Does the term “mocktail party” send shivers up your spine? Were you hoping against hope that at some point you would see Dee Snider do the limbo and Lou Ferrigno get frustrated while opening dozens of tiny paper umbrellas? Did you have “Aubrey wears both leopard print and fringe” in your personal Celebrity Apprentice bingo? Then, my friends, “Party Like a Mock-Star” was the episode for you.
It’s difficult to believe that in a room of a dozen celebrities in various stages of wash out, most claim not to be routine party goers. (Particularly Debbie Gibson. She seems like she crashes bachelorette karaoke parties on the reg.) And yet when Trump announces that the challenge this week is to throw a bash in honor of Crystal Light’s new faux cocktails, nary a celebrity owned up for the men’s team, leaving Clay Aiken to seize the reins. The women have partier-in-chief Aubrey O’Day at their disposal, who does indeed seem, as Clay described her, to be “grabbing on to that stripper pole” from birth. Aubrey’s been de facto leader for a few challenges, and she was particularly displeased with Tia’s management last week, so it’s about time for her to step up.
For me, the word “mocktail” will forever have cringe-inducing summer camp memories attached, but the celebrities go for the Crystal Light “Peach Bellini” and “Pomtini” flavors with gusto. Clay and Unanimous settle on a beach party theme, with the motto “Life’s A Beach” that I’m sure was culled directly from a pamphlet on Panama City. It’s an idea straight out of frat row, but it’s also a simple, fun one. The team dashes to fill its storefront with tiki torches, beach chairs, and so many matching Hawaiian shirts. Clay brings out the big guns and invites the Aiken super-fan Claymates to the party, who show up in leis and bikinis like a great American Idol spring break drone army. Penn juggles peaches. Kathie Lee and Hoda show up an compare the party to a bar mitzvah. And Clay sings a rendition of “Under the Boardwalk” with Arsenio Hall beatboxing. Obviously.
The men’s team has been on a serious winning streak, so the tension between Clay and Penn over mop-gate last week seems to have abated for the time being. It was one of the more smoothly run challenges we’ve seen for Unanimous, though I’m surprised that they ended up winning this one. Their party definitely had the “what on earth is that celebrity doing here” element, plus shirtless dudes, but the women’s party seemed to be more polished on the whole.
Not that Aubrey didn’t begin with one of her patented convoluted themes. The Pomtini flavor reminds her of the forbidden fruit, which leads to a “Garden of Eden” theme, which somehow turns into the tagline “stir your crystal desire.” I guess we can be grateful it wasn’t “Midnight in the Garden of Crystal Light.” For all her dramatic flourishes, Aubrey knows how to get the team to work together with a minimum of the cattiness that plagued its last challenge. (Of course, that cattiness was spearheaded by Aubrey, so I’m not sure how much that says.) She sets Dayana to take pictures of nature to hang on the walls, while Debbie records an “original Crystal Light pomtini remix” to be distributed to the guests as a party favor and presumably later used by the CIA to break informants. The event they throw looks like a slick art gallery opening, all martini glasses and white walls. It looks great, but Aubrey isn’t taking any chances. “If this goes belly up,” she mentions to the camera, “They’re going down in flames.” Ah, a true leader.
The flaw in the women’s party was slight. The executives from Crystal Light thought that Aubrey emphasized the Pomtini flavor over the Crystal Light brand and handed another win to Unanimous. Not before Trump had Clay pick his team apart in the most gracious way he could have mustered, though. “The stress of being fired is far less than the stress of saying something negative about people you like,” Clay assesses. I think Trump must take pride in his show being more anxiety-producing than having Simon Cowell bark at you for weeks on end.
After the announcement, Aubrey immediately breaks down into tears. This is apparently a good boardroom strategy, actually, since it led to Trump giving an impulse donation of $10,000 to her charity with the same sort of “eh, why not?” attitude you see in people eying the Snickers rack near the grocery store checkout. There weren’t any clearly weak players for the women this week, so it came down once again to Dayana, who contributed a great deal but is a bit meeker than the remaining women, Theresa excluded. Patricia designs the graphics that the executives took issue with, so Aubrey takes both women back with her. Dayana is generally a weaker player than Patricia, which is why Aubrey argues for her to be fired, but Trump zeroes in on Patricia’s role in the project floundering, and she gets the axe. Aubrey’s narrow escape means that she’s going to be more difficult to fire than ever. I’ve got my eye on her for the finale, which, god willing, will be against Clay Aiken.
- Trump on the women in the boardroom: “They fight like that and then hold hands like they love each other.” Yes, Donald. Welcome to middle school.
- I love that Dayana just has beauty pageant winners at her beck and call.
- Theresa was about to get Jersey on that carpet guy. You can see how she gets things done.