'The Celebrity Apprentice' Finale Recap: The Last Man Standing
'The Celebrity Apprentice' Finale Recap: The Last Man Standing
This week on The Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump names a winner. But getting there is (and has been) a long road. Last we left the two finalists, Clay upset Debbie and Arsenio had what could be a disaster on his hands.

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The show begins in Trump's office, where he's on the phone with "the mayor," and he's running late to the finale. What's a billionaire to do? Just hitch a ride with an Andretti -- in his race car, no less. Despite how cheesy the opener is, Trump does make a grand entrance. On time.

Eve of the Big Day

It's the night before the charity event, and Debbie's on the phone stressed over Clay's micromanaging. The next morning, Debbie shows Clay some of her cousin's past work, and he's fine with it. Problem solved.

Meanwhile, Arsenio can't believe the video clips sent over from California has Magic Johnson turned sideways and not into the camera when he gives his pitch about his foundation. Thankfully, that's not the only clip that's sent over, and disaster is averted.

Race Against Time

Clay's event seems overly ambitious. Not only is there a carnival to create, complete with booths and games, but that stinking mural has to be painted.

On the other side, Arsenio's team is discussing their variety show, specifically how to incorporate Teresa and Paul. And then there's Adam, who continues to pitch ideas such as roasting Arsenio, who wants none of that. Adam seems confused, which isn't surprising if you've seen this show when he was still on it.

With two hours until the event, no one on Arsenio's team seems to be stressing. Teresa, in charge of decorating the place, puts together a very clean, simple and chic look.

Meanwhile, Clay and everyone else on his team is rolling up their sleeves to finish painting the rest of the mural -- which does look really cool.

Welcome Back

The fired contestants not involved with Clay and Arsenio's final task come back -- minus Michael Andretti and Cheryl Tiegs, however. Victoria commends the men's team, while calling Aubrey a cartoon character and calling Lisa crude and rude.

Lou says for the first time in his life, he can hear without a hearing aid. Dayana has nothing positive to say about Lisa (I wasn't expecting you to). And Patricia is upset that the money she had raised went to the other charity because she lost. Well, then you should have won.

The Big Event

Early on as people are lining up on the red carpet, they all seem to be there for Clay. One ultimate fan is singled out after she and other "Claymates" raise $20,000 -- and she gets to be the first one in there.

The big guns have opened their wallets for the two finalists, and Whoopi Goldberg is there as Arsenio's date!

For Clay, Kelly Clarkson, David Foster and even Lisa Lampanelli all donate $10,000. Retired MLB pitcher Orel Hershiser pitches in $20,000.

For Arsenio, Chris Rock and George Lopez contribute $5,000, while Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Kimmel and Marco Andretti give $10,000 each. I'm pretty sure Marco even brought his in cash. Jay Leno gives two checks to Arsenio as well. It would've been cool to see these celebs actually in attendance.

When the event begins, it's clear the contrasting atmospheres between the two parties: Arsenio's is more for adults and there's a lot of alcohol at the bar, while Clay's is fun and for the family.

Aubrey's Apology

The show returns live, and the remaining fired celebs come on stage. While the first batch of celebs who came out sit in the back, Dayana remains in the front -- and Aubrey sits right next to her. Aubrey is given some time on camera and uses it to apologize, and for the first time ever, she actually sounds sincere. Maybe the fact that she's blonde has something to do with it? It's probably just the immense backlash she's been receiving.

Then clips of Lisa being an emotional basket case are shown. They do not go easy on her. But she's the first to admit that as much as she dishes it out, she can also take it, so she's a good sport about it.

"Variety" in the Variety Shows

Both shows seem to go off without a hitch. A few notable moments:

- Paul changes up the joke he's supposed to deliver with Adam and really catches him off guard. But it delivers more laugh.

- Penn dances all up on Aubrey while she's singing "I Will Survive," and she can't even keep it together at times.

- Dee and Debbie doing a quick "sing-off" is easily the highlight.

- Lisa is her loud, crude self, getting a laugh at the expense of not just Donald and Ivanka but Clay as well.

- Clay delivers a nice performance of "Time of My Life."

The Boardroom

In this pre-taped segment, both teams come together one final time. Lisa raves about Arsenio, Adam is impressed at the "Claytribution" Lisa made and Teresa can't think of a single weakness for Arsenio. Donald tries to get Aubrey to say something about Arsenio, but she won't, giving just a stone-cold look.

Unlike other tasks, no matter the outcome of the final project, each finalist will be able to donate the money they raised.

Arsenio raises $167,100 for the Magic Johnson Foundation ... and Clay raises $301,500 for the National Inclusion Project -- almost HALF more! Impressive. Is this a sign of things to come?

Taking the Stage

Our two finalists finally make their entrance. Donald asks Dee, Lisa, Teresa and Debbie who should win -- of course, they pick the person they worked with. Then the question is posed to Dayana, who picks Arsenio. Why do I feel like this is the Dayana Mendoza show? She's getting way too much face time. It's like Donald wants to prove to everyone that she's not as dumb or clueless about everything as she seemed in the shows. Well, it's not working.

Clay and Arsenio then give a performance of "Lean On Me," complete with a teen choir. Did you guys know Arsenio can sing -- and sing well? I didn't. This whole thing is a little too much, but like both have said before, it's nice to be in the final with someone you like and respect.

You're Hired!

Both Clay and Arsenio make their last-minute pleas ... both really, really, REALLY want to win. Clay doesn't want to be second on another TV show, and Arsenio counters with being second in the late-night world to Johnny Carson back in the day -- and also coming in second in a magic competition to none other than Penn years ago. So both know what second place feels like, and neither wants to feel it again.

I wish Donald went more into his thought process into his selection of a winner. Anything more than what we already know about them, or what others have said since it's ultimately his decision. But he commends both and says both should be proud (as they should).

And the winner of The Celebrity Apprentice is ... Arsenio Hall!

Esther Gim
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of NBC)

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