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'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: The tale of the class act and the 'hussy'

NUP_143136_0034I must admit, I almost didn't feel like watching "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday night. It was rainy, I was tired -- I couldn't take such drama. Or so I thought. The producers knew all I needed was a little NeNe to get into it. 

She's been flying under the radar on "Celebrity Apprentice"  -- and, alas, she continued on that path last night -- but she's what hooked me in. And the fact that she was in an RV only helped: The last time a television audience saw NeNe in such a vehicle, she had joined fellow Atlanta housewives Kim Zolciak and Kandi Burruss on tour and lashed out Kim in another one of their brilliant blowups.

Unfortunately, being stuck in an RV didn't rekindle any anger in NeNe. But it was a heck of an episode, nonetheless, with Gary Busey and Dionne Warwick picking up the slack, to be sure.

But I jumped ahead: Why was there an RV involved in the first place? The assignment this week was for the two teams to market Camping World and their recreation vehicles. Busey was project manager for the men's team; Niki Taylor led the women. 

Busey led the team as one would expect. He muttered; he was disorganized, keeping no tabs on the proceedings. He was perfectly content, offering up acronyms for words that needed no further explanation. ("Team," for example, means in Busey speak: "Together everyone achieving more.")

Mark McGrath just kept flipping out, constantly panicking but doing very little to fix it. Jose Canseco was just a big lug who contributed nothing. 

The saving grace for the men came, once again, from the two strongest, classiest and respectable men on the team: Meat Loaf and John Rich. Rich, especially, worked tirelessly, picking up everyone else's slack and carrying the team with wit and creativity. 

After the mess that last week was for the women -- and even before that, with the pizza parlor -- Team ASAP managed to pull itself together under Taylor. They gussied up the RVs, they got along relatively well; it seemed to go smoothly and without any of the catfights that have, unfortunately, plagued the team thus far. 

But then there's Dionne Warwick.

Star Jones toned down her antagonistic ways. But Warwick was sassy and difficult to work with and just plain rude. That episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" she was in will never be the same to me again. She has contributed little to the show and the chemistry of its cast.

This season's cast has shown a remarkable cohesiveness. Just as we saw in the first episode in which Canseco stood up for the seemingly meek former teen idol David Cassidy, a spirit of camaraderie has persisted throughout the show. In just this episode, we learned that the marvelous Marlee Matlin helped Busey, who apparently is hearing impaired, get fitted with virtually invisible hearing aids. 

But Warwick has gone completely against that. She doesn't even push buttons in that it's-OK-it's-just-reality-TV kind of way. She simply comes across as a fading legend to the rest of the world who's still queen in her own mind, thus giving her the clearance to demean those around her. 

I must credit her with a line worthy of the pantheon of reality-TV quotables, though, which came after she raised a ruckus with Taylor: "I got your number, hussy!" I can see that printed on T-shirts.

Ultimately, the men were the dark horse, propelled by Rich and Loaf (should he actually be called Mr. Loaf on second reference?), to win the contest. And for a second week, the women had to stay behind. 

It was a quick and simple firing but perhaps historic for the Boardroom, in the class and dignity shown by those fired. Taylor refused to throw her teammates under the bus, even with Warwick, who should have gone home. 

Taylor said it was her team; she was project manager, and if blame was to be assigned, it should go to her. 

It speaks volumes about a show when the one who's lauded by everyone in the room for her integrity, for her grace and for her honesty is sent home. The troublemaker who contributes next to nothing survives to see another challenge.

— Rick Rojas

Photo: Dionne Warwick goes shopping for wares to decorate one of Team ASAP's RVs on "Celebrity Apprentice." Credit: Douglas Gorenstein / NBC

Comments () | Archives (45)

the women's team is totally black against white and Dionne Warwick is a complete racist

I started watching the show when Trace Adkins said he got a call from John Rich about needing money for a task.

Trace went on to say that he called John Rich when he needed money for a task.

I watched last week, and this week.
I do enjoy the show, John Rich is my favorite

Niki Taylor provided one of the few class act moments on "The Apprentice"
I'm so disgusted with Dionne Warlock though. So, So mean spirited and ugly in her behavior. Unlike the author of this article, I do not wish to see her cheap comment on any t-shirt, ever. She displays so much of what is wrong in America today. Ungracious, and full of prideful contempt.

so agree, Warwick is just plain mean. It kind of ruins her song "That's What Friends are For" for me..... Star Jones acted better this time. They both were horrible regarding the children's book last week. Just mean and ugly! I was wishing they had a hotline to vote them off. I never would have thought Warwick was such a diva!

I agree Rich and Meatloaf are by far the most hardworking, classy guys. Busey tries, he is just a little different. All the guys really do seem to contribute, except Conseco, he isn't too impressive.

If you are searching for the definition of "Class", then look no further that Nikki Taylor on the show. Her departure was graceful, apologetic, with no bad words or ill feelings at the end.

As for Dionne Warwick, I have totally lost all respect for this woman. But not to worry, the fireworks will come for sure, and I will pop a bottle of champange when this vicious and poor excuse for a lady is booted out.

"Unfortunately, being stuck on an RV didn't rekindle any anger in NeNe." In a nutshell the reason reality shows are so big. People love to see anger, bad behavior and mental illness. Nothing gets viewers like train wreck. The uglier the people and the situation, the more viewers they get. I watched this show twice and I think Dionne Warwick is just the nastiest person and Star Jones is a close runner-up. I don't want to see their ugliness, I want them to get fired. I like watching positive and emotional healthy people like Nikki Taylor and John Rich.

I'm absolutely sure that Gary "space case" Busey believes that Backbone won the task from his leadership. He is the reincarnation of The Nearsighted Mr Magoo stumbling safely through a sawmill while reading his newspaper. The sides are somewhat even with useless players Canseco and Warwick on opposite sides. Taylor shouldn't have fallen on her sword to save Warwick. Thank god Trump doesn't have to hire the winner.

Dionne Warwick has got to GO-then Starr Jones!
Then Ne-Ne (or what ever the heck her name is)
Honestly-these women are such divas it is laughable. Lisa and Nicki - both voted out- has 3xs the amount of class than the above-mentioned.
Please-come on-I know certain people are kept around all because of ratings-but please please and pretty please GET RID OF WARWICK.
The woman should NEVER sang "That's what friends are for-because I am sure in real life she has NONE"
As for the men "what is Jose on the show for?" He doesn't do anything and yes, I know Gary had a brain injury (apparent-duh) but his constant jabbering is turning me off the show. Meat Loaf is a total surprise to me. The guy is great and as for comments about Country singers, fans and folks sort of being "not as intelligent or savvy" as city folks-John Rich is proving them all wrong.
I love watching the apprentice shows and have been faithful through the years, but really I AM BEGINNING TO RECONSIDER MY SUNDAY NIGHT VIEWING-Get rid of Dionne and Jose and Gary and Star-then I WILL START to watch again.

I remember what the word 'diva' meant someone who was very talented but hard to deal with. Calling any of these women 'diva' is skipping the most important meaning of the word--the 'talent' part. They have egos for NO reason other than being a legend in their own mind. And finally---after trying to keep interested in this show--I can't do it anymore. Watching worthless people fight among themselves is too hard.

This years Celebrity Apprentice should be the last one they ever shoot. What a bunch of losers. Trump and his kids have turned into cartoonish stereotypes. Mark McGrath is a whiner who needs to be fired. Dionne Warwick is a mean, bitter, nasty old woman who exudes hate. I have been a fan of her music for almost 40 years but I will never buy another of her records or will I attend any of her concerts.

This episode could be called 'Manning Up 101' in gender neutral terms, that is. John Rich's attitude and Niki Taylor's team-building were transcendent- both tremendous role models for their children and business leaders and a hearty congratulations to Backbone for a fine victory.

Anyone know Niki's charity? I say we start a viral cause to get donations sent to her charity in her name. Spread the word! A couple bucks from everyone out there could raise a million in a few hours!

Just found it - the American Red Cross. Now - with all the other things going on (Japan, etc), how can we focus our funding to highlight we're doing it for Niki?

I think this season is extremely entertaining! I am sad for Dionne if this is her true character (and I think it is based on an unrelated personal experience)and impressed by Niki Taylor, even though I think she just wanted to get away from Star and Dionne. (I'm happy she got the 30k from the Pizza episode for her charity.)I'm glad Star toned it down because she is a very smart lady! But do not underestimate Marlee! She is a tough, smart, opinionated person! Just because she cannot yell and inturrupt like several of the other women, she is not to be messed with! Gary Busey is a piece of work with a huge heart and has been through a lot. He may not be a good project manager but the men are clearly shining so far. Jose Canseco? What the heck! He needs to go!

I am so sad to see the hate from Dionne Warwick, she looks to ugly on the outside because she is so hateful and racist on the inside. She is a complete low class mess, shame on her. This season is black against white and Dionne and Star lost any respect if I had any that is, for them. NeNe and LaToya are not in this mess. Mr. Trump needs to address this it is so much more then a reality show it is to the core of what is dividing our country.

Celebrity Apprentice has always been interesting to me. When I saw the cast announcement this year, I thought it would be a good season... and it is. There are always going to be people who pull their own weight and those that do not. Mr. Trump will weed those out quickly- or, when the writers deem them to be out- they'll be gone. And, there are, and will be, disagreements between people- that's just life. A weakness for this week (Camping World) was that neither team really had brainstormed a (maybe a little more difficult for some ) good plan. Nikki Taylor should not have been actually fired... certainly not on the account of Dionne Warwick (more about HER in a minute). Nikki DID show the MOST class of ANYONE on the show this week with her peaceful, classy step-aside. Now, onto the lesser-classed (sorry, I do have to mention this) people. Number one is, the in-human, UN-popular Ms. Warwick. There was a time when I actually had respect for her, but, sorry, Dionne- no longer. You certainly are NOT making any new fans- and, your old fans are extremely disappointed at your behavior. What a poor and disgusting demeanor and attitude toward GOOD people- full of mean and hateful thoughts- SHAME on YOU and ANYONE else (SJ) (oh... did I GO there?? YES, I did.. hehe) who plots with you, Dionne! I digress. I see by the previews for next week that even Ms. NeNe is going to get FED UP with mean 'ole miss Warwick... and then.... oh boy.. we will learn who the HUSSY is!!! Might as well Walk On By- Dionne, 'cuz u don't KNOW what friends are for! It is my sincere hope that either Marlee Matlin or John Rich win the whole thing!! Peace Out.

Dionne is plain nasty and rude. I am waiting on NeNe to get fired up...I am sure she will and let's face it - she is the only woman who is going to have enough guts to take on Star.

I was wondering when race would come into this? It is always looming around somewhere. Calling Nikki a hussy was out of line, but all of the flax Dionne and Starr are getting for their behavior is unfair. First, you must remember Dionne is 70 years old. How much energy do you expect the woman to exude? The 'younger' women on the show should be more respectful to her...not because she's a Diva but because she's clearly paid her dues. Marley is much ruder than Dionne, but she gets the sympathy card because she is hearing impaired. Nikki should have gotten fired. She was in charge of the outside and it was a hot mess. Starr was very gracious in NOT pointing that out during the board meeting. Starr is assertive and I'm sure not very easy to work for, but she aspires to excellence and is mission first, friends second....alot like Donald's daughter Ivanka whose task is oversee and render a judgment. Apparently, our country still has difficulty accepting strong black capable women unless they're smiling and nodding and posturing a position of servitude.

I agree with everything Tye wrote. Clearly the posters to this board still have "difficulty accepting strong black capable women unless they're smiling and nodding and posturing a position of servitude" Ms. Dionne Warwick is still adored by many and is still a legend. She may be a bit tough because, I would bet my last dollar, she, like every other black entertainer of her generation has endured horrific challenges in life that would make a more demure woman crumble. Yet she persevered but certainly not unscathed. And Star Jones is an extremely intelligent organized, perfectionist who expects a high standard of effort and results from herself and her team. What else would someone expect from a successful litigator? A soft-spoken, scatterbrained mess? I'd rather have either of these two women tell me what they think of me to my face, so that I know where they stand than have a snake like Lisa Rihnna smile in my face while stabbing knives in my back like she did to Star. If you want to talk about nasty, someone should be mentioning Richard Hatch. Lastly, although I liked Nikki Taylor, she reminds me of a Stepford wife.

I have entertained Celebrity Apprentice since its inception however, this week is my last. I have been a fan of Dionne Warwick for many years and will never purchase another album or attempt to support her career in any way. She should have never come on board. She has only shone us all that she is mean spirited & rude. Which makes it very apparent that she would display this behavior without a care that her fan base is watching.
Niki Taylor is an absolute class act, not just because of how she left that show, but in all she represents. If Dionne had any class at all, she would have apologized to Niki for calling her a "Hussy"...really??? Niki Taylor??? Are you kidding?
Lisa Renna is gone...another class act...next it'll be LaToya....All the women that show digity are fired...I think your show has seen its last season, Donald. It's time to hang it up

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