Arsenio Hall is Donald Trump's new "Celebrity Apprentice!"
It was quite a night with the season finale of the hottest celebrity-related reality show on network television. The episode kicked off with with Trump's over-the-top entrance, a pre-taped ride from race car super-driver Mario Andretti. "Hop in, Mr. Trump. I won't mess up your hair," Andretti promised, and with those words we were off to the races.
The live NBC finale was broadcast from New York City's historic Museum of Natural History. A rip-roaring crowd created a pugilistic but fun-filled atmosphere as the late night legend squared off against the pop star. Hall vs. Aiken was the battle of the night.
Arsenio and Clay Aiken were charged with putting on a variety show cast with 8 of their former "Celeb Apprentice" teammates. The competition was friendly as viewers could tell that Arsenio and Clay genuinely like and respect each other. Arsenio decided to go the stand up route with his show and Clay chose to lead with a musical show. No surprise there.
Team Arsenio, picked by the man himself, consisted of Adam Carolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Teutul Sr. and Teresa Giudice, chosen in that exact order. Team Clay was made up of Penn Jillette, Debbie Gibson, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider and Aubrey O'Day. Of course, the woman everyone loves to hate, Lady Aubrey, was picked last. It was like choosing up teams for a high school dodge ball game.
It seemed that Clay had it in the bag. He created a high-energy carnival complete with a colorful mural orchestrated by Debbie Gibson's cousin. The event's tone really underscored the "Let's all play" motto of Aiken's charity, The National Inclusion Project. Clay was even able to successfully wrangle Aubrey.
Arsenio's party came across as sophisticated and upscale but boring. His highlight was an appearance from comic legend, Whoopi Goldberg. Fans would have appreciated the moment more if Whoopi was somehow a part of his variety show. However, Hall made a point of saying that he wanted to keep his party simple and additional star appearances were probably against the rules.
Arsenio's biggest moment came in hearing his list of supportive donors. His charity is the Magic Johnson Foundation which promotes HIV and AIDS awareness. Those making contributions on Arsenio's behalf were a who's who in comedic Hollywood. Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Jimmy Kimmel all donated to Team Arsenio. That speaks volumes for their personal opinions of his character. Arsenio was also a winner with his promotional ad.
All in all, it was a nail biter of a night. Clay raised much more money but the judging factors also included the variety show, a charity ad and the event. Arsenio was also unbeaten as a Project Manager. In the end, Arsenio "trumped" Clay's "don't make me a runner up again" rant reminding fans of all of the ways he's been a true underdog in his career.
Clay is young and already much beloved. Either way, he comes out on top. Hopefully, Mr. Trump's decision put us all that much closer for a new, late night party named, "The Arsenio Hall Show."
Congrats to Arsenio -- and Clay!
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