Apprentice Finale, part 2
Apprentice 10 is over, with the finale telecast last night. There were problems to test the resolve and crisis management skills of Brandy and Clint. How did they do in solving them?
The golfers arrived and Stephanie and Brandy greeted them. The 12pm start was shot-gun (meaning each team started on a different hole, not in a line at #1 or #10 holes) so all teams would finish at approximately the same time. Trump arrived at 1135am and Brandy did not get the opportunity (I believe deliberately) to greet him. Kathy Griffin arrived and Team Brandy expected to have her do 5 minutes of comedy at the start, but the golfers dispersed before that could happen. Kathy was driven around the course by Stephanie with the photographer in tow and interacted with each team. This was an outstanding experience for the golfers.
Clint's major problem was the spelling of "Liza Minnelli" on posters name cards. He was certain he had proofed it correctly, so the mistake was the printers. He negotiated to have the $1000 credit cover all the reprinting necessary and impressed his team by the aplomb with which he handled that negotiation.
Trump was in a 3-some with a New York Jet former player and Liza and he was upset because he was at a disadvantage to the 4-somes and 5-somes they were competing against, apparently using low score on each hole as the criteria for the team scorecard. Brandy was able to make an adjustment and by the third hole turn that 3-some into a 5-some. Trump did not acknowledge his appreciation, but I am sure he noted it. He is an excellent golfer and you know his competitive nature. He would want to win his own tournament or at least place high (note - he actually won it).
Clint greeted Liza Minnelli on her arrival and oversaw the sound check and all special arrangements to assure her satisfaction. He had delegated the feeding of 500+ guests to Steuart (due to his catering experience) and decorations to Poppy and Steuart and Poppy came through for him big time. Ivanka later noted that they had been fed in 40 minutes, a very outstanding achievement for 500+ people. Clint introduced Donald Trump and Trump introduced Kathy Griffin, who at 5pm had been transferred into his domain. Prizes were awarded. This was the key area of problems for Brandy because Lixa and Anand had not followed her instructions on how to do them and had not gotten gift certificates but had gotten merchandise that would duplicate what high-end golfers could be expected to already own. In fact, Trump later stated that every first place winner had left his not-known-brand merchandise behind. This was the only negative for Team Brandy that I could see.
Kathy introduced Liza. Liza did her singing, which I am not a big fan of but Donald Trump clearly was. The evening ended and Trump proclaimed both the golf tournament and the dinner/entertainment a major success. So how would he decide who the Apprentice would be? The teams returned to the Boardroom for this.
Trump acknowledged that both Brandy and Clint have done an outstanding job. He was impressed by the golf tournament running without a hitch, the outstanding food service and the room decorations. He started by asking Brandy why she picked the team and not the task. She said she wanted Liza and Stephanie on her team but definitely not Mahsa. Clint was asked why he picked what may have been the harder task of the dinner/entertainment over the golf tournament. He answered because he had communications skills that would be better utilized in that task. Trump acknowledged that Mahsa and Anand, both of whom had left under a cloud, had overcome that and proven their worth. Ivanka stated that the prize winners had really valued their Trump National Apprentice Tournament trophies much more than their other gifts. Donald Jr. said that Clint overused the you-all corn pone Texas lingo. Clint responded that is the way he speaks every day of his life.
Trump is a really smart guy, so his method was to question and poll the helpers on Team Brandy and Team Clint. He asked Stephanie, Liza, Anand, Steuart, Poppy and Mahsa who, with no team loyalty constraint, they would hire as the Apprentice. Here is what they said:
Poppy - impressed by Clint's grasp of what he wanted, but she would choose Brandy
Anand - Brandy
Stephanie - disenchanted with Clint's invading the golf tournament and introducing himself to the players when that was not appropriate conduct; Brandy was polished, consummate, and the business professional
Steuart - Clint was adaptable and exceptional
Mahsa - Clint
Liza - Brandy
Trump excused the helpers to wait for the winner.
Trump addressed Brandy and Clint by telling them they were both outstanding. He asked both to state why they should be the Apprentice. Clint listed his degrees and multiple areas of functional expertise plus being valedictorian of his high school class. Brandy was more humble, although she did counter that she too was valedictorian of her high school class. Trump's final question to both was "in what capacity would you like to work for the Trump Organization." Clint's answer was to run a real estate development underway construction in Scotland. Brandy's answer showed a deeper level of thought. She said that she wanted to work with the younger generation of the Trump family, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and/or Eric. That impressed me and I am sure it also impressed Donald Trump. Trump made his decision and fired Clint, hiring Brandy as the next Apprentice.
I thought it was the right decision. Clint's lack of the polish that Brandy exuded was a key factor. Also, Clint was a bit “field marshal" in mentality while Brandy was more reserved and humble in her approach to getting things done. I suspect the biggest single factor was the esteem in which Brandy's teammates and former competitors held her, in my view a by-product of her superior interpersonal skills. She also had superior presentation skills. My wife when asked said that Brandy won because she was beautiful and intelligent. Those are two fine attributes for impressing Donald Trump. However, I can remember two seasons when Trump did not hire the female finalist with similar attributes. He chose Kelly over Jennifer in season 2 and Randal over Rebecca in season 4. I felt both of those were big mistakes. Selecting Brandy as the Apprentice 10 is no mistake.
I would put Apprentice 10 up with the Celebrity Apprentice seasons as the best of the Apprentice. I was very satisfied that I was watching something worth watching.