And then there were two.
Donald Trump kicked off last night’s final pre-recorded episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” by turning to his three previous winners – Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers and Brett Michaels – for advice on which two of the final four contestants should square off in one final task.
After a few hilarious interviews in which Piers mocked John Rich’s “annoying hat” and Lil’ Jon reminded America that “not all rappers are blunt smoking, crack smoking ignorant people,” The Donald decided to set up a rematch between Rich and deaf actress Marlee Matlin.
Their challenge: to create a complete retro-themed ad campaign for 7-Up – including can design, case packaging and, of course, a TV commercial.
Marlee – with first pick – inexplicably chose to customize her promotion around the 1970s utilizing the help of the Harlem Globetrotters, while allowing country musician Rich to do an ‘80s theme working with Def Leppard.
In a selection process that would bring back any kid’s worst nightmares of grade school gym class, the two stars were allowed to field teams from a lineup of previously fired contestants.
Marlee took Richard Hatch, Latoya Jackson and Meat Loaf. John went with Star Jones, Lil John and Mark McGrath.
Everything got off to a wonderful start. Both teams designed great can designs: Marlee’s ‘70s inspired packaging looked like a disco ball, while John went with the black and white zebra print ‘’80s design.
And we were treated to a priceless moment of Meat Loaf dressing up as himself from “Bat Out of Hell” for the TV spot.
But seasoned viewers know nothing goes off as planned in this show.
As the clock ticked down to 11:00 PM, Team Marlee got news that Jeffrey Holder — yes, THE Jeffrey Holder, the original “voice” of 7-Up from 40 years ago – was suddenly prohibited by his lawyer from participating in her task as previously discussed.
And (shocker!) Def Leppard refused to show up for Team John after being asked to have only the drummer appear on stage during the VIP launch party.
We’ll all just have to wait until next week to see how the drama plays out – and if this will be Trump’s last stand in the Boardroom.