2005-12-01

Apprentice: Final Four


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Trump - Apprentice 4Time to catch up on last week's ALL NEW SPECIAL TWO-HOUR EPISODE of the Apprentice. Well, as most Apprentice fans could have guessed, it was one special hour and one hour of this season in review. At least they didn't make us wait one week for clips only.

This was a great episode. The teams were given 1000 square feet of Marketing wrap to promote Shanai Twain's new perfume. Each team was given a different 900 that their audience could call to request a free sample - most calls wins.

Hats off to Randall. His enthusiasm has seemed to wane at times lately, but on this one he was able to quickly identify that putting maximum feet on the street was the key, and he enlisted an army of 60 marketers for the task.

Over at Capital Edge, Adam came up with the idea of putting wrap on horse carriages while Felishia worked the human billboard angle. Alla eventually chose to give Adam his requested budget forcing Felishia to cut back on the number of people she could hire.

Making matters worse for Capital Edge, the quality of their street folk wasn't a great fit for the promotion. Felishia had to do some further weeding out.

Once the task got rolling Capital Edge made up for their weak planning with sheer effort, going so far as to offer and sometimes badger passersby into using their cell phones to call in. As for the carriages, that didn't turn out to be such a good idea. There wasn't a clean vertical surface to which the wrap could be applied. At best, most people probably didn't even notice the ads. At worst they were quite tacky.

At the end of the day however, it was close. Randall and Rebecca won by a scant five phone calls out of nearly 1000.

As demanded by the show's format however, this less than 1% defeat gave rise to a major hashing out. In the pre-boardroom scenes, it appeared that Alla was maneuvering to have Felishia fired and keep Adam. Purely strategic IMO. It's time to think about the end game, and for weeks it has been obvious that Adam is no threat to win this thing. However, in this episode it became clear that Felishia wasn't much more of a threat. At one point Trump flatly stated that she and Adam were clearly the weakest of the bunch. Felishia's response - she batted her eyelashes and bounced her hair around as if to say, "I can't believe you said that about me. Haven't you noticed that I'm blonde and cute?" Yes, in the water park of life, Felishia's brain is the wading pool.

Ultimately Adam was fired. Again, I think for bigger picture reasons than this task. Trump was dismayed at how much the team spent on the carriages and the team pinned this on Adam. Not fair. When you have two ventures and finite resources, it falls on the leader or project manager to allocate resources between the two. But, Alla has strong potential, so she dodged this one.

Trump ended by relishing a match up between Randall and Rebecca on Excel, and Alla and Felishia on Capital Edge. I agree. And it appears that the end game format will be different this time out. In the past Trump has brought in big time corporate execs to interview each of the final four candidates and narrow the field to two. This time it looks like there will be at least one more task, two on two, and it has something to do with Microsoft.

I'm rooting for Randall and Rebecca in this one. For my money, they are the two strongest. Randall seems to have lost a little of his fire, perhaps due to being stuck on Capital Edge for a few tasks, but he's got all the tools. Rebecca lacks a little of Randall's polish, but she has far more drive right now. I still say being on crutches may be a liability in the final mission, but if anyone can overcome that, it's Rebecca.

Alla's strength is creativity, and she is formidable coming into this final task. She does seem to lack some of the big picture top leader outlook, however. Alla needs to win this week forcing either Randall or Rebecca out of the game and retaining Felishia. Alla would be a lock for the final two and then anything can happen.

As I mentioned, Felishia's brain dead. Write her off.

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