'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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Sarah

Posted at 8:36 PM on May 23, 2012  

quess what It is rigged voted for Clay then they block me from voting any more……

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sammy

Posted at 8:26 PM on May 23, 2012  

fake poll.Cheating. Set up…. See all the commets….someone is falsifying….Clay is way ahead of Arsenio and was on this website until someone is planning a game…..

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Sarah

Posted at 8:23 PM on May 23, 2012  

I have been watching this poll and I must say it is rigged.Many of my friends and I just voted for Clay and lo and behold his numbers actually went down and you can’t say Arsenios went up because they didn’t . This whole thing is rigged. Arsenio won because the word is out he is going to do a talk show on NBC.

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Barbara

Posted at 8:12 PM on May 23, 2012  

Strange I voted forClay then I went back to check the percentage it went to a lower percent. doesn’t make sense to me. I think ita a set up cause Arsenio will have a show on NBC watch.

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irene yandow

Posted at 6:41 PM on May 23, 2012  

Hi, I watched every minute of it. I like Arsenio & wish him well.
Anyone who followed the show could see that Clay outworked him & was a better leader. I’m disappointed in Mr. Trump! Seems that the “business”. world is not enough for him………..he needs to have a hand in “show business” also!
That about sums it up! Sincerely, RUBY

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Jean

Posted at 2:35 PM on May 23, 2012  

Who the heck is voting for Arsenio now? Clay was way ahead in this earlier, as he is in every other poll regarding the CA’s fiasco Sunday night. An NBC poll has Clay at 90 percent. I do believe the votes coming in for Arsenio are phony.- and I think that not just because I am a Clay fan. This poll is so far off from all the others!! Very strange.

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John

Posted at 1:43 PM on May 23, 2012  

No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.”

–Andrew Carnegie,
Scottish-American industrialist

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Melissa (again)

Posted at 1:01 PM on May 23, 2012  

I just remembered something, LL said prior to the finale she raised 50 grand in donations just gearing up for it. She gave Arsenio 10 grand of her own money, maybe there are a lot of things we are unaware of here. Who got the 50 grand? Did it go to Arsenio’s team or Clay’s? If LL told those people to give their money to Clay instead and made an excuse like…I don’t know, I had donors lined up, I don’t know what happened…you get my drift. Having one of your team players helping the other team does not create a level playing field. Maybe Trump gave it to Arsenio because he thought that all of this was unfair to Arsenio-one of his players was openly working for the other team. I know you have heard this before, but what if everyone did thatn? My mom thinks Lisa deliberately f’d it up for Clay because even though they are friends, she was jealous because she felt it should have been her. Listen to the jokes she told on stage…it was sabatoge. He would have won without Lisa Lampanelli.

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Jean

Posted at 2:38 PM on May 23, 2012  

Melissa: Lisa said she gave $10,000 to Clay; but the other $40,000 went to Arsenio.She plainly stated it But Clay still came out way ahead in the fundraising, didn’t he??? .Some of the other contestants were pleasantly surprised she gave Clay the money- but she did believed Clay should have won, too!!! (But..why, then, did she have to tell that horrid joke at Clay’s expense??? It should have been edited out to begin with.

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diane

Posted at 11:02 AM on May 23, 2012  

So Andy you must realize someone is running a bot on this poll???

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Jasmine

Posted at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2012  

This poll is being spammed by other than Arsenio fans. Please don’t blame us for the votes. I don’t know any of my friends who would vote on a poll anyhow, so it has to be other people not wanting Clay to win.

Love Arsenio as a person, but he didn’t win this thing. Clay killed on every task, and his show was so much better. He raised far more money too. Wasn’t proud to find out Arsenio knew he was to win, but looking back, it showed in his playing. He really shouldn’t have won at all, but he did, and I still hope his talk show is successful.

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Capismama

Posted at 9:08 AM on May 23, 2012  

I believe Clay should have won. Arsenio is a great guy and I love him, but he did a lot of just standing back and watching whereas Clay was in there, trying to get it done…but what so I know? I have job that rewards the people who sit around doing nothing, while the actual workers get treated like crap, so this really doesn’t surprise me.

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the best telescope for beginners,

Posted at 2:42 AM on May 23, 2012  

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Marilissa

Posted at 12:13 AM on May 23, 2012  

I believe Clay was robbed when he was on American Idol. I think that he should have won then instead of that season’s winner. I also believe that the Black girl should have won American Idol the first season, but Black people failed to vote. Therefore, they really voted for Ruben in season two even though technically Clay should have won then in my estimation. He was more versatile than Ruben.

For this reason I sort of felt a little sorry for him on Celebrity Apprentice, but he really worked hard and well. He came out of his shell and did himself and the world proud. But Arsenio was the better one with leadership skills even if he did not win as much money. Everything does not have to come down to money as the bottom line. Clay was a little too gritty especially in the last segment. He lost his appeal for me even though I agreed with his point of view — just not the way he handled himself about it when dealing with others. I loved Clay and wanted him to win. But in the end, I think that Arsenio actually brought the best leadership style to the forefront. I’m glad he won.

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Cookie

Posted at 10:31 PM on May 22, 2012  

Clay was definitely the stronger leader, more creative person and better at fundraising. And Clay was one of the few people there mainly for his charity which is very close to his heart. There were 3 or 4 others that also surpassed Arsenio, there were 2 women, either one should have been in the finals against Clay. I think most people watching came to the same conclusion. I’m really sorry that the show turned out to be a fraud I was hoping it was one of the few shows that was legitimate. I wouldn’t watch again and I feel bad for the other competitors because it was unfair to all of them.

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ginnysfun

Posted at 10:27 PM on May 22, 2012  

Love Arsenio, but he got the win cuz Trump seemed smitten by his personality and talent. Since when did the Celebrity Apprentice win because he was second best in the finale? Why even have the finale? Clay and his numberfs proved he was the best, but these days, the “reality” is that Trump didn’t keep it real!

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Jeannie

Posted at 9:44 PM on May 22, 2012  

I was rooting for Arsenio, but I actually thought Clay would win because overall, he seemed to do better. But there was one big problem I had with Clay’s even that has not been discussed. Although his event was supposed to be for the “national inclusion project” there was not a single person with a disability to be seen at the event, and the carnivally games did not even appear to be wheelchair accessible!

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Mary Jane

Posted at 10:04 PM on May 23, 2012  

Well, using that logic Arsenio should have had people with HIV at his party. They could have worn little name tags saying they were HIV positive. Ridiculous–of course.
Not all disabilities are visible. As a teacher I’ve worked with many children (some with Autism) and people wouldn’t realize there is a disability just from looking at the child.
Clay’s party reflected the mission of his charity.,
Arsenio had people standing around drinking. I saw no connection to the Magic Johnson Foundation. People who were there came over to Clay’s side and said Arsenio’s party was boring.

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Maggie

Posted at 9:04 PM on May 22, 2012  

Hope no one believes it is Arsenio’s fans voting on this poll. His fans wouldn’t be caught dead doing this. They probably have not even seen this poll, nor would they care about it.

I truly believe it is Clay’s former fans voting against him,as they hate him for being gay. I believe they called themselves the Fraud Squad, the first time I heard about their antics. How sad that they spend so much time in such a negative way. In the end, he will still be gay, and very much a decent, very talented guy. They will still be miserable human beings.

Meanwhile, although I like Arsenio, he never should have won this, and even the Trumps must realize this simple fact. He was outplayed by more than just Clay, but I don’t think anything would have changed Trump’s determination to have Arsenio on top.

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Jean

Posted at 2:44 PM on May 23, 2012  

If you think it’s Clay’s ‘exfans’-in which there are very, very few exfans-are voting for Arsenio you are very, very wrong. If you are right, why, then, is Clay beating the pants off Arsenio in very other poll regarding the fiasco the other night??? Read all the comments on this and the other sites and majority of the posters are for Clay, NOT Arsenio. I think it’s ONE person who is able to flood this poll in Arsenio’s favor that is skewering this; maybe some computer geek with a device that just keeps pumping in the votes????? The numbers do NOT reflect the thoughts of those commenting here.

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Jan

Posted at 10:06 PM on May 23, 2012  

Oh, please don’t tell me that the Fraud Squad members have crawled out from under their rock. Sick people!!!

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Benji

Posted at 8:57 PM on May 22, 2012  

Harbouring Hearts is the charity affair where Eric Trump introduced Clay,and it is on tonight in New York, Clay finished singing half an hour ago.

For what it’s worth, if yu want to know what the rest of the cast thought of Clay,just listen to Adam Carolla’s pod cast. Get that crow ready to eat if you do listen.-

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Mary Jane

Posted at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2012  

I listened to the podcast. He said that in the boardroom in November right after the final task, every person, even those on Arsenio’s team felt Clay had won. At that point I don’t think they even realized that Clay had also raised more money. Dee said Clay was robbed. Lisa, in an interview said that Clay would win unless “the fix” was in.
I’m sure from Nov. until the finale Clay thought he had won. Can you even imagine how his family felt sitting in that audience knowing he had been cheated. Even worse, The National Inclusion Project was cheated.

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Benji

Posted at 8:52 PM on May 22, 2012  

Eric Trump just introduced Clay at a charity affair saying that he was the only person to ever have everyone love him at the end of the show. I guess some of you would call him a liar cos you know more than him, even though he was there,

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Linnie

Posted at 8:21 PM on May 22, 2012  

Obviously Clay should have won. He raised more money, his final show was MUCH better than Arsenio’s, he was often “the voice of reason,” etc. BUT, I think that Trump gave it to Arsenio to resurrect his career (and get future celebs who have fallen on bad times and off the “A” list to sign on for future seasons.)

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diane

Posted at 8:13 PM on May 22, 2012  

http://www.adamcarolla.com/taylor-hicks-and-david-wild/

This is a good listen. A quote.

In the boardroom, everyone was polled and everyone said Clay should win

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kelly

Posted at 6:53 PM on May 22, 2012  

Actually, I just read the prior post on here. Dee and Lisa both knew of the fix, and said so in a tweet. Debbie knows it too, and she was embarrassed to have made such a big deal out of the mural. She and Clay are good friends. OF COURSE, Clay would want to see a sketch before it went on the wall. That would go without saying. Aubrey is just Aubrey, and she should know nothing she did should not be approved by the PM. She certainly approved the work others did when she was PM. She was a good worker, but her comments were out of line.
I don’t think he was harsh at all – just firm, as any leader would be. Both Debbie and Aubrey wanted Clay to win and said so many times before and after. They knew he was the best at the game, and a very hard, productive worker. Editing is everything, and Trump had to try to give Clay a poor edit, to make it look as if they didn’t like him . Didn’t fool me a bit. He chose the wrong man. Anyone who watched each episode could see this easily. It was a business decision to puff his ego, if Arsenio’s show does well. I won’t be watching, and won’t even think of watching CA again.

No, Arsenio did nothing but show up for the win. He followed Clay around like a puppy for the first few shows, and just stood and watched the workers for the last ones. There were so many better, that people are shocked at the outcome.. His Aubrey rant was more than once, and totally out of hand. SHE was right about the slogan. She DID say it first, so his protests were ridiculous. Just watch the show again, and you will all see. He had NO other contribution to the task, or very little that was shown. Aubrey won both of his tasks practically by herself. The perfume task was a joke, as Clay’s display was SO much better.

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Diane Moreno

Posted at 10:19 AM on May 23, 2012  

I agree ^. Clay really impressed me with his tact and manner. He clearly should have won and I, too, won’t watch CA again. Not that my life revolves around reality shows! Oh, who am I kidding? Even posting about this proves I have no life. Anyways, Clay was the winner, Arsenio showed poor management skills but not that I’m reading there was some sort of behind-the-curtain deal, it explains the whole sham. Won’t waste the few brain cells left to watch Trumpy and his Hair.

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Randy

Posted at 6:29 PM on May 22, 2012  

@Jackie Muller who said, “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.” Hahahahaha, how stupid do you think the readers here are?? You totally made that up and no one believe you for a second. And IF one of the players “confirmed it”, then why wouldn’t you name them? lmfao. Obviously, if they confirmed it, then they don’t give a crap if you give their name… in fact, they want it to be know. But since you made it all up anyway, it doesn’t matter. And, yeah, one of the celebrities knew the show was fixed… from the beginning. Hahahahahah. You’re an idiot Jackie Muller. If you’re going to lie, at least make it a somewhat believable lie. ;)

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Reid Ross

Posted at 6:25 PM on May 22, 2012  

I agree that Clay deserved to win, but let’s be serious. His career will not “flourish” because he was the runner-up on Trump’s fixed show. C’mon, Clay is a C-list celebrity, at best.

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Kelly

Posted at 6:21 PM on May 22, 2012  

Unless you’re naive, everyone knows that Trump and the producers decide BEFORE each task is even started who Trump is going to fire. All they do is decide which contestant from each team is the most boring and least helpful to the ratings. Then whichever team loses, which is also decided BEFORE The boardroom even happens, the most boring person they decided on ahead of time is gone. And if there’s a really good player that gets kicked off early, the only reason it happens is because they had worked it out before the season even started that that they could only do a certain number of episodes. David Cassidy is a good example of that a few years ago. He was kicked off first because he only agreed to appear in one episode. So he told Trump and the producers he would do the show on the condition that they would “fire” him on the first episode. Just enough to give him a little exposure and get back to doing his club shows, etc.

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