Warner Music Nashville
After last week's firing of Star Jones, Lil Jon and John Rich were thrilled when Meat Loaf and Marlee walked back into the war room. Donald Trump's appearance in the room had the last four contestants saluting him like a "five-star general," according to John, who said he has left "everything on the table each and every time, and by God, I do want to be the next Celebrity Apprentice."
The Chairman of the Board stunned them when he announced what would happen next. "You're going to be interviewed by three people -- Bret Michaels, Joan Rivers and Piers Morgan [the winners of the previous three seasons of 'Celebrity Apprentice']," he says. "I take what they say very, very seriously. After the interviews, I will fire two more people."
John was the first to be interviewed, with Bret Michaels declaring the country singer to be "at the top of the fiercest competitors. He's a fighter." They asked John who should leave, and he told them Meat Loaf and Lil Jon. Asked what his strengths were, he said as a songwriter, "every time I wrote, we won." Piers challenged him on his strengths -- as well as his cowboy hat -- and asked him what else he brought to the table. He cited his organizational skills, ability to use both his left brain and his right brain at the same time and his ease in making decisions on the fly.
The four were brought into the boardroom after Trump spoke with his "advisers," and John told his "boss" he would like to see the final two be himself and Marlee, because she raised more than one million dollars for her charity in one task. Every other contestant picked John as the player they would go up against if it came down to two people.
Trump fired Lil Jon after telling the panel of advisers John Rich and Marlee should be in the final two and not him. John spoke up for his buddy and teammate, saying he did what he came to 'Apprentice' to do, and that was to break down the stereotype of a rapper.
The next one to go was Meat Loaf, who got emotional and teary-eyed when he thanked Trump for allowing him to be there.
John and Marlee were all smiles and high-fives when they walked back into the war room. The pair have opposed each other twice before, and there were going to be no holds barred going for the win. John said he has admired her since day one, because of her intelligence and tenacity.
The task given to John and Marlee was to go back in time to launch a new campaign for 7Up Retro to celebrate the soft drink's heritage. One team would celebrate the '70s to feature the Harlem Globetrotters, while the other with the '80s to feature rock group Def Leppard. Marlee received the first pick, and everyone thought she would choose the music group, but she gave John the advantage of working with them, while picking the famous basketball team.
The two were also given a little help with their tasks from some of the previous celebrities who were fired in earlier episodes, including Meat Loaf, Mark McGrath, Lil Jon, LaToya Jackson, Star Jones and Richard Hatch.
The challenge was to design the packaging and in-store display for 7Up Retro; write, create and produce a television commercial and put together a star-studded launch party featuring their special '80s icons. 7Up also gave each team $50,000 to start for their charity. They would be graded on creativity and originality, the commercial and their launch event.
John received the first pick out of the celebrity helpers, and he ended up with Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and Star Jones, who revealed she had a big crush on J.R., even calling him "Big Daddy Rich!" As he related the story about Star telling him if he wasn't married, she would love to date him, a big framed picture fell behind him crashing to the floor, leaving him and the camera crew in hysterics.
John assigned his teammates with their roles, putting Lil Jon as the director of the commercial, Star in charge of logistics and Mark a creative contributor. They came up with the idea of the tag line for the product, "Keepin' it Real!," as well as a stand-out can design with a zebra print, which Ivanka Trump called emblematic of the '80s.
Reaching into his cell phone for the personal number of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider to appear in their commercial, John called the rock star up. Dee was appearing in the Broadway run of 'Rock of Ages,' and had a Fu Manchu mustache, which the show's producers didn't want him to shave off. However, when Dee told them it was for charity and for 'Celebrity Apprentice,' the producers agreed to let him shave.
Having gotten into a bit of a tiff with the road manager of Def Leppard in organizing the band's entrance onto the stage, John was a bit frustrated. His teammate Marlee was going through a bit of a frustration with her '70s icon, the "Un-Cola Guy" Geoffrey Holder.
We will have to wait to see who wins as the finale of 'Celebrity Apprentice' takes place next Sunday (May 22) beginning at 9:00 PM ET.
A new tidbit of information was revealed on the 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' earlier this week, as John's team mate, Lil Jon, explained the two had a type of alliance together. The two did not let on they knew each other prior to the show, but have actually been friends for nearly six years. The country star called the rapper when he got the news he was going to be on the show, and Lil Jon explained he was a contestant, as well. "We should act like we don't know each other that well, and we're going to have each other's backs," says Lil Jon about his conversation with John. "When the cast would get together, he'll be on one side of the room and I'd be on the other side, and no one had a clue. And then just the country guy and the hip-hop guy, you know they don't know each other, but we did!"