John Rich Wins Celebrity Apprentice!
If you haven't watched the "Celebrity Apprentice" this season, then I have to tell you, head on over to Hulu, catch up on all the episodes you've missed and then come back and read this post.
There is something about the Apprentice that gets me thinking. I love seeing how incredibly bright celebrities come together to build brand and marketing campaigns for some of the biggest products around. For the finale, Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin faced off against country music superstar John Rich.
During the task, Meatloaf devised a 70's style commercial for 7Up, re-branded a retro can and managed to nab Jeremy Holder - the familiar voice from the 70's who used to utter the phrase "Mah-velous, simply Mah-velous." The commercial was unveiled at a seamless event that featured an amazing presentation by Marlee and a performance by the Harlem Globetrotters.
Fast forward to John Rich's team, who devised a branding campaign for an 80's 7Up can. The consensus was that John's Zebra can popped better than Marlee's retro disco ball can, but he still had to ace the event. And he did admit there were some hiccups. None of his team members met the 7Up team or Donald Trump upon their arrival and then, when John went to introduce the talent at the event, Def Leppard, he jumped the gun and called them to the stage 20 minutes earlier. Luckily, John saved the day when he jumped to the stage and began crooning until Def Leppard was ready to perform. While he had a few bumps at his event, John managed to do something amazing - raising an additional $275,000 for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Even though the task wasn't a fundraiser, two donors stepped forward to support Rich's efforts.
Donald Trump then polled the former contestants to see who they believed should win the Apprentice and in true fashion, Star Jones turned on her former ally, Marlee and cast her vote for John Rich. Even Latoya, who was on Marlee's team, found herself voting for John. Thank goodness David Cassidy threw in a vote for Marlee, while Meatloaf stayed on the fence and Lil Jon went all out for John Rich.
Before the winner was announced, Marlee shared her experience bringing hearing aids to children in third world countries as part of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
Next up, John Rich visited St. Jude's children's hospital and we heard him devote a song to the kids. It was so sad and inspiring at the same time. I have to say, there is nothing like a country music star who pours his heart into charity.
Marlee, John and the New York School for the Deaf then performed a brand new song, "For the Kids," an original song written by John Rich for the Celebrity Apprentice that's now available for download on iTunes.
In the second to last segment of the show, Marlee pled her case about how the Starkey Foundation is her life and John Rich countered that St. Jude's Children's Hospital saves lives. Plus, John shared how his body of work was far superior than Marlee's. Even Ivanka admitted that they had never had a closer Celebrity Apprentice and that Marlee and John were exceptional competitors.
Finally, it was time for the moment of truth...
Donald Trump: "Over the years I've had some tough decisions - you both have been amazing. Marlee, you raised more money than any person in a single night - I want to congratulate you. Really, amazing job. John, from the beginning you have been amazing - you're sharp, you're a leader."
Drum roll please....
The winner of Celebrity Apprentice 2011 is John Rich!!!