Ultimately, they decide on “Feeling Good in America” as the theme of their show.
At the site of the hair show, team A.S.A.P. meets with their models and hair stylists. Star has taken it upon herself to produce a Power Point presentation that will be play during the show. Despite the exchange with Leakes, Star wants to do her best on the challenge, taking note that NeNe isn’t going to be able to pull off a win without her help; a point she’s prepared to make in the boardroom.
While John Rich and Meat Loaf meet with the technical team, Lil Jon is hard at work shopping for the models at Lord & Taylor.
Marlee and Hope are on their way to Lord & Taylor themselves. In the van, the two dish about the altercation between Star and NeNe. Marlee points out that NeNe and Star are both acting as if it never happened, but knows that NeNe is still holding on to all of that anger, and will be ready to unleash it when she feels it’s necessary.
During their shopping trip, Hope struggles to stay focused and shop for everyone else, but they manage to get a few outfits for the show — hopefully they fit!
At the salon, both teams are there as the stylists start working on the models. Ivanka Trump is surprised by how calm the men are; especially Lil Jon, who’s enjoying a glass of wine. She’s also shocked to see NeNe not ready to blow up at anyone – even with Star Jones working in the corner. NeNe explains that she was so tired of Star’s manipulation, and couldn’t hold back her feelings anymore, warning Ivanka that if her team loses, “the boardroom will be on fire!”
Just then, Nikki Taylor walks into the salon, and John Rich makes sure that she goes over to say hi to her former teammates. NeNe acts as though it’s not a big deal, but quickly calls Hope to tell her not to tell Nikki, whom she’s remained in close contact with, any of the team’s plans.
On the day of the presentations, team Backbone gets to work, but A.S.A.P.’s stylists are angry when the ladies arrive late.
During rehearsals, the women seem to have things together, despite the confusion throughout. Everyone is impressed with NeNe’s direction, but she takes a backseat when the stylists hit the stage, and watches as they constantly yell to Star, who’s having trouble with the technical side of the production.
Meat Loaf is having some trouble of his own. His team seems satisfied with the short walk through, but he thinks they need to practice more, and says that if they lose, it’s Lil Jon who will be at fault.
It’s showtime! Team A.S.A.P. starts with a performance by the dancers that Star Jones brought on board. After NeNe’s brief introduction, the stylists take the stage and Marlee does her best to promote the products while she’s getting styled. Hope, on the other hand, fails to impress with her strange strut down the runway. Somewhere, Tyra Banks is having a heart attack.
Next up is team Backbone, which of course is introduced by Lil Jon. The presentation is off to a slow start with a lot of “dead air” as the stylists work on the models. Luckily, things start to pick up with a little help from Nikki Taylor, Roots drummer Questlove, and some Mardi Gras beads.
In the boardroom, both teams face Donald Trump, who immediately asks NeNe how her team responded to her as Project Manager. NeNe says she didn’t think everyone performed as well as they could have, but Ivanka points out that her outburst before the challenge certainly could have set a negative tone for the team. Leakes goes on to explain why she has issues with Star, again calling her a backstabber, and Hope a puppet. Donald Trump agrees that Hope has stayed under the radar throughout the competition, and when asked which team member is more valuable moving forward, Star says that NeNe is much more of an asset than Hope.
The men are feeling confident in their performance, and they explain their reasoning behind bringing Nikki Taylor in for the task. Ivanka then points out Lil Jon’s calm demeanor throughout the task. Donald Trump asks Lil Jon who the weakest member of his team is, and Lil Jon says that there is no weak link. Trump then asks if that means that he will be at fault if the team loses, and Lil Jon says that they’re not going to lose. Period.
Apparently, he’s right! The execs loved Lil Jon’s enthusiasm on stage, and despite not having emphasized the safety factor as they wanted, Backbone managed to win the task…and another bonus?
LaToya Jackson will be working with team Backbone for the remainder of the competition. A first (and last) in Apprentice history.
After she takes her seat with her new team, Trump asks LaToya her thoughts on NeNe and Star, and she tells him that she definitely trusts NeNe over Star, who is a backstabber, confirming what NeNe has said all along. She also says that Hope is a follower and always does what Star says, which causes Ivanka to point out that Hope didn’t even speak up to refute LaToya.
So who goes home?
As the men toast their win and the addition of the new team member, A.S.A.P. faces Donald Trump.
NeNe Leakes brings both Star Jones and Hope Dworaczyk back to the boardroom.
For more video from the boardroom and Hope Dworaczyk’s Exit Interview, click here.
To see the full episode, check your local listings for a replay on CNBC, or visit NBC.com to watch online.
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Photo credit: NBC