Hey, everyone, it's Trumplets!
The field of Apprentice applicants was whittled down to the final two after a grueling interview process that sussed out the weakest links. Talk about a long day: While the executives in the first season were from Trump's own enterprises, this time he sought out corporate leaders from Unilever (NYSE: UL ) , PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) , Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC ) , and the New England Patriots' owner, Robert Kraft. Combined, the four entities rang up $80 billion in sales over the past year. Oh, and won a Super Bowl.
They unanimously gushed over Kelly's leadership and field experience. They had their concerns when it came to the other three. Was Kevin too educated yet ultimately rudderless for his own good? Was Jen too self-obsessed and dodgy? Was Sandy overly engrained in her entrepreneurial ways to cut it in the corporate culture?
Reunited in the boardroom, Kevin was the first to be fired. Trump assured Kelly that unless he said something senseless that he was a lock to make it as a finalist. Then Trump turned his attention to Sandy and Jen. They battled it out in a fiery war of words. Sandy attacked Jen for lacking the desire to lead, while Jen defended herself and hurled shots at Sandy's lack of education.
Cue catfight: Trump liked how Jen held her own against Sandy, so much so that while Kelly had voiced his preference of keeping Sandy over Jen, he fired Sandy anyway.
It was settled. Kelly and Jen had made the cut -- and they couldn't dislike each other more.
While the last six to be fired came on to help the two finalists during the final task in the first season, some of the more colorful candidates were brought in this time around. Kelly and Jen drafted their team. Kelly chose Elizabeth, John, and Raj. Jen selected Chris, Pamela, and Stacy.
As in the original season the final task involved a major event. Kelly was assigned to run a polo tournament at the Greenwich Polo Club. Jen was handed an NBA tournament at Riverbank State Park. Both events were charitable events sponsored by Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW ) .
The planning stage was not without its challenges. Rain in Greenwich held the crew off from painting the Genworth logo in the middle of the field. NBA star Chris Webber wanted to back out as the master of ceremonies at the NBA benefit.
How will this all play out? Welcome to the cliffhanger. That's what next week's live grand finale is all about.
Rick: Is there anyone here who thinks that Jen has a shot to unseat Kelly? I mean, she was awfully impressive in the boardroom, but that may have been the first time all season that she really took a stand. Unless the polo grounds open up into a massive sinkhole and swallow Kelly I'd bet Raj's last bowtie that he's got this one in the bag.
Tim: Yeah, the smart money ought to be on Kelly. Jen is a great mystery. It seems that she makes the worst first impressions, like with the Genworth people in this task. When your client leaves the meeting telling you that she hopes the event you're running "isn't a disaster," it's probably a bad sign.
Dayana: As is stopping for the camera to tell the country and Trump that she's very frustrated with Jen. Despite her high-powered glow, Jen could use a dose of Dale Carnegie. Or maybe just a spa outing. No, wait, that's for me.
Tim: But it's not like Kelly didn't have his moments, too. His team was uninspired. And, at the end, he just sat there hoping against hope that the rain would stop. Jen, meanwhile, was on the phone fighting to keep Chris Webber. Sure, it stinks it was raining, but Kelly's admission that he had no plan B probably wouldn't sit too well with The Donald.
Dayana: Has anyone heard of a tarp?
Rick: Did you catch Kelly telling his team that he loved them as they drove off to the polo club? That reminded me of former Mattel (NYSE: MAT ) CEO Jill Barad. She was never beyond telling her employees that she loved them. Then again, the company didn't start loving her back until she was gone.
Tim: Kelly clearly has a softer side. He's like the cushy pillow to Jen's wool blanket. And it's not like we haven't seen this before. Anyone else remember how Kelly designed some dresses when the men had to produce a clothing line?
Dayana: And during that particular task Raj was busy flirting with the models. This time he gets to dodge Kelly's hugs by speeding away on one of the polo club's ATVs. I know I shouldn't be surprised that the underling Apprentices are more interested in sabotaging their leader rather than sucking up for future networking needs. But I am. I'm also surprised that I can't find the Trump talking bobblehead doll on the NBC website. Ads for it were blocking my view for half of the show. Now what am I going to give you guys for Christmas? What has surprised you the most about this season?
Rick: A surprising statistic that came up in our Trump's Apprentice discussion board was that nine of the last 10 players that were fired were the project manager of that particular task. Immunity for the winning project manager the following episode is a great perk, but this certainly makes leadership a risky adventure.
Tim: And they're criticizing Jen for ducking leadership? I'm not sure her predilection to fly under the radar every now and again isn't wickedly smart, and that's probably what drove Ivana crazy. I'm still stunned by how bad the infighting got between the women. Trump has managed to create two seasons' worth of catfights in a 14-week job interview. That's probably good for ratings, but it's made the show harder for me to watch.
Dayana: I wonder what the talking Trump bobblehead doll has to say about that.
Until next week, suite dreams.