Monday, May 21, 2012

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I’m not one of those fans who thought there was anything super fishy about the AI2 final results of Clay vs Ruben other than simply not enough phone lines to allow all the votes to get through. It was the same number of lines as the year before when there were no issues. The following year, they had three phone lines per finalist and the total number of votes was still less than Season 2. It was just one of those things.

But I can’t help and think about the results of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice and wonder about so many things. I can't wonder this much in 140 characters or less...

*I wonder why this picture shows that the vast majority of the non finalists are staring down in silent protest or anger when Arsenio Hall’s name was announced.

*I wonder why five have been bold enough to immediately come forward and say they were shocked and Clay was robbed.

*I wonder why another stated on a radio broadcast a few weeks ago that Clay should win unless the fix was in. Why even bring something like that up?

*I wonder why they never showed the post task boardroom where, according to contestant Adam Carolla's podcast of 5/21, Trump polled the contestants about who should win and every person said Clay. Even those on Arsenio's team.

*I wonder if the multibillion dollar deal reported by the LA Times that Magic Johnson signed for a new network with the parent company of NBC (same network as Apprentice) may have nudged the producers of this show in a certain direction. Not in a Quiz Show way mind you but more in a “radio payola is illegal” wink wink sort of way. And I’m still waiting for a journalist with balls to ask about it.

*I wonder the same as a few other bloggers/recappers as to why Lisa Lampanelli can claim she’s a good friend of Clay’s but can’t distinguish between a nightclub filled with her fans and a nationally televised broadcast in terms of what is appropriate material and what simply lacks class. I wonder why super project manager Arsenio allowed it at a charity event. (Not to mention there were children in the audience.) I doubt her disrespectful vulgarity was worth $10,000 to Clay’s family sitting there watching the broadcast last night.

*I wonder why NBC saw fit to air Lisa’s tasteless gay joke at Clay’s expense given that they had plenty of other footage. Poor GLSEN. You got some great exposure on this show for your efforts in anti gay bullying with the “what not to do” provided by celebrities .

*I wonder just how Arsenio's Hollywood Rolodex contains real friends when you figure he raised no money in the guidebook challenge and subtracting donations from his teammates (including $50,000 from Lampanelli and cash from the Andretti family) he raised less than $100,000 for the final task. 20 years in the business, eh? Clay's grassroots campaign raised over $300,000 in 24 hours.

*I wonder if Trump thinks nobody owns a calculator when he claims Arsenio was “hired” because he raised the most money when in fact, if you subtract the amount he won for being “hired”, not only did Clay raise more but so did Paul and Dee.

*I wonder if Trump realized how much he screwed Patricia Velasquez and her very important charity (Wayuu Taya Foundation), not just that one time but probably for a long time because she tapped into all her donors only to see her money go elsewhere. Patricia should have cried, Trump seems to hand over $10,000 for crocodile tears. Such a dignified, classy woman.

*I wonder if Trump realizes how bad his spin is when he says Arsenio won by 2 tasks to 1, conveniently leaving out the final task that Clay clearly won. Then it would be 2-1 for both of them and just like a final exam, the final task should have more weight. Not to mention Lisa won 2 tasks before the final and that didn’t seem to matter.

*I wonder what Eric, Ivanka and Don, Jr. would have said if asked for their true opinion outside of parental or corporate influence. I know marketing well enough to recognize true spin. What their dad is doing isn’t even good spin.

*I wonder if Clay’s truly impressive appearances on MSNBC, CNN and Face the Nation were too impressive.

*I wonder if Clay knew he had no chance. Part of me wishes he did know and just worked very hard because he knows no other way but to give his all.

*I wonder if Arsenio knows deep down that he coasted to a win he didn’t earn. I wonder if he looks at the picture at the top of this blog and knows that many others who played with him know it too. He seems so desperate for a comeback that he literally sold his soul to the devil in some rather gag worthy television moments.

*I wonder if it is too petty to say that I think Clay is easily funnier than Arsenio.

Look, I know this is just a reality show but there’s more at stake here than just a mirror ball trophy or an oppressive record deal. Patricia can’t finish a school for her project and $250,000 would help several hundred of Clay’s children. $250,000 is a rounding error for what Magic Johnson Foundation has earned in 20 years. But when it came to the finals, I think the charities were not even considered by those making the decision.

I love marketing. I’ve spent the last 15+ years of my career in marketing or business strategy roles. Every year I volunteer to mentor second year MBA students in their final marketing practicum projects. I guess you could say they are my apprentices. Ideally, I should love this show but I don’t like it when I feel duped or see bad marketing rewarded for the sake of good television (or something else entirely) in such a transparent way.

And I don’t like it when a person who claims to be a great businessman makes a decision based on bad business performance and then tries to excuse it in a way that insults my intelligence. If you only need third grade math to prove the spin wrong, that means the issue you’re spinning is too weak to stand on its own merit. It’s interesting that the last episode was called Transparency on the NBC site. Because I can see right through you, Trump.

Finally, I wonder if the members of Vy Higgensen’s Gospel for Teens choir (great job, guys) realized they were in the presence of vocal greatness last night during the performance of Lean on Me. If you watch them look at Clay for the last minute of this video, I think they did.

But before you watch, please donate to the National Inclusion Project at and look for information on the site describing their upcoming annual gala scheduled for October 20th in Washington, DC. I've never left a gala without crying at least once.

Photography by Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

, , ,, , Face the Nation, , , , Eric Trump,Patricia Valasquez,Vy Higgensen,Aubrey O'Day, Wayuu Taya,Donald Trump,National Inclusion Project


Jannet said...

Awesome Corabeth! You made me laugh multiple times and go "Hmmm"... well, countless. Bravo!

kacy64 said...

Well, I'm reading this last page and I've stopped laughing. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and knowledgeable insight. Several sources are coming up with the same interesting info, and not just for this show.

Maybe that's just how the game is played and we need to know that up front, or at least the players do. But of course it wouldn't be very exciting to watch that. So the best way, natch, is clean and straight. But I guess entertainment has never been that way.

Oh, I so agree with you on That Voice and the choir singers! Reminds me so much of his lovely Christmas play...

kacy64 said...

P.S. Just now read it - you mention that $250,000 would help "several hundred" of Clay's kids. At the last gala, he said $250 will send one kid to camp; so $250K would help 1,000 kids. That's a lot of kids.

Also, and even more important, Patricia's charity is not just to build the school, it is also a lunch program for the kids, and now they can't do enough lunches. (This from recappersdelight blogspot)

Anonymous said...

You put into words everything I was feeling. Thank You.

Jan said...

Very thought-provoking... definitely things that make you go "Hmmm". When all is said and done, Clay is the winner in class, dignity and managerial skills as well as all around talent.
Thank you for articulating the reasons for much of the discomfort that so many felt with the outcome of Celebrity Apprentice.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog -- love your "wonderings" since I have them too but not able to express them so well. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I wonder as well. Was last night unjust? Hell yeah! Clay Aiken is a great artist and a great man in my eyes. I hope to god he resurfaces on my tv again one day very soon.

Sarita said...

This sums it up for me. I have especially been wondering (and hurting over) if Clay knew it didn't matter if the axe fell on his neck. Something tells me he didn't. I've never watched Celebrity Apprentice before. I wonder if previous seasons were such exercises in cruelty and nastiness.

Sandy said...

This blog is so insightful. Corabeth, thanks for bringing it all together in my mind. You are such an eloquent writer who can pull the truth into the written word. All of your points were swirling in my mind. I have thought of nothing else since Sunday night. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Outstanding Corabeth. No truer words!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I just still can't believe DT's decision. If only it had clicked on him the beneficiaries of the 250K, it was clear that he would have chosen Clay, in addition to Clay's earnings and holistic being. Isn't it more gut-wrenching to actually see a man work his ass of for the charity that he helped started? Still at awe.

Anonymous said...

The REAL bottom line about Arsenio winning is that he has CLOUT and a TV show, and Donald didn't want to be the butt of a lot of sarcastic, mean spirited comments by Arsenio, who demonstrated hateful conduct toward others. An ugly, awful person.

In effect, I believe that Donald was/is afraid of what Arsenio can do to him. Clay is expendable to Donald. The decision was NOT based upon truth and value, it was Donald's fear talking.

No one has ever said Trump was fair or just or even an honest person. He lies all the time about every facet of his life.

Clay is the winner anyway, because he has just proven to millions of people by example just how petty and despicable Trump truly is. Buh, Bye Trumpie, you "ain't got any validity" any more! hahahaha!

Lori said...

That pic makes want to cry....he is so humble! Thanks for saying everything I was silently thinking. I have nothing against's not his fault he won...but do wonder if he honestly thinks he deserved to win. Still so proud of Clay!

Merry said...

Beautifully said, and I couldn't agree more! Love Clay and appreciate his talent, intelligence, and class, but despise the way he was treated by the show. Well, really, what did I expect from the guy who tried to prove that the President wasn't born in the U.S. ?! Not much intelligence, and even less class.

Anonymous said...

It's not like I expect fair play and honesty from reality TV - but when it's this blatant, it's very hard to just accept the results and congratulate the winner. Thanks Corabeth for breaking it all down and shining a spotlight on this fiasco. The majority of your questions will never be answered, but at least they are out there.

katy said...

I tweeted your post last night, but saw a link again & thank you for your blog. I'm now fine with Clay not being CelebApprentice, one reason being that he won't have any obligations to Trump. I want him to get away, very far away from him. He taints everything Clay believes in & I can't stand to look or listen to him. No doubt Clay actually won, but Arsenio was the chosen one from the beginning.

Dianne Barbee said...

Very well said, corabeth! Your blog points sum up what Clay Aiken fans, longtime and new, are expressing all over the Net and around water coolers everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Donald Trump took away Aubrey's title. He is now known as Mr. Transparacy.

Anonymous said...

Your wonderings are spot on. You've summed up how I was thinking and feeling very well. Thanks

Anonymous said...

No one says it better than you - your wonders are right on and I am soo honored to actually know you ! I wonder if you know how amazing you are - thanks for sharing - spilates

Anonymous said...

what a great response. it is so transparent to all that the fix was in. arsenio did not even deserve to be in the final, his "wins" were due to other's work, mostly clay. i guess our only response is to hit trump where it hurts namely money and ego. if he wanted us to believe arsenio won he should have edited the show better.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. I really thought Clay had it in the bag as I was watching the show. He was the clear winner to me from the start. I like Arsenio, but I was crushed when he was declared the winner. I love Clay, but personal feelings aside, he obviously did a much better job, not only in the last task but throughout the whole competition.

A little tidbit. My husband and I watched the ending when the winner was announced before watching the entire episode. We had to record the show because we weren't going to be home that evening and just caught the ending when we got home. After knowing that Clay had lost, we had to watch the whole show from the beginning. When we got to Lisa's vulgar performance, my husband made the comment "Is that why Clay lost?". Then I had to point out to him that she's on Arsenio team, he was just disgusted. That is another clear indication why Arsenio should've lost.