As most may know by now, the career themed reality show ‘The Apprentice’ is down to its top 4 competitors within the concurrent 10th season. This is a very notable season, because as indicated by Mr. Trump himself, this may very well be the final season of the original concept. There are several other reasons to care about the final 4 face off, for ultimately, the show has been somewhat inspiring, primarily in seasons past.
The Original Concept, for those unfamiliar, was simple. 16-18 of the best candidates from across the country are selected to compete in a 12-15 week rigorous job interview; thus vying to become Donald J. Trump’s next apprentice. The teams are typically split into 2 teams of 8 as they perform weekly tasks as a cohesive unit, until finally there are 2 candidates left standing. The 2 then square off head to head for one final task, and one final showdown in the boardroom. The finale boardroom is usually aired live, but as reported from Tyana Alvarado’s podcast, this season won’t be live due to subpar ratings. At the end of every task, at least one candidate from the losing team is fired. Perks for the sole surviving candidate include, but may not be limited to:
1. A (1) year contract working for the Trump Organization assigned the salary of $250k.
2. Learning from the best real estate developer in all of New York City, Donald J. Trump.
3. An opportunity to network, and perhaps grow further within the company.
Personally, this marks the 1st season of The Apprentice I’ve viewed intently sense the original break out season in 2004. To hear the show is experiencing lackluster ratings doesn’t much surprise me, but it is very unfortunate that the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ will return in its place. The theme this season was a ‘recession’ based apprentice, as it currently reflects the economic recession. This is relatable to the average American who may be talented and well educated, but with the collapse of the market, is now struggling to earn a living, run a business; thus becoming one of many victims of home foreclosure.
The Final 4 have worked their butts off to see the mountain top, but only one will actually reach it. The candidates have been tested on their salesmanship, marketability, creativity, and of course gauged on how well they work with, and lead others through several diverse sets of tasks. At this juncture, the remaining 4, Steuart, Liza, Clint, and Brandy, will need to give it all they’ve got to pull out a victory for the job opportunity of a lifetime! Sure the remaining episodes have already been filmed, but I’d still like to chime in with my own analysis on how each one can strengthen their chance for a victory.
Steuart has been coasting under the radar since episode 2. He engaged in a minor confrontation with one of his fallen competitors, David, whom he & Anand later referred to as ‘The Virus’. We haven’t really seen him involved in much drama, which is really a huge plus on his behalf. He generally has remained relaxed and poised throughout this entire process. Performance wise, he has enjoyed a 2-0 winning record as project manager (PM). However, as it currently stands, the viewer is given the impression that Steuart has been the right hand man of his friend and fired teammate, Anand. Together, both were virtually unstoppable on many fronts, but especially in regards to creative insight. It was plain to see that Anand was the stronger leader between the 2 of them. When Steuart earned victory 1 as PM, he took more of a backseat approach, while his team ushered him on to a decisive victory over Team Fortitude. Had it not been for his former nemesis, David, implementing a critical creative element in task 7, the victory may not have been. Steuart knows when to listen, but he will have to become more hands on in the decision making process, as he so demonstrated in victory 2 as PM. In the final 4, you really have to stand on your strengths, and build on your weaknesses. He’s creative, bright, and possesses charisma. For a victorious end result, consistency in showing that he is a strong and effective leader is a must.
Brandy is somewhat mysterious. All season long, she managed to remain off the grid until her shocking aggression towards Mahsa was unveiled. She owns a record of 1-0 as PM. Her demeanor overall is presented as refined, intelligent and mild mannered. Her style of leadership is firm, but mildly relaxed. She isn’t afraid to ask for help when necessary. I would say the only thing Brandy lacks most times is visible energy and interest in her work. However, when she emceed the fashion show, she was very outgoing and charismatic. In task 10, I was very surprised how laxydasical she seemed to be on camera. I’m not sure if she was a bit ill during the taping or just exhausted. Creatively, she has been successful, while pushing the envelope. For task 8, she went for a risky print ad to sell the Trump brand, and it paid off. Though the panel raised an eyebrow, she earned a solid victory as PM of this task. At this stage in the game, Brandy needs to turn up the heat and keep those creative juices flowing! On the last 2 tasks, if she were on the losing team with the role she played, she easily could have been made the scapegoat for the loss. After seeing her attack Mahsa in and out of the boardroom, I know she has a killer instinct, but she needs to take that energy and apply it to the tasks at hand from here on out.
Next up, we have Clint who also shares a 2-0 winning record as PM. Clint is currently the favorite to win this contest. Along with a winning record, he’s a good listener, but stands on firm ground when he makes a decision to do something. He exudes a high level of enthusiasm while consistently attempting to positively motivate his team. I think he has done a remarkable job thus far in regards to leading and taking direction. The only thing that has a huge question mark dangling over his head with me is his key involvement in the ‘Mahsa Mahsacre’. He and Mahsa, a contestant from ‘Team Fortitude’, had a showdown in the board room. Observing Mr. Trump, I know he places high value in an employee that hones these 3 most notable attributes: 1.Loyalty 2.Integrity 3.Productivity. Officially, Mahsa was dismissed for displaying a lack of ‘loyalty’, not for lying, as it was primarily presented in episode 7.(See post on “Questionable Firings”) Noting these things, there is a possibility Mr. Trump may have it in the back of his mind that Clint wasn’t completely forthright. After all, it takes 2 to tango, and he did participate in the inappropriate conversation. He didn’t mention it until he needed to defend himself. As a result, Clint has to remain visibly flawless. If Mr. Trump has any doubt about Clint’s level of integrity in the back of his mind, he could easily use the tiniest mistake Clint makes as a means to fire him, were he to end up on a losing team.
Finally, we get to Liza. Liza unfortunately is the recipient of a 0-1 record as PM. I would say her best attributes are being an excellent orator, very creative, and her business background helps. However, as early as episode 2, it was clear to me Liza was facing an uphill battle throughout this contest. Just like all of the candidates, the only thing we know about them is what we see on camera, and what their teammates tell us about them within their monologue segments. In episode 2, Liza was labeled the weakest link and incompetent by her team. Though they won task 2 with the help of her creative input, she never lived down the stigma that was placed upon her. From there on, she was relegated to performing menial tasks for the team. During the face off she had with Stephanie in the boardroom, even Mr. Trump finally acknowledges he wasn’t happy with Liza’s performance. Referencing Donald Trump Jr., the only time she shows aggression, or passion, was in the boardroom. I’ll borrow from Ivanka Trump’s analysis as well; stating Liza really needs to work on her sales delivery. Liza’s biggest setback is her salesmanship, coupled by the fact she has been too polite. Especially to those who don’t deserve it. When presenting ideas, she’ll have to give a stronger, more confident delivery. Think about it, would you want your brand new furniture conveyed to you via ‘No Name Doe’ from the back alley, or would you rather have it conveyed to you by a well known name such as ‘The Trump Organization’? Credibility and confidence go a long way. Liza’s already proven herself to be polite, trustworthy, and a good speaker. The lingering question-is her business acumen strong enough? She made it to the final 4, but the goal is to be number 1. The goal is to become The Apprentice. At this point, she’ll have to go really big or be sent home packing.
This concludes my analysis of the final 4. Though my prime favorites were already eliminated, Dave, Mahsa, & Anand, I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out. With this marking perhaps the final time we see this concept, it’s a bittersweet ending. I think the show, especially season 10, conveys an underlying message of importance. It’s about getting a job, embarking on a new career, learning, and growing. The most inspiring thing about this program was that although one contestant officially wins the apprenticeship at the end of the season, it puts that individual to work on the executive level, along with other perks I’ve stated above. We’re living in a time where most professions in America have been shipped overseas, leaving several people unemployed, and in some cases, homeless. I’ve done some research on past seasons that I’ve missed, and I’ve learned that several of the fired contestants were able to get good enough exposure to branch off to bigger and better things. Former contestant from season 2, Rebecca Jarvis for example, is the Newsreader for CBS ‘The Early Show Saturday Edition’. Heck, Mr. Trump has been known to hire past candidates in different facets of his organization, such as Stephanie Castagnier of the concurrent season 10. I give credit to Mr. Trump for actually hiring stateside, and continuing to primarily base his operations here in the United States.
There is no doubt ‘The Apprentice’ began to degress in providing quality content-looking over past seasons, but as we know, all good things must eventually come to an end. So to ‘The Apprentice’ cast and crew, I say “Cheers” on a job well done. Though the ratings may have lagged, the actual program and its incentive to participate were very compelling. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t subscribe to reality TV, but this show was different. This show is… this show was…”The Apprentice.” Good luck to the remaining candidates and cheers to all who were able to participate in such a unique venture.