'Celebrity Apprentice' Got It Wrong — Clay Aiken Should Have Won

Mon, May 21, 2012 12:10pm EST by 137 Comments
Arsenio Hall Celebrity Apprentice Winner 2012

Do you think Arsenio deserved his victory, or was Clay totally shafted? Vote now!

How many of you were surprised when Donald Trump told Arsenio Hall he was hired on the May 20 season finale of The Celebrity Apprentice? Oh, everyone? Me too, because it seemed that all signs were pointing to Clay Aiken as this season’s champion. Not only did Clay’s team earn more for his charity — he raised $301,500 while Arsenio only raised $167,000 — but nearly every returning contestant polled said they expected Clay to win.

So what happened?

The Donald attempted to justify Arsenio’s win during a May 21 appearance on the Today show — he explained that Arsenio remained undefeated throughout the competition, while Clay lost one week as Project Manager — but I’m not buying it.

Doesn’t everything in the business world come down to the almighty dollar? I’m no Trump, but I’d rather have someone like Clay at the helm of my company, knowing that he’d make more money for me even if he did lose out on one little account. And shouldn’t the contestants’ massive age gap — Clay is 23 years younger than Arsenio — prove even further that Clay has a natural business sense?

My suspicions increased when Arsenio started talking about how his experience on The Celebrity Apprentice could lead to more TV opportunities.

Arsenio Hall Talk Show In The Works — Major TV Networks Trying To Win Over Winner Of Celebrity Apprentice 2012

“This show — [Trump] believing in me, NBC believing in me — has kind of allowed me to re-enter [the TV world]” Arsenio said. “The greatest builder in the world has built a bridge I’m going to walk across back into into show business.”

Is it possible that Arsenio’s Apprentice win was really just part of a much larger comeback plan for the former late-night host? Everyone is buzzing about Arsenio getting a new show, and you have to admit, the Donald will have major bragging rights when he finally does.

What do YOU think? Did Arsenio deserve to win this season’s Apprentice, or was Clay robbed of the title? Drop me a comment with your reaction to the winner, and your thoughts about the late-night conspiracy.

— Andy Swift

More Celebrity Apprentice:

  1. Exclusive: Dayana Mendoza Tells Me Getting Fired Was ‘A Relief’
  2. Exclusive: Lisa Lampanelli Reveals the Moments She Felt ‘Vindicated’
  3. Recap: Penn Jillette & Dayana Gang Up Against Clay Aiken

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Posted at 6:14 PM on May 22, 2012  

Yeah, Clay deserved to win… BUT you have to be kidding when you say “Clay got along with everyone.” Bull! Did you watch the show?? Did he get along with Debbie Gibson over the wall-painting issue?? Did he get with Aubrey with setting up the carnival?? Uh, NO. It was pretty obvious they couldn’t stand him. He was just way too anal even about little, meaningless details. However, he did raise almost the double the $$$ Arsenio raised, and his show was clearly better than Arsenio’s. This entire season was rigged. Trump and the producers decided Arsenio was going to be the winner many weeks before the final task. And anyone who doesn’t see that is blind. But I do think Arsenio’s talk show 20 years ago was great and I hope he has another one soon.

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Posted at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2012  

First of all the entire premise behind Celebrity Apprentice baffles me. The show started out as “The Apprentice,” where Trump at the end of the season awarded the winning contestant a job overseeing work at either The Ms. America Pageant or overseeing construction on one of his buildings…(ex: Bill Rancic’s win)
Then, they come out with Celebrity Apprentice in which I have NO idea what the winner is supossed to do when they are chosen. Do they just spend a season raising money for charity? Do they run a corporation? It’s all unknown.
However, when the final two came down to Trace Adkins and Pierce Morgan; Trump stated that the object of Celebrity Apprentice was for the winner to have the potential to raise enormouse amounts of money for charity. This apparently was the reason why Trump chose Morgan over Adkins. Although, Adkins showed integrety, honor and held himself and other with respect,…Morgan’s diabolical machinations won out in the end because, the bottom line was about how much money they brought in and could potentionally bring in for charity.
Although, this season money wasn’t the criteria by which the winner was determined. Clay Aiken raised almost 3 times the amount as Arsenio Hall.and yet he wasn’t chosen as the winner. Aiken held himself to a higher moral standard than Hall whom called Aubrey O’Day a “b*tch and wh*re.”
Aresenio seemed more concerned about name dropping Irving Johnson and Jay Leno’s name repeatedly. Yet, if memory serves me right…Leno’s “enormous,” check doesn’t make it to an event episode in time to be counted toward the charity raising tally. Without the check in question, I don’t believe Hall brought in any significant amount of money that task or in the finale.
However, Clay repeatedly out-raised Hall on several monetary charity benefit occasions . Aiken chose a person whom he’d “called out,” earlier in the season (Penn) for attempting to intentionally or unintentionally sabotage Lou Ferrigno’s Project Manager task. Aiken was not only able to call out the injustice he felt was being perportrated…but he did so with class and elegance.
Not being a fan of any of the “Apprentice,” series or of Aiken I was genuinely impressed with his ethical dealings with other individuals. He didn’t rely on his sexuality to define his entire existance as is common to do in the gay community. He showed he was more than “American Idol #2, and more than “a gay man,” in a straight society. In all actually, only the other contestants ever mention Aiken’s sexuality. He comfortably stays away from being labeled and defined by his sexuality and I found that refreshing in an age where mannerisms, dress, and identities are easily defined by one attribute (being gay). It was refreshing to see an individual not mention sexuality in this overly-heightened sexual atmosphere of America.
Clay Aiken refused to be defined by his former “American Idol,” status and by his sexuality. Instead he showed whom he really was…a kind, strong, good managing, leader capable of bringing in serious money for charity (whether his own or others: for ex. the $100,000 he was instrumental in helping Lisa Lampenelli win during her project manager task).
Also, this is the very first season that I’m aware of (I don’t watch the Apprentice or Celebrity Apprentice often) in which, a team member from the opposing team gave money in the amount of $10,000 to Aiken’s charity because he (Aiken) worked so hard to raise money for her (Lampenelli’s) charity in the past. If the aforementioned notion doesn’t give insight as to Clay Aiken’s character and managing style and abilities then I suppose nothing else could or would.
Trump decided the winner this seaon not based on money brought in, didn’t base the winner on integrety and how they handled themselves when dealing with others (although, Lampenelli was fired for her lack of professionalism: losing her temper and overly emotional).
So one is lead to conclude that Arsenio Hall only won because according to his own words he wants to use this win on Celebrity Apprentice as “a bridge back into a late night tak show.” It appears to me and of course this is just my opinion which doesn’t amount to much, that Hall won simply because he’s trying to restart his Hollywood career and Trump can have bragging rights to helping Hall get back into the late night talk show circuit once again.
Trump did not decide this years winner based on any attributes he asigned to winners in the past. If he would have then Clay Aiken clearly would have won.
Instead, Trump hired the person whom kissed is bottom the most and would keep his name in the media as the person whom helped restart his career (Arsenio Hall).
Also, let’s not forget that Hall helps with Irving (Magic) Johnson’s foundation; however, Clay Aiken saw a problem in how disabled children are marginalized and CREATED, and head his own charitable foundation to counter the injustice he witnessed on his travels after high school. Aiken 23 years Hall’s junior has accomplished more in the charity world then Hall has to date (according to the information I have been able to access).
I have no doubt that Clay Aiken has just increased his “Claymate,” fanbase beause of his open, kind, generous, honest gameplay in a world that worships hedonistic selfishness. Way to play the game Clay. Although, you weren’t the Celebrity Apprentice he brought integrety back to night-time television and I for one am impressed.
(sorry for all the spelling, typos, errors :)

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Posted at 5:05 PM on May 22, 2012  

Trump is an absolute fake, always was and always will be. Arsenio’s win was pre-determined. Clay was the true winner.

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Posted at 2:41 PM on May 22, 2012  

What a joke! The entire show was fixed from the start.

As an added note, all those Arsenio votes above, are mainly from former Clay fans out to “get him” for coming out. That’s the truth. They formed a group, and vote against him everywhere. Pathetic..

Just talked to a group at a meeting, and not ONE out of the 26 there thought Arsenio should even be in the finals. Clay Aiken is a class act, and took it on the chin once again. Trump should be hiding his head at this point. He totally blew it, and was stupid not to realize the viewers would not be stunned at his stupidity and unfair ways. Last time for any of us to watch this farce. Wishing Clay the best of luck, and hope his charity benefits greatly from this injustice.

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Posted at 2:31 PM on May 22, 2012  

Clay was obviously the real winner and Mr. Trump made a fool of himself. Trump appears to beinvolved in getting Arsenio a show and is looking for a payback in accolades and who knows what else. Clay was composed, organized, honest with people, acted like a leader,showed respect for people, raised more moneu,was more admired by the other contestants and throughout teh show he acurately assesed the skills and shortcomings of people. I don’t think I would watch the show again after this travesty. I wish Mr Aiken the best in his career and business ventures. He has much more ability and potential than Arsenio Hall. Showing such blatent favoritism instead of recognizing the facts and selecting the true winner does not gain Arsenion Hall any fans. He sold out his friends to get a show.

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Posted at 2:18 PM on May 22, 2012  

I’m not surprised one bit -Not because I wanted Arsenio to win (really did want it to be Clay, but more on this in a min), but because Trump always has a clear idea who he wants to win/do such and such each week (at the expense of some people *COUGH* Michael Andretti *COUGH*) and he only pushes those people forward while steamrolling everyone else and, basically, torturing them by ignoring all the imperial evidence brought up about the situations that week, to focus on one petty situation/act/whatever that no one else cared about.

As for Arsenio winning over Clay, the real BS of it is that Arsenio was even billed in the ads leading to the finale as exactly the same thing they fired Lisa for -Pretty much an unmitigated emotional wreck of a person (which, I didn’t really feel was a totally fair assessment of Lisa overall).. Do you really hire a person who runs around when he’s mad, stomping around like a child and yelling about people being whores and bitches, and with television cameras running no less?.. You may not, any normal human being may not, but Trump just proved he would! And that’s why Arsenio shouldn’t’ have won -because Arsenio shouldn’t have been in the finale as anything more then a helping hand.

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Lois Melchiore

Posted at 1:22 PM on May 22, 2012  

I will not watch this phony show again and I hope poeple write in to NBC to finally cancelled this crap show Trump has put on. I think NBC and us the American people, should once and for all FIRE DONLAD TRUMP< becuase I will say this to Clay you got ROBBED!!! and say this to Donald Trump, as of this writing my comment, You ARE FIRED and I will never waste my time watching this joke of a show. Good bye Trump, stuff your show up you know what!!! Clay are were ROBBED TWICE, first AI and Now this. I will send your charity some money to try to make up the $250,000 loss that Donald stole from you. Love U Clay. P.S. Arsenio I will never watch your new show coming up, becuase this was staged for you to win all along. Total BS!!!

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Jackie Mullen

Posted at 1:13 PM on May 22, 2012  

It was confirmed by one of the other players (which I will not name) that the “fix” was in from the beginning for Arsenio to win so it does not matter what the polls show. Anyone who watched the show could see that Clay was the real winner.

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Darlene Whitaker

Posted at 1:09 PM on May 22, 2012  

I did not enjoy Arsenio’s presentation. Mostly Lisa’s ugly comments during the presentation. I thought Clay should have won. He was very profesional all the way through the series. I’m not prejudice as I was an Arsenio TV fan when he was on and I have enjoyed Clay’s music from the beginning, enough to go see him on stage. Clay just beat the socks off Arsenio. I hope it was not prearranged for Arsenio to win as I am a fan of The Apprentice.

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Posted at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2012  

There is no way on earth Arsenio won this on his own. Trump chose him before the show began, and did a poor job of making him look like a winner. Aubrey won both of Arsenio’s tasks for him, and the final night was definitely a huge win for Clay Aiken.
Clay was so obviously the best player, with Aubrey second. Her bad mouth kept her back a bit. Even Lisa and Penn were better than Arsenio. NO ONE I know picked him as a top player at all He just wached everyone do the work, pumped his fist a little, and gave us a goofy grin. Very little work from him. Aubrey DID suggest the slogan before Arsenio found it on the computer. Why wasn’t that brought out? What happened to the final task being so important? It had to be because there was no way at all to make it seem as if Arsenio won the night. All of a sudden the huge amount of money collected, and the FAR better show didn’t count for a thing. A crass Clay roast doesn’t trump an excellent variety show. Ask all the other players, except probably two. They KNEW Clay should win this, and so does Trump. It was all about the new Arsenio show on a Magic Johnson network, and Trump has a stake in it. He looks like a fool for trying to pull this off. Doesn’t he know he edited all he could to make Clay look bad, and it didn’t work? Used to like this show, but we are done in this house. The fix was on, and it didn’t wash with the general public. Would not even consider that butt kissing, name dropping Arsenio’s show either. Shame on all of them.

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Posted at 11:59 AM on May 22, 2012  

EVERYONE knows that Clay was robbed! Even Arsenio and Donald Trump. As another writer has said, “Clay is not an apprentice, he’s the BOSS!” Many new Clay fans and supporters of National Inclusion Project have emerged. Clay’s career WILL flourish withOUT the now-tarnished title. His outstanding stint on Face the Nation was a coup beyond any “title”. If you’d like to help Clay’s charity, please send your contribution to inclusionproject.org

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Linda Caso

Posted at 11:39 AM on May 22, 2012  

Arsenio seemed very phony to me whereas Clay was sincere. Clay was robbed. I disliked Trump before – now even more than ever! Why do I watch this show??? It’s kind of like rubbernecking at an accident.

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Mary M

Posted at 11:08 AM on May 22, 2012  

Oh please people. Have you listened to Trump’s political ramblings lately? He is 100% against gay marriage, and Clay has been vocal about his support of it. Donald Trump just refused to make a gay man the celebrity apprentice.

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Posted at 11:06 AM on May 22, 2012  

It is an overwhelming conclusion the this show was predetermined that Arsenio Hall would win, which is shame because Arsenio did not show an iota of leadership…all he did was take credit for other people’s ideas and hard work…what a crock!

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Barrbara Hottman

Posted at 10:51 AM on May 22, 2012  

I watched the entire show from beginnning to end. Arsenio Hall had words several times with Aubrey O’Day, and Clay got along with everyone. Arsenio thought he was a big shot, and it showed. Clay, on the other hand was subversive and humble through it all. He definitly deserved the aprentiship award. I don’t think I am the only one who thinks that.

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tom C

Posted at 10:28 AM on May 22, 2012  

Clay should have won and I agree it was decided at the begining of the season who was going to win. Arsenio’s butt should have been kicked to the curb a longggg time ago. Wow Donald wonder why you picked Arsenio ??? got a couple of guesses

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Posted at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2012  

Because it was too blatantly obvious it’s like a wake up call for me. It’s always been business at the end of the day, the bottom line really is everything, why would it be any differenSo disenchanted by all this.

They couldn’t even edit to make Arsenio look like a better PM or had a better party or show. All they did was not consider the final task. Clay Aiken shone in that task as PM.

National Inclusion Project deserved that $250K.

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Posted at 9:28 AM on May 22, 2012  

I have to disagree about the leadership angle. A good leader not only delegates tasks, but follows through. Micro-manage is just a buzz word and if you get to the true meaning it means taking care of all the minor details which Clay did not do. He did follow through to make sure the tasks were being executed as he expected them to be. You can’t set people free to do whatever they want because in the end it may not represent the project manager’s overall vision. Clay had an overall vision for his charity event. Arsenio did not. Good evidence of Arsenio’s lack of leadership was his begging Adam not to do a roast– but they did it anyway.

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Mary Jane

Posted at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2012  

Are you kidding? Arsenio lost his temper and resorted to calling Aubrey names that had to be bleeped. This happened more than once.
Clay was very firm in the last task (after being questoned by John Rich about whether he was a follower or a leader), but he did not lose his temper.
Oh, and John Rich tweeted his belief that Clay should win! This whole thing was planned from the beginning so that Arsenio would win. He was there to get a new show and Clay was there for his charitiy. Guess they both got what they wanted (minus the $250,000) for The National Inclusion Project.

Just watched an interview of the other contestants leaving the finale. They were asked if the right person was chosen. Many of them avoided answering and most said it should have been Clay.

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Posted at 4:57 AM on May 22, 2012  

Actually, if you looked at it as though Trump were really hiring someone for his company, then Penn should’ve won it. That’s the person you’d want representing your company and trusting to handle any project. But in terms of it being a TV show and which celeb actually won the final task overall, it was definitely Clay. First, he raised almost double the money that Arsenio raised! (Actually it was 80%.) That’s incredible. I mean Arsenio is the one who’s supposed to have tons of celebrity connections, not Clay. Yet Clay whooped his butt in raising money. Also, Trump’s claim that Arsenio was 2-0 and Clay was 1-1 is bull because if he had made Clay the winner, Clay’s record would’ve been 2-1 and Arsenio’s also would’ve been 2-1. The win-loss record Trump referred to was BEFORE the final task. The only thing Arsenio beat Clay on in the final task was leadership. Clay was very condescending to his team; you could pretty much tell they couldn’t stand him during that task. But Arsenio’s people really liked him. Clay was just being way too anal about petty details.REALITY CHECK for everyone… Trump already picked the winner before the task was even started. In fact, I have little doubt that Trump and the producers had picked Arsenio as the winner weeks before the finale. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.

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Pam Rodman

Posted at 2:45 AM on May 22, 2012  

Mr. Trump, I have watched The Apprentice since it started. I loved watching people work hard to work for you to get a better start in life. Then you started doing celebrity Apprentice and I liked the fact that they played for charity. First, let me say that I am not an angry “Claymate.” I do admire him a great deal and after watching this show, I felt he was cheated once again. He WON the last challenge. He brought in much more money than Arsenio did and yet, you called Clay the loser! Now I know why. I read about the new TV channel set up my Magic and now I know that Arsenio will have a new TV show and this just “happens” to be from the same network that you do your show on. Arsenio didn’t win this task. Magic did. I have lost all faith in you and this show. I can honestly say I’ll never watch this show again. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt and a whole amount of doubt I now have. Shame on you. Clay should have won this one but you sold him out. I think if it would benefit you, you’d sell anyone out. If that’s what it takes to make it in your world, then I can sleep well for the rest of my life knowing that I’d never do what you did to Mr. Aiken. He deserved so much more. Shame on you. You are not a good moral person but I think Clay is.

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Posted at 2:27 AM on May 22, 2012  

Actually rumor has it Arsenio is gay too so double kudos for Trump here. Gay and African American.
Actually the real reason for picking Arsenio as many have pointed out is, its better business. That’s fine but lets be upfront about it. Who’s manipulative and scheming now?

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Posted at 2:13 AM on May 22, 2012  

Donald Trump..”You Are Fired”..Never will watch his program again. Boycott his show forever. DT has no creditablility whatsoever. BOYCOTT anything DT has interest in..

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Kathy Adams

Posted at 12:51 AM on May 22, 2012  

Yes, Clay was clearly the winner, based on facts and criteria. I have no respect for Trumph now. I wish I could tell him to his face. Clay, you really did get shafted!

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Posted at 9:38 PM on May 21, 2012  

dpm’t be surprised if Trump and Burnett are the producers of Arseniio’s late night talk sow on nbc. ha.

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