May 22, 2011 09:07 PM by Shayla Perry
After weeks of record-breaking fundraisers, boardroom battles, and Busey, the LIVE season finale of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice is finally upon us. Which finalist will take home the title — Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin or country music superstar, John Rich? Find out everything you missed after the jump!
And then there were two…
Tonight on the LIVE season finale of NBC‘s Celebrity Apprentice, John Rich and Marlee Matlin are both still hard at work with their final challenge. But with more responsibilities, time running out, and a lot on the line, the pressure is getting to them.
Marlee Matlin and her team are trying to re-create the 70s for their 7Up Retro campaign, but have hit a snag when actor Geoffrey Holder’s lawyer says there’s a problem with the contract they’ve sent him.
At the last minute, Meat Loaf sends a car for the actor, not knowing if he’ll get in it or not, and luckily, not only does Holder show up, but he delivers his line simply maaaarvelously.
Things aren’t going so smooth for John Rich either. Def Leopard is supposed to perform for their launch event, but their tour manager isn’t seeing eye to eye with J.R. about what the band is going to do on stage.
When the band arrives, John Rich immediately lets them know about his charity and his idea for the kick-drum to play during his intro. The band still doesn’t want to do the drum, but suggests that John instead tap his foot on the stage. After giving it a try, Rich agrees that the toe-tappin’ will work.
Meanwhile, as the materials are delivered to the location of Marlee’s event, La Toya Jackson and Meat Loaf struggle to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing, having little direction at all from Matlin.
Live Event: Donald Trump welcomes the fired contestants (less 1 Richard Hatch, who’s still serving his jail sentence) to the stage to discuss their Celebrity Apprentice experience.
Trump asks David Cassidy for his thoughts on Hatch’s return to the slammer, and the former teen idol is all too pleased to let everyone know that he has no remorse at all for the man who “bullied” him on the show. Lisa Rinna is up next, and the Donald asks her who she blames for her firing. Lisa says that it’s obvious, as a smile appears on Star Jones’ face. When Trump asks Star her response to Lisa’s accusation, the former View co-host says that it’s a competition, and Lisa needed to bring her “A game.” Lisa chose not to say anything further. And then there’s Gary Busey… Trump asks the actor if he’s crazy or crazy like a fox. Gary gives a mixed up answer that includes the 12-year-old with the kite, which makes it seem as though his antics were very much planned (what a letdown!). After Lil Jon speaks about his time on the show, and his experience with Gary, Busey once again interjects with his kite pitch, then stands up and shows everyone the kite that Omaha Steaks produced because of him.
John Rich and his team are busy setting up the room for their launch party. As their putting up the final touches, some of J.R.’s friends stop by to give a $25,000 donation to St. Jude’s!
Marlee’s venue is coming together as well, and the actress is thrilled when the Harlem Globetrotters arrive.
As the guests begin to take their seats, Meat Loaf and La Toya greet them all, with Donald Trump and the 7Up executives stopping to pose with Marlee Matlin on the green carpet.
Marlee kicks off the event with a heartfelt speech about her charity, which helps deaf children. Next, the group’s commercial is shown, and the executives from 7Up looked pleasantly surprised to see Geoffry Holder returning to his iconic role. And of course, the Globetrotters never disappoint!
How will John Rich’s team compare?
Before they get started, some more friends drop off a donation of $250,000!
The guests start to fill in, with Lil Jon and Mark McGrath handing them 7Up Retro t-shirts and posters as they enter the room. But Donald Trump and the 7Up execs are instantly turned off when they aren’t greeted by J.R. or any of his team members as they were during Marlee’s event.
John Rich welcomes the crowd and introduces his commercial, which the audience absolutely loves, then, it’s time for the main event — Def Leopard’s performance.
Rich starts his musical intro, but when he announces the band, they’re not there!
When he asks a stagehand where they are, John’s told that his intro was 15 minutes early, and that the band isn’t planning on coming down until 7. Uh-oh!
On to Plan B — John does what he does best — sings! Rich has someone grab his guitar so he can get on the stage and do a few songs to fill the time.
Then… Intro of Def Leopard, take 2!
As the band rocks out (and we mean ROCK), Lil Jon pulls his friend aside to tell him how proud he is of his accomplishment, and what he’s been able to do for the children of St. Jude’s.
Later, the Donald meets with the 7Up execs for their thoughts on the two presentations. They obviously weren’t happy with the time slip-up at John Rich’s venue, but they agreed that both cans were so great, they’re rolling them both out immediately!
And now for NeNe Leakes… After a montage of her greatest hits throughout the show, Trump let her know how happy he was to have her on, and asked why she ultimately left. Leakes explained that she did what was best for her at the time, and has no regrets. When asked how she feels about Star, NeNe simply said that she holds no grudges, but stands by everything she’s said.
Star said that she was disappointed with NeNe for using the show’s platform to attack every black woman in the cast. Leakes quickly interrupts her to say that it wasn’t a racial matter at all, with Star talking over her, adding that tonight isn’t about them, but about John Rich and Marlee Matlin. Of course, NeNe was going to have the last word, so as Star tried to reiterate that she was being a “professional” on the show, Leakes says that the only thing Star managed to be was a backstabber.
Trump then asks LaToya Jackson about her relationship with NeNe Leakes and Star Jones, and why she forgave NeNe. LaToya explains that she saw that at her core, NeNe was a good person, but she saw Star’s manipulative ways, which turned her off.
Back to the show…
Both teams meet with Donald Trump in the boardroom. The Donald asks John Rich how he felt his team performed, and Rich says that he thinks his team delivered a campaign that could potentially make a billion dollars for the company.
Marlee Matlin says that her team also did well, and did everything that they were asked.
Ivanka and Donald, Jr. show both teams their competitor’s work. John says that if the cans were album covers, his can would definitely win, but Marlee says that it doesn’t include the message of his charity and that it’s plain. LaToya, however, admits that John’s 7Up can was more attention grabbing.
When discussing the events, Trump lets both teams know that the execs appreciated the fact that they were greeted by Marlee and her entire team, and didn’t like that they didn’t meet with Rich until after his event.
Donald Trump asks John for his thoughts on the botched Def Leopard intro, after taking full blame, Rich says that he was stunned by the $275,000 in donations he had just received, which had him a bit “off” the rest of the night.
Marlee Matlin immediately interrupts, asking if this was a fundraising challenge. Trump says that it definitely was not, and that John’s donations won’t impact his decision — then says that then again, it might. When Marlee says that if she wanted to, she could have raised that amount as well, repeating that the challenge wasn’t a fundraiser, Trump then agrees that it shouldn’t be a “bonus” that Rich received the money.
Trump introduces Marlee Matlin and John Rich to the live audience. For one final push, Rich brings the Donald his own cowboy hat, which, we must say — we’d like to see Trump rocking that look for a while. A BIG improvement!
The two finalists express their gratitude for being able to raise so much money for their charities, then Trump asks Meat Loaf for his pick, but he takes too long, so he moves on to NeNe, who also can’t decide. Star Jones says that it’s clearly John Rich, and La Toya Jackson, Mark McGrath, and Lil Jon agree, with David Cassidy pulling for Marlee Matlin.
After tear-jerking videos of both finalists working with their charities, Marlee and John take to the stage to perform John’s song, “For the Kids” with some very special guests from the New York School for the Deaf. (Song available on iTunes.)
Then, the two honorable competitors give their final pitch to Donald Trump. It’s a tough decision, but this season’s Celebrity Apprentice is John Rich!
Congratulations to both John and Marlee for a phenomenal job!
What do you think? Did Donald Trump make the right decision? Let us know your thoughts!
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Photo credit: NBC