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'

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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 20th, 2012
10:27 pm

Aresnio all the way, so he had a time with Aubrey, apparently Trump didn’t like her either is wasn’t in the top two. She was horrible always giving credit to herselp and she wasnt that good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

Not only did Clay raise more money, but his party was better and his show was better. As he said, it was like a comprehensive final exam, and he passed with flying colors!! I smell a rat! (Nothing against Arsenio personally. I think he’s great. I blame this on Trump!)


May 20th, 2012
11:21 pm

After using gender slurs, Arsenio should’ve been fired. He certainly should not have been rewarded. And Lisa was fired for being emotional? Trump plays Calvinball and always has.

Annie Duke should’ve won over Joan Rivers with *no* question. Clay should’ve won tonight.


May 20th, 2012
11:27 pm

It must have killed Trump to have a black and a gay as his 2 choices. He shows his bias all the time. He has continuously included black female contestants whom he knew would act “ghetto” – Nene anyone? He’s just one guy that I can’t stand! Yes I know he doesn’t care what I think – just putting it out there. He has become a caricature – bad hair and orange tan, and such a bully, and has probably lost more than he’s made.

Content O. Character

May 20th, 2012
11:29 pm

Apparently, this episode showed that even Donald Trump now believes in unqualified Affirmative-Action hires.

(Of course, a selection for Clay could’ve garnered the same sentiment from some groups.)

Karen Wil

May 20th, 2012
11:30 pm



May 20th, 2012
11:33 pm

I don’t even want to watch the show tonight on the West Coast. I thought it’s about charity and raising $$$. Too much of a difference between the two teams final tally. Clay should have won. Arsenio must have a TV deal that Trump will in some way be a part of. I guess $$$ is not really what this show is about hands down in the final task the winner (Unless something terrible) happens should be the one who raises the most $$$. Arsenio….today must be your lucky day. Trump must have had one too many before going into the Boardroom!


May 20th, 2012
11:39 pm

Trump hires whoever has the most rich and famous friends. After all, it all about him, the charity bit
is just a publicity ruse! Clay was obviously the better man.


May 20th, 2012
11:41 pm

Trump like Arsenio from the beginning and this evening when he walked into Arsenio’s party he said, “I love this guy”. That’s when I knew he was going to
pick Arsenio. Trump obviously is a friend of Arsenio. When Joan Rivers won the apprentice she didn’t win all her projects as the project leader and Trump choose her
as the apprentice. Same idea here. He picks who he personally likes. Show should have criteria.


May 20th, 2012
11:43 pm

Way to go Arsenio Hall!


May 20th, 2012
11:44 pm

The best person won, each one was gracious and rooted for each other genially which was a great thing to see. Arsenio is a true gentleman and Trump took that into consideration, there was no back stabbing with him, he enjoyed himself he seems very pleasant and had an attitude that it wasn’t about him but giving back. Anyone that is mad “so what” he is on his way back to the top and I am cheering him on.

Author Alan Roger Currie

May 20th, 2012
11:48 pm

Either Clay or Arsenio could have won … and deserved it …. but Clay was wee bit too much of a “diva” for my tastes. I am happy for Arsenio. Great Celebrity Apprentice!


May 20th, 2012
11:49 pm

No question about it, Clay Aiken should have won tonight, he raised more money, his show was better than Arsenio’s, he proved that he can work with everyone (yes Mr. Trump that IS important), and Clay is a great leader and an AMAZING person.


May 20th, 2012
11:51 pm

Donald decided this a long time ago. Money counted, taping done 6 months ago. I just would like him to answer one question: WHY????? Clay raised more money, put in much more in the final competition (Arsenio’s–a few sofas, tables and food/booze and some lame jokes…), spoke and acted like a true ‘businessman’-which is what Donald is all about. Plus- Clay sang his big heart out tonite–amazing. I would have loved to know what Donald and his children discussed when deciding who should be ‘hired’. I don’t get it!!

Cc smith

May 20th, 2012
11:52 pm

Clay was the clear winner. No contest. Bad choice Mr. Trump. Maybe he owns the new show Hall is supposed to make come back on? Won’t watch show again.

Content O. Character

May 20th, 2012
11:59 pm

If Clay and Arsenio had the same complexion, light or dark, does anyone really believe Arsenio still would have won based merely on his merits, performance and business acumen (assuming he didn’t already have a financial deal with Trump that Clay lacked) ?

Keep Hope Alive?



May 21st, 2012
12:02 am

Hooray for Arsenio! Clay did not show loyalty when accepted Lisa’s contribution at the end they were competing for a job too and that says a lot. Arsenio deserved to win; did not raise a lot of money but the commercial was well executed and talk from the heart.
Good job Hall!


May 21st, 2012
12:03 am

Any man with a haircut like Clay Aiken does not deserve to win!


May 21st, 2012
12:09 am

Arsenio deserved it! Don’t diminish his win with your Clay talk!


May 21st, 2012
12:13 am

Clay should have won, I feel that Arsenio walked in Clay’s Shadow the whole time smooth sailing, and Clay put his whole heart into it, Im so angry tonight, UGH!


May 21st, 2012
12:16 am

Clay lost the competition when he went on “Face The Nation” and called Romney Half-assed. Clay’s political stance and his activism are in direct opposition to Trump’s.


May 21st, 2012
12:18 am

Clay clearly demonstrated throughout the season that he was a much better leader, and never lost his cool as did the foul mouthed Arsenio. In the real business world the successful executive doesn’t curse and belittle subordinates. Trumps decision is a travesty, and one he is certain to regret. I’m not looking forward to watching the show next season, and may opt out entirely.


May 21st, 2012
12:27 am

Clay was too obvious – Trump has to show that he has some special talent for discerning the winner. I like Arsenio as well as Clay but Clay far exceeded Arsenio in money and leadership. Trump turns his show, again, into a joke on all of us.


May 21st, 2012
12:28 am

First time I watched the show.
Last time I’ll watch the show.
Clay should have won.
Mr. T picked his favourite in the very first episode.


May 21st, 2012
12:35 am

I agree with many of you, Clay should have won, same thing happened a couple of years ago when Joan Rivers won, this time it wasn’t quite as bad. Trump doesn’t play by the rules he sets out, at one time money was the only thing that mattered, all that changed when Joan Rivers couldn’t beat out Annie Duke, I think Trump picks the people he likes best and who he feels needs the biggest boost.

sadie holly

May 21st, 2012
12:38 am

I was at the finale parties, people were leaving Arsenio’s party in droves. The variety show was not a wash – you saw the only clean parts of the 20 minute comedy part – it was rough and did not get many laughs from the audience. The musical portion consisted of 4 different medleys and had people bopping and singing along with 3 magic interludes – not that easy to put together in 48 hours, Debbie did a brilliant job. No, the show was not “a wash” The parties were not a wash, they were edited that way, but were not.


May 21st, 2012
12:50 am

Very disappointed. I knew when Trump walked into Arsenio’s party and said “I love this guy”, that was it! He definitely showed favoritism. Can’t go by Arsenio winning more task, because Joan Rivers did not and won the title. Nothing against Arsenio, but Clay clearly won hands down the final task. That did it for me. I’m done with this show, since it’s more about favortism. Should have let the apprentices vote.


May 21st, 2012
12:59 am

They couldn’t even AIR most of Arsenio’s ‘variety’ show. They let Lisa’s cheap gay joke make it to air. Arsenio did nothing but cry and hide all season and skate into the finale on the grease generated from kissing Trump’s butt. Quite possibly the biggest farce of an ending in all of ‘reality’ tv.


May 21st, 2012
1:12 am

Clay definitely should have won. The only reason Arsenio won the two tasks was because of Aubrey, he spent most of his time standing around. I guess it is OK to have a talent show with gay slurs and to go on talk shows with crude remarks about Aubrey and Ivanka. The show was slanted toward Arsenio from the beginning. Clay played with creativity, leadership and integrity. Will never watch Celebrity Apprentice again. What a crock!


May 21st, 2012
1:22 am

I thought the final task was to create an awareness of your charity event. What did space age decor and tons of booze have to do with The Magic Johnson Foundation? Clay’s event clearly showed how important and beneficial inclusion is. Also, they showed a little girl present at Clay’s event, I hope her parents got her out of there before all the filth was spewed by Team Arsenio. How disgusting. If these are the kinds of decisions Trump makes in real life, I’m surprised he’s not financially bankrupt since he is morally bankrupt. Shame on him.


May 21st, 2012
1:39 am

I knew Arsenio was somewhat talented but I never knew how smart he is, being that he probably wasn’t top 5 in task talent he knew the only thing more important than money or talent was Trumps ego…….and nobody catered to Trumps ego better, initially I was disappointed but again……its all how you play the game, so congrats to Mr. Hall………great season.

Recapper's Delight

May 21st, 2012
1:41 am

This needs to be general knowledge. Magic Johnson has just inked a deal that will enable him to launch a brand new TV channel called “Aspire.” He’s made this deal with Comcast, which is the parent company to NBC.

This is why Arsenio Hall won Celebrity Apprentice.

Christel Klein

May 21st, 2012
1:46 am

I have no idea how Arsenio could have won … he really lost his temper over Aubrey, he let his team do the work, he kissed Donald T’s ass constantly … what admirable qualities did he show. Sadly, i realize, the fix was in. I thought Donald T. was a better person. Will never watch Arsenio’s show or Donald’s show again … unless Donald pulls a Columbo and states his winner up front. Neither Arsenio or Donald T. showed themselves to be either leaders or a class act. WHATEVER!


May 21st, 2012
1:52 am

Arsenio had no business being in the finals, much less winning it. PUH leeze. This is the first year I disagreed with Trump, and I don’t know that next year I will spend my precious TV time watching a shill of a show. It is obvious to me that the show was used to promote NBC’s next late night host (wanna-be Arsenio).

He is pathetic. He lost on every count. He lost not just to Clay Aiken, but he also lost to Aubrey O ‘Day, Lisa Lampanelli, and Penn Jillette. He lost even before he showed his covert, sleazy, sexist side in the boardroom attacking O’ Day. He lost because HE was the one who wasn’t genuine. HE was the one who was sneaking around presenting a fake front to the camera. I am a poker player. I can read people for the “truth” all day, as I am sure many of you out there can do too. This man was the most fake of them all. At least, O’ Day actually believed nothing could happen without her. That was real! Lampanelli and Penn were real too. Clay is politically correct in his responses which always leaves a little truth on the table, but he was 1000 x more real than Arsenio. A shill of a man wins a shill of a show.

A side note about the dingbat, Miss Universe, whom will go unnamed in this comment, as she has gotten way too much air time… She is just another example of Trump using his show to shamelessly shill his product. That is one product I wouldn’t want to be associated with, IF I wanted to be taken seriously. She is a joke, which makes the Trump brand a joke too.

I am most disappointed to find out that the man who is known as the TRUMP brand is actually weaker than we all thought. He actually caved into Big Business, Who’s $$Who, Big TV, Little Network etc. I loved the Trump brand, because it stood for strength. No more! Mr. Trump, along with his brand and his show, has caved. Too bad. It was one of my top 3 shows. I will not watch it again without a retraction of Arsenio as the Apprentice. It takes a REAL man to admit when he is wrong, and that is the only way Donald Trump can reclaim his brand and his name, in my opinion.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]


May 21st, 2012
2:13 am

Clay Aiken has much more class than Trump! Trump has no integrity! Clay deserved to win and Trump knows it. He is smart, creative, has more personality, a hard worker, a team player and has a great leadership. The result was BOGUS!

Mike Hayes

May 21st, 2012
2:19 am

Clay should have won, this was hands down. His final show was better and he won the most money. I didn’t care for Arsenios profanity laced show and I’m no prude. There were ladies and young children that didn’t need to hear the f word in every sentence. Even I was put out by this. It was trashy and low class I’ cant believe that Mr. Trump would like this show, it lowers himself to street talk and ghetto acts. I believe that part of his winning was due to the fact that NBC has promised Arsenios a late night talk show, as we all know by the many plugs it got during the show, they wouldn’t want a loser to get the show. Mr Trump was told who to pick. We will see what happens but you know Arsenios will fail at late night. He pulled all the sympathy vote also about his dead relative, and his tears for her and his charity.

In conclusion I’m done with Mr Trumps shows. This season was a trash rest from start to finish.

Mr. Trump you lowered yourself, shame on you.


May 21st, 2012
2:22 am

My heavy heart wanted to explode in anger to the Trumps & NBC. It’s rigged…it’s fixed! Not only was Clay Aiken robbed again of a deserving title but he was used by DT/MJ/NBC’s dirty business politics. Arsenio’s new talk show will be launched by Magic Johnson’s network via parent company of NBC. Also, Donald Trump is a Republican endorsing Romney who Clay called half-assed and insincere at “Face the Nation” panel and he has said he’s voting for Obama which is total opposition to DT’s political views. Why do you think they never followed their own criterias in judging the final tasks where Clay raised the most amount of money, has better PSA, has better fun and lively party and has better variety show? I was in attendance at the taping of the Final Party filmed in early Nov 2011 and saw the entire event without unfair edits or cuts, seeing some of Arsenio’s guests crashed to Clay’s party because they’re bored and not happy in AH’s party. Shame on the Trumps family and NBC for allowing this travesty to happen! I’ll never watch this show again! It’s just a waste of time!


May 21st, 2012
2:44 am

Folks this is the ENTERTAINMENT industry……it amazes me when people are amazed when things don’t turn out the way they expect, the Superbowl didn’t go my way either but if everything in the ENTERTAINMENT industry was predictable would that be ENTERTAINING? When I go back to work, or eat dinner with my family or play with my young daughter something tells me the end result of the show will not effect any of the above.


May 21st, 2012
2:52 am

Trump’s choice tonight was as twisted as when he chose Joan Rivers. Arensio’s behavior (rude, offensive) + “passive” (=non-existant) leadership style wouldn’t be tolerated in any professional business environment. Trump obviously went for a-kissing + bigger name charity and what it can do for Trump personally over best business decision and only choice, Clay. Last challenge was not even close…demo’d Clay’s abilities to perfection. Debbie said it all…despite her being annoying and out of line, Clay managed and was a class act all the way. What a waste of time…bad enough that Aubrey made it as far as she did…way, way too biased and unfair to waste another moment of my time. I’d always respected Trump, especially for values in raising his children, but his true lack of integrity came thru this time. Great undeserved push for Arsenio and Magic (who doesn’t need Arsenio) and slap in the face for Clay and anyone who’s ever worked in a business environment. Loss for not only Clay but Trump…big time…


May 21st, 2012
3:02 am

Who knew Trump was a homophobe? Why else could Clay have lost? Arsenio didn’t even deserve to be in the final. And don’t get me started on dumber-than-a-doorknob Miss Universe!


May 21st, 2012
3:04 am

UNBEFREAKENLIEVABLE!!!!!!!! Clay should have won!! But somehow, I knew the Donald would choose Arsenio. Can someone say “FIX”!!??!!


May 21st, 2012
3:54 am

If you thought it was too close to call you didn’t watch Apprentice. Clay wrote dialogue, worked continuously on every task and yet was still calm and classy. Arsenio floated on eveeryone’s coattails but this season was all about bringing Arsenio down to the finals by eliminating the correct team. He never raised money,should have been fired for Guide Book alone. Plus Arsenio’s filthy mouth was a treat. Yeah
he’s a real winner. The new network,NBC & comcast had nothing to do with it. Total waste of time,I would never watch again. They make a fool of the public.


May 21st, 2012
5:13 am

Arsenio’s PSA may have been cute, but it was cheesy to the max. Clay’s was much more professional. People who were there said that Arsenio’s show was nothing but vulgar, unfunny jokes with not much laughs. Clay’s show had everyone dancing, clapping & singing along, plus a lot of Penn & Teller fun. Arsenio’s party was so boring that his guests were crashing Clay’s lively carnival & complaining that they had to pay for Arsenio. Now, moneywise, I was sure Arsenio would come out on top due to all his contacts over the yrs & mucho Hollywood donors for Magic’s foundation. But, whodathunkit, Clay brought in twice as much dough as the “veteran”! CLAY WINS on all counts, Donald Dumbass.

Ms. Diva

May 21st, 2012
6:03 am

I am glad that Arsenio won. As far as him and Aubrey she will pull the worst out of anyone. He said his apologizes and it should be done and over. Trump said that the final challenge would not be the reason who ever won would win. It was based off the whole season. So once again congrats to Arsenio.


May 21st, 2012
6:16 am

Both contestants did very well (taped last Fall) but Clay almost won…AGAIN!

marble cutting blade

May 21st, 2012
6:17 am

Your article is very well written, very helpful to me, we sell the diamond tools manufacturers, the main products:multi blade,multi segment,marble cut blade,marble cutting blade,diamond multi blade etc.


May 21st, 2012
6:41 am

MVB is Lisa Lampanelli. Arsenic deserved to win and was a better leader. Sure, he told the narcissist Aubrey off, but that Lisa L was far more vile than Arsenio’s one comment. Hey MVB…oops, I mean Lisa, get over your jealousy of Dayana. If you could switch places with her, you know you would in a heart beat! Dayana is smart, diplomatic and gorgeous! Jealousy is ugly!


May 21st, 2012
6:51 am

Arsenio deserved the win he was better. yes Clay raisesd more oney, but there was no way he could make Clay the Apprentince. So once again, Clay loses.. haha. He is too much of a Diva.


May 21st, 2012
6:54 am

All you CLAY FANS who said he should have won YOU ARE SORRY LOSERS. GET OVER IT