City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

‘Who won ‘Celebrity Apprentice’? Clay Aiken or Arsenio Hall?

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- "Puppet Up" Episode 1210 -- Pictured: Clay Aiken -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- "Puppet Up" Episode 1210 -- Pictured: Clay Aiken -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)

Arsenio winning 'Celebrity Apprentice'

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Donald Trump’s fifth rendition of “Celebrity Apprentice” featured its fair share of fireworks, including Lisa Lampanelli’s histrionics, Aubrey O’Day’s narcissism, Dayana Mendoza’s battles with seemingly every other woman on the show and 110 percent of Lou Ferrigno’s muscles.

But tonight, it came down to “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken and former late-night talk show host Arsenio Hall.

Trump named Hall the winner.  Based on what we saw (which was heavily edited), it was a close call. Aiken raised more money but Hall won both his challenges while Aiken split his. As for the events themselves, we heard very little critique about either of them so it’s hard to say what Trump’s line of thinking was. While Aiken’s team had more rancor, the events themselves appeared to run smoothly.

So for Aiken, it was deja vu all over again. He lost to Ruben Studdard nine years ago on ‘Idol.”

“I came here with low expectations,” Aiken said in his defense to Trump on the live show. “I think I exceeded them and raised the bar.”

Hall said he has been taking care of his son and is trying to re-emerge with another talk show. “I have lived the life of ‘The Apprentice.’ I just need the title!” he said.

[Some readers here believe Arsenio's greatest talent was massaging Trump's ego and doing so with greater dexterity than Clay. Another theory: Trump is buddies with Magic Johnson, whose charity Arsenio wisely chose. Also, NBCUniversal is working with Johnson on a new cable TV venture. A third theory: Trump prefers the "bigger" name, which he does tend to pick based on past years.]

In both cases, it’s not just that they believed in their respective charities (the Magic Johnson Foundation and Clay’s own The National Inclusion Project) but it was about redemption. Arsenio’s career, which was huge in the early 1990s, has since been eclipsed by relative obscurity. Clay, after huge success after he almost won “Idol” in 2003, has seen his musical career wane and Claymates melt away.

During the live show, Dee Snider and Debbie Gibson supported Clay. “He’s creative. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s a great leader. He’s a good guy,” Snider said. Teresa Giudice and Dayana Mendoza picked Arsenio.

In the challenge, taped last fall, Clay seemed to be micromanaging, at least in the eyes of O’Day and Gibson, who say he is not trusting them to do their jobs. “I have to have my hand in everything because it’s my project,” he said. “It’s not just any charity. It’s my charity.”

Once the event started, Clay received a few big checks: $20,000 from Claymates. $10,000 from Kelly Clarkson, 10,000 from Lisa Lampanelli, who gave to him despite working for Aresnio.  His variety show focused on music, of course, which is why he picked Gibson, Dee Snider and O’Day to his team.

But Arsenio’s comedy buddies pulled in some real cash: $5,000 from Jay Leno -  twice.  $5,000 from Chris Rock. Eddie Murphy threw in $10,000. George Lopez gave $5,000. Jimmy Kimmel, another $10,000. And $10,000 from the Andretti family. “All my boys were stepping up,” he said. He created a comedy show, with help from Lampanelli and Adam Corolla

In the end, it was artful editing. Clay actually pulled in nearly twice as much money: $301,500 vs $167,100 for Arsenio.

But that wasn’t the only criteria to win or lose. It’s about the party, the PSA, the variety show et. al. Both events appeared to go fairly smoothly. Arsenio’s PSA was more entertaining. Clay’s party, with the carnival theme, appeared more fun. The variety shows were a wash. It depends on your taste there.

On the live show, the ever aggravating O”Day said her behavior on the show wasn’t always flattering: “I’m a fierce competitor. I suffer from a young, passionate heart. I have had anxiety in proving myself … You can’t combat bad wtih bad. You have to turn it into a good. I didn’t always do that. I apologize anytime people took it personally. I don’t want to offend. I’m competitor and I want to win.I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

Lampanelli admitted that she had issues: “I need more hormonal treatment  than Chaz Bono!”

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- "And Then There Were Two" Episode 1214/1215 -- Pictured: (l-r) Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken -- Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- "And Then There Were Two" Episode 1214/1215 -- Pictured: (l-r) Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken -- Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

And “Idol” aficionados might get a kick watching the odd quartet of Lee DeWyze, Blake Lewis, Elliot Yamin and Thia Megia promoting their upcoming shows in Branson, Missouri in Branson recently. They cover “Someone That I Used to Know.”

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

104 comments Add your comment


May 21st, 2012
7:27 am

Scoop from Dee Snider: The contestants knew after the first challenge that Arsenio was “the chosen one”. He was always kissing up to Trump & Trump behaved in kind. Arsenio didn’t work as hard because he acted like he didn’t have to. Trump is a major investor in Magic Johnson’s new TV network which is being distributed by Comcast which owns NBC. Arsenio will probably have a talk show on it. Clay was a hard worker, a smart team player & stepped up in every challenge, much of which was edited out. Clay & Aubrey did most of the work on Arsenio’s Walgreen’s win. The 8 contestants brought back for the final challenge were polled by Trump & ALL said Clay should win. Also edited out. John Rich & Marlee Matlin both said Clay should win. Dee, Lisa & Penn expressed shock & said Clay should have won, & implied that the fix was in. There’s no way in hell that Arsenio did better on this show/game than Clay, so say the other contestants.

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May 21st, 2012
7:50 am

Hey y’all, it’s only entertainment!!! And beyond that it IS somewhat representative (in a very animated sort of way!) of the real business world … Politics, favoritism, emotion-based decision-making, a little ugliness built in … Sounds like real-business to me!

Ryan Klesko

May 21st, 2012
7:52 am

Watched a movie and glad I didn’t watch the this train wreck….

Yag Kosha

May 21st, 2012
7:58 am

What Clay actually said in his defense was more like “Um, I came here with low uh, expectations, uh, and I um…”

Between the two of them Arsenio is the better celebrity apprentice, he has a lot more charisma and personality and likeability. Clay is very sweet but not in the same league as Arsenio.

Curious George

May 21st, 2012
7:59 am

Is there any reason any of us would have ever heard of “Arsenio Hall” if not for his more-popular, more-successful and more-talented friend EDDIE MURPHY?


May 21st, 2012
8:41 am


May 21st, 2012
8:42 am

What a joke.. Arsenio really didn;t do anything but stand around and take everyone elses suggestions.. He played on TRUMP.. Arsenio didn;t add much to any task but sure had a mouth when he called Aubey names.. Oh, another thing, Arsenio just kept nodding his head and shifting eyes every week..

Wake up TRUMP.. people knew you would pick Arsenio from the begining You made it quite obvious.. And we all thought it was about who raised enough$$$..???.. he changed the rules, lets have this about the event, which Arsenios was tacky and just didn;t have it going on..

Curious George

May 21st, 2012
8:45 am

Did you ever hear of Arsenio Hall BEFORE Eddie Murphy’s “COMING TO AMERICA” movie back in the last ’80s?

Curious George

May 21st, 2012
8:46 am

Would there have ever been an “Arsenio Hall Show” if not for the fame of Eddie Murphy?

Curious George

May 21st, 2012
8:46 am

Did Eddie Murphy sing for Clay Aiken or get him on “Amercian Idol” in the first place?


May 21st, 2012
8:50 am

Clay deserved to win last night. Why he didn’t we may never know, but it sure as hell wasn’t because arsenio outplayed him.


May 21st, 2012
8:57 am

This was a no-brainer. This man, Arsenio displayed WISDOM throughout the show. Knowledge is just not enough audrey. Wisdom comes from God – it tells you what to do with what you know ! You cannot expect to succeed in business with knowledge only. Donald Trump saw the Wisdom Arsenio displayed and was clearly very impressed with it and realized – it does take MORE THAN knowledge. I hope Audrey can learn from Arsenio some lessons of humility that could really help her in her life with her issues which are clearly evident. She got what she deserved and Arsenio got what he not only deserved, but EARNED.

Moon Mullins

May 21st, 2012
9:02 am

“Celebrity” Apprentice is a misnomer. Where are the celebrities? The show is filled with has beens and those whose careers are dead as a doornail. What a waste of time!

Tammy Smith

May 21st, 2012
9:19 am

NBC wasn’t even allowed to question Trump about his selection on the news this am. First time to watch the show all the way through and it will be the LAST time I give my time to such crap. Both men should of been in the finals but hands down Clay AIKEN WON!! There was no comparision between the shows, party and the amount of money raised!!!!!!!!!!!!! Trump your fired and I won’t watch your show again.

Black Face

May 21st, 2012
9:35 am

Even trump needs aTOKEN. What a joke.

jannell waller

May 21st, 2012
9:37 am

CONGRATS!!!! I was praying for you ! You are a good man and i wish you al the luck ,and blessings GOD has for you.Iam proud of the friendship you and CLAY have,you are brothers just a different shade.I am a poor black Gramma ,but I will send a little something when I get chance.NOW let’s get that show on the air!


May 21st, 2012
9:51 am

I believe Clay should of won as well. Trump didn’t pick the winner, Dayana Mendoza did.

jannell waller

May 21st, 2012
9:54 am

TO: CLAY, YOU will never be second in any book ! YOU are a GIANT among men.YOU do a job with kids most men run from.YOU are a wonderful versitile young man and you make your MOM proud,you work with GOD’S special angels,it’s a job I know I use to work in Spec. Ed. and I have a 39 yr. old son with A GENESIS of the CORPUS CALLOSUM ORGANIC BRAIN DYSFUNCTION,GOD has brought him a mighty long and he is doing good.MY nephew is said to have ASBERGERS, he is 11,the devil is a liar! I LOVE YOU ,for what you do .Not much money since my disability ,but me and Big Algiwon will send some.




May 21st, 2012
10:00 am

Like I was done with AI, I am done with CA now too! Clay deserved to win both times. In my eyes, he was back then and IS now the winner! I need to stop watching these shows. Not good for my blood pressure!

Jim Shoese

May 21st, 2012
10:13 am

Trump needed an African American winner, simple as that.


May 21st, 2012
10:13 am

Clay was robbed again!
Clay raised almost double the money.
His party was by far the best!
His charity video was great!
Clay was well spoken, amicable, fair, smart, cooperative, a perfect gentleman all Season.
Clay should have won by a mile and then some!
What is wrong with Donald Trump?????????????
Such a ruthless, mean spirited, unfair man……………………………
Donald did not open the door for his daughter in the show when they arrived……..
He is a me, me, me nasty man.

Clay’s hair looked great last night. WOW!
Wish he had done something with his hair in all the shows………..

It breaks my heart that Clay was robbed again, when he, by far, exceeded in BOTH shows.


May 21st, 2012
10:47 am

I don’t agree with Clay’s political views but he won this show by a long shot. Maybe he should have spent more time stroking Trump’s ego rather than working as a team player/leader on all the challenges. Until I read some of the comments on several sites, I didn’t realize the connection Trump has with Magic Johnson and Arsenio. It suited his future business dealings more to have Arsenio win so the fix was in from the beginning. This was the first year I’ve watched the show and it bothers me that I wasted so much time when Trump didn’t play by his own rules and name the right person as the CA.


May 21st, 2012
11:34 am

willy….US CLAY fans shouldnt have to get over an unfair loss….to someone that CLEARLY did not deserve it. CLAY was professional the whole time…he RAISED MORE MONEY….he was classy, can work with anyone. Arsenio Hall he was vulgar, unprofessiona and an emotional mess and a kiss ass to TRUMP. THIS SHOW IS FIXED! 1st and last time ever wasting 2 hours of my life each week on ratings for DT….he can go scratch.

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May 21st, 2012
12:03 pm

When Clay lost the task for Trump’s cologne (Trump commented briefly on the Today show this morning that Arsenio had more wins than Clay) I went along with the decision at the time even though both displays looked similar. I was not happy about the concern over the slogan however the creepy outline of Trump’s son on the other team was not much of a hit either. Let’s not forget about the decision to not have a take away……. BUT when I went to Macy’s I asked to see the Trump display; it was on a crowded shelf the ad was a 5 x 7 piece of white paper with a model in a black dress. I had to look very hard to see the “Product” that Trump’s son had told Clay’s team did not appear to be the focus in his print display. I did like Clay’s display over the other team and was not happy when he lost.

Trump talks out of both sides of his mouth, the add I saw at Macy’s was garbage and if I had not known any better I would have thought it was for a black dress not his cologne.

The final results a complete train wreck, it was hard to see Arsenio and Trump on the Today Show this morning HINTING that he is going to cross the bridge now built by Trump. It’s not that I don’t like Arsenio, but he just seemed to skate through the show lurking in the background and smirking for the camera. Not watching next year….will never buy a Trump product.


May 21st, 2012
12:15 pm

From the beginning Trump loved Arsenio. Inevitably, he would ask Clay a question & while Clay was giving an intelligent answer, Trump would interrupt & ask Arsenio a question & let him grovel, whine & cry never interrupting & almost have a little tear. Guess Trump thought giving Arsenio the win would endear him to Magic. When Clay went on the news shows & talked about gay marriage & Obama & Romney’s “half assed” comment, that probably sealed the deal, though I doubt that homophobic Donald would have picked Clay anyway. Arsenio was one of the weaker players. Clay, Penn, Aubrey, Lisa, Dee, Adam were all much stronger than AH.


May 21st, 2012
1:21 pm

Arsenio is hands-down a better leader.

When determining who is best qualified for the title of celebrity apprentice you must factor several criteria including:
Leadership, likability, compatibility, street smarts, political smarts, braveness, and character.

I believe Hall’s strategy was in winning the war more so than winning every battle and doing it in such way as to not offend anybody and actually succeeding in making his character likable. He deserves the title simply because he knew when to step forward and when to step back even as project manager.

Mr. Trump made the right decision by picking the person that knows how to get along the best with the most amount of people. He also made the right choice in picking runner up. Although Aubrey may have deserved that title more than Clay.

Leadership may require an ALPHA character as well, in lieu of offending people. Arsenio clearly knew when to become alpha and if Aubrey had not been such a bitch Trump would not have made the choice he made. But that girl needed to get put in her place with TRUTH.

Also, this show is doing very well in the ratings and if given the chance or excuse why wouldn’t Trump pick someone who in the LONG RUN can increase his popularity n greatness.

Life is too short and making calculated risks, with an ALPHA twist truly is the way to go.


May 21st, 2012
2:46 pm

I’m happy Arsenio and his charity won. Trump is obviously biased as he’s shown on other episodes.


May 21st, 2012
3:03 pm

i am glad arsenio won, lisa played dirty when she got someone who look like her to give clay team 10,000 and she was not on his team remember when the hulk did the same thing when he threw his project manger under the bus and MR TRUMP FIRED HIM. LISA SHOULD HAVE KEPT HER MONEY AND GOT A COMPLETE MAKE-OVER AND PLEASE SOME NEW CLOTHES, BY THE WAY WHAT IS HER GENDER!!!!!!!!!!


May 21st, 2012
3:31 pm

AS always……….. The Black man wins and there’s some kind of conspiracy going on. Get over it. HE won, the show is over, move on. I don’t even know why Access Atlanta even allows these comments because it just shows how far we have NOT come in America, especially in Atlanta. Racism still exists here, the difference is back in the day we knew where we stood. Now, WP will smile and call you their “friend” in your face and go home the same night and put on a KKK Robe. Lisa Lampanelli is a perfect depiction of this. Grow up and Get a life….


May 21st, 2012
3:34 pm

Clay is the best runner up of the decade…That is about all he deserves…Other than that he did good.Arsenio deserves the number one spot..


May 21st, 2012
3:35 pm

Great comment Ebony…


May 21st, 2012
3:48 pm

I see few comments suggesting that race had anything to do with who won. In my opinion the comments on this board are mild and nothing compared to what I’ve seen in the past on other show topics.

Your comments paint with a very broad brush and I don’t think reflect the opinions of most. Not in this case. Arsenio had a fun talk-show , I was a fan and he is a likeable guy just not the person who I feel should have won Celebrity Apprentice based on what I saw on the show. That’s all ….If the deciding factor was the fact that Arsenio won more as Project Manager then so be it. Don’t forget the show was to suppose to be all about $$$$ and Clay did raise a lot in the final task almost double what Arsenio did.


May 21st, 2012
3:56 pm

What we also fail to remember is the fact that the shows we see are edited HEAVILY.. Also, the winner was based on his comprehensive and overall performance and not just that of the final show. I stand by my comments because I feel had Clay won—whether he was the best candidate or not—, none of these comments would have been made or nothing close to it. Also, in no way was I generalizing my comment to everyone, but my mom always says “A hurt dog.. Well you know the rest!! I see it happen way too much on this blog as the same thing happened with Whitney..Some people are just so insensitive. We have freedom of speech, but speak something meaningful and nothing that adds to the hatred and violence we already experience in Atlanta. It’s shameful… I’m done. I have better things to do, was just stopping by. I’m sure Arsenio does not care because regardless of how these ___ feel on this site, he still received his donation to his charity and he is still all smiles today and Clay still lost!!! The comments are worthless so I won’t even engage in them anymore.


May 21st, 2012
4:34 pm

Clay should have won. Arsenio got a pass after being unprofessional and insulting (to Aubrey, even though she could be annoying). Clay was professional all the way, and raised more money.


May 21st, 2012
4:40 pm

This should not have been a difficult decision–Clay should have won! If Trump’s reason for choosing Arsenio is that he was undefeated as a PM, then why bother having a final competition? If that was the criteria, to go into the finals undefeated, then Clay didn’t have a chance of winning. Trump has always emphasized the amount of money raised as a criteria and the amount Clay raised was so much more than Arsenio’s total. Clay’s show was also so much better and as someone else who was there already posted, it was so much more fun and hard to put together than Arsenio’s. We only see the edited part where it shows that both shows were equally great. I have nothing against Arsenio or the Magic Johnson Foundation, but it is clear that this decision had to be connected with the fact that Magic has the TV show coming up with the parent company of NBC and that Trump is good friends with Magic. It also didn’t help Clay that he was on a recent show speaking his political views which oppose Trump’s. We all see from the past that Trump’s decisions are frequently influenced by his own likes/dislikes, and his decision last night only confirmed that he can be swayed by outside forces from making the right choice. In the end, Clay’s fans can’t help him personally to accept that he is #2 again, but they can help his cause by making a donation to NIP–I did already.


May 21st, 2012
5:08 pm

I don’t even understand how Arsenio could “perform” for this Obama-hating, over-combing guy.

[...] a end, it came down to Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken. And a leader is…. Hall! According to, it was a tighten race, and a footage was “heavily [...]


May 22nd, 2012
12:19 am

Not happy with the winner, but I keep thinking of one thing. Clay’s got the most important title which, of course, he rarely gets credit for in publicity about him. He was chosen for this position by a prestigious organization based, among other things, on his character, intelligence, charity work and love of children. Clay Aiken, UNICEF CELEBRITY AMBASSADOR for Education of Children. He’s been one of their Celebrity Ambassadors for several years now and has gone on several missions for Unicef – to Asia soon after the Tsunami, Uganda, Afghanastan, Somolia, Mexico …. He’s done alot of work for and on behalf of that cause and to raise money after natural disasters around he world for Unicef. Remember too he was chosen during the Bush Administration to work for a few years on a President’s Committee for the Mentally Disabled to help in that capacity. He’s a winner where it counts.


May 22nd, 2012
10:55 am

Trump showed blatant favortism toward Arsino Hall througout the whole show. The fact that Clay Aiken and his team raised $301,000 for Aikens’ charity should have won Aiken the title. But at least Aikens’ charity received a lot of money during the course of the show.


May 22nd, 2012
11:04 am

Mr. Trump–Your’re Fired!!!!!!! I will not be wathching the show next season, this was obvious a ploy to get Arsenio back in the game. Tell me Mr. Trump –if someone in your company brought in 3 times the amount of money than another employee –who would you keep–explain that to the board of directors. To the viewers who felt that this was a ploy by the network, to help Arsenios comeback,do not watch The Apprentice next season!

urban redneck

May 22nd, 2012
11:41 am

i’m glad arsenio won…………simply because he has no other means to support himself.


May 22nd, 2012
12:22 pm

Donald is a republican. and we all know, the only thing a republican hates more than an unemployed black man, is gays

The Donald

May 22nd, 2012
4:58 pm

Donald this, Donald that. All of y’all have been suckered in by manufactured drama. I don’t CARE who gets kicked off each week. THE PRODUCERS decide who takes the limo ride based on what mix of people are left. What group has the best chance of producing drama next week? Drama equals ratings! If you keep that in mind you can sucessfully predict who leaves every week. Congrats to Arseneo.


May 22nd, 2012
10:59 pm

I’ve enjoyed Rodney Ho’s columns for several years, but there’s a lot more going on out there, than “Idol” and “Housewives.” Our family misses the more informative columns that used to tell us more about the rest of what’s going on in the entertainment world – especially in Atlanta. We noted there was one recent posting about Atlanta radio, but there used to be more along this vein. Here’s hoping that we’ll soon hear more than (un)Reality Tv news. Believe it or not, not everyone is obsessed with it! : )


May 22nd, 2012
11:35 pm

Just watched TiVo finale tonight. Clay sure looked funny or fake when singing that last song. Seems like he was trying to hard.

traci 404

May 23rd, 2012
12:41 am

com on folks. these “reality” shows..are far from it. hmmmm. Magic Johnsons friend or Clay Aiken which one will get Trump more notariety! hmmmm. I wonder who will be the executive producer for Arsenios new show? dahhhh!


May 23rd, 2012
1:18 am

I just want to know how Arsenio showed up at the finale with hair! Where did that hair come from? He’s been bald throughout the show, and obviously embarrassed about it, and now he has hair? What is it, spray-on hair? Did he have a hair transplant?

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