May 21st, 2012
05:11 PM ET
You couldn't find a better matched pair - or two people with closer ties to their charities - than Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall, who managed to make it to the live season finale of "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday night.
Clay actually founded his "National Inclusion Project," while the "'Magic Johnson Foundation" was born out of an appearance the legendary basketball player made on Arsenio's '90s talk show (which, by the way, Arsenio announced he hopes to revive).
So the two went head-to-head with competing fundraising parties the same night. Both went with their strengths: For Arsenio, a team of comedians (plus "Real Housewife" Teresa Guidice), while Clay opted for a team of musicians (plus Penn Jillette).
Even though Aubrey O'Day had nothing to gain or lose this go-round, she still insisted on taking the lead when Donald Trump came to their party. Aubrey made no bones about it during Clay's musical presentation, when she sang a line about being done wrong while looking directly at the Donald.
I don't want to say that putting Aubrey in the finals would have been a bad idea, but it would've made for no contest whatsoever for the person she would have gone up against.
Indeed, there is no love lost for Aubrey or her BFF on the show, Lisa Lampanelli (who made "Celebrity Apprentice" history when she wrote a $10,000 check to Clay's charity, even though she was on Team Arsenio). The women who were fired early on were basically unanimous that Lisa and Aubrey were the biggest problems on the show, and pointed out the fact that two men were left in the finale.
For her part, Aubrey took the high road, grateful for the opportunity and seeing it all as a "teachable moment."
Meanwhile, Lou Ferrigno approaching Donald's desk with a check for more money he had raised, causing Donald to think he was going to fight him for a split second, was a great reminder of what Lou brought to the show (I'm not entirely sure what he was supposed to do with the check, now that the show is over). I'll just say it: Every season needs its Gary Busey.
And it was so bittersweet to see my favorite George Takei, once again.
Then came the moment of truth: Even though Clay raised the most money (thanks in no small part to Lisa), Donald went the other way and chose Arsenio as the winner of "Celebrity Apprentice."
Once the runner-up, always the runner-up. Sorry Clay!
Clay's micromanaging ways went a bit too far, and that was probably clear to Donald as well. Plus, you can't deny Arsenio's history of zero losses (at least until the final task).
Congratulations, Arsenio Hall and congratulations to the "Magic" Johnson Foundation! With the possible exception of Bret Michaels, who had diabetes, Arsenio kept himself laser-focused on his charity more than any other winner (and like I said, Clay was just as dedicated), and it was refreshing to see him walk away with the title of "Celebrity Apprentice."
Were you happy to see Arsenio win as well? Any suggestions for shows Clay might be able to win in the future? Share your thoughts on video or comment below.
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