Six candidates remain after Donald Trump decided to trim the fat when he fired Brian and Marshawn last week. The numbers are dwindling before our eyes. The other murmur from the boardroom was that Clay, even though he was the winning project manager for Capital Edge, he was unanimously voted against receiving an exemption.
Clay, Alla and Felisha hang out in the kitchen throwing out their opinions as to who will escape the boardroom execution. They see Randal and Rebecca return to the suite and immediately the two of them go and debrief. Rebecca says that it was a sobering boardroom. Randal says that he thought Brian would go but didn’t expect Marshawn to leave. Rebecca knows that they are now outnumbered and that they need to improve their team dynamics.
Felisha, Alla and Adam “confront” Clay in his bedroom. Alla tells Clay that he needs to put aside his personal feelings for the good of the team. Clay lounges on his bed with a blank stare and wrings his hands as he listens. Clay questions being able to get over the personal feelings that they have put on him. Adam objects to the way Clay said “ feelings that were put on him”. Clay flippantly remarks that he doesn’t like any of the things he has said about him. Alla feels that Clay is a roadblock and he will object to anything anyone else says just to object. Adam says that he is not giving anyone an exemption unless they really deserve it. Clay jumps up and briskly announces that “they are done!”
Clay is in the kitchen the next morning fixing breakfast and receives the morning call filled with instructions. Mr. Trump is at Trump Modeling Management meeting with Miss Universe and would like the candidates to meet him in 2 hours.
Donald, George and Carolyn are visiting with Miss Universe, Jennifer Hawkins from Australia. Donald asks her how she is doing and she says “just fine.” Donald introduces Carolyn and George to Jennifer and states that she has been one of the best. Hmmm, I wonder what that really means.
The candidates enter the large room and Donald puts up his hand to halt them and tells them to stop right where they are very abruptly. Then the foursome of Donald, George,Carolyn and Jennifer, as if cued, stride towards the team members in a horizontal straight line, looking very powerful and determined. Although I thought it looked slightly silly. They position themselves a great distance from the teams. I can only imagine that this tactic is to reinforce that the fact that they are not on at Donald’s side just yet. Donald greets the candidates and welcomes them to week 9 of the 13- week interview. He tells them that George is back and he introduces them to Miss Universe. He congratulates them on being the final six and informs them that there are no longer exemptions and now is the time to step up. Donald asks Clay if he is happy with his team. Clay says that he is not happy and he would love a change today. Donald asks Adam what he thinks about Clay wanting to switch teams. Adam says that he thinks this shows disloyalty to his team. Randal thinks that Clay is the most creative person left in the suite and he would be an asset to their team. Rebecca feels that Clay has been on winning teams and since they lost, she would love to have him on their team. Donald says that since he asked to switch teams he is going to allow it. Not the biggest gesture of good will as the teams did have to be evened out. But Clay is happy and quickly changes sides and when Randal extends his hand to shake, Clay says he will take a hug. Donald says that it is time to move on to this week’s task.
Donald states that the teams are standing in the offices of Trump Model Management. Trump Model Management is always on the lookout for new talent. Jennifer Hawkins, Miss Universe is going to be working with Trump Model Management. Today Trump wants the teams to look for new talent in a very sexy industry, the radio industry. XM satellite radio has a value of 9.5 billion dollars. There are 150 channels and millions of subscribers. With so many stations, XM radio is always looking for new musical talent to boost their brand.
The task this week is to audition a variety of unsigned musical artists. The teams will then choose the one that they believe has the most talent. The teams will then write an original song and handle all creative aspects of producing a record. The song will play live on one of XM’s premiere channels, XM Café. The team will have access to professional musicians and producers to help them. The team that does the best job of meeting the XM Café musical format as judged by the XM executives will win. The losing team will go you know where. I for one am very tired of all the candidates flashing plastic smiles each week as Donald gives the task. This is a great assignment but really it is wearing a bit thin.
Clay can’t wait for his new team to win so that he can put in the faces of Capital Edge and tell them “he told them so” and that it will “suck to be them”.
Donald feels that it is the great businessperson that can decide between creativity and practicality. If you can’t find a balance, it will not work in the business world.
Rebecca steps up to be the PM for Excel and she is excited because she has a passion for music and what better way than to produce a song. The team begins to audition the talent. Randal feels that the key to a win is to find a balance of the singer, the song and the genre that XM Café caters to. The XM Café channel is rock but it is a combination of different sounds and the lyrics.
The team is taken with a man named Jide because he is very diverse being from Nigeria and he is also very versatile musically. Rebecca feels that he will work for the XM listeners because they have sophisticated tastes.
Capital Edge is also auditioning singers as well. Felisha really wanted to be the PM because it had been a while since she had been one. She really wants to show her team that she is a strong leader. Felisha and the others fall in love at first sight with a soulful piano player named Levi. They see him not as a “one hit wonder” but one that will stand the test of time.
Jide meets again with Excel with Carolyn observing. Clay jumps right in and asks Jide about who he is and how is going to pull all of his life together into a song. He explains that as a kid he was always falling for a girl and they wouldn’t give him the time of day because of his weight. He also explains that he was a middle child and that he probably uses showmanship as a way to get the attention he craved as a child. Carolyn feels that Capital Edge is on the right track with Jide. She thinks that he is a very diverse person with being Nigerian but living in the United States, he has a story to tell but it is going to come down to will the listeners being interested in the song.
Clay tells Jide a wrap up of his life and asks him to sing the line “What about me?” Jide adds some vocal styling on the words “What about me?” Rebecca feels that the line is not very masculine and it seems like something a woman might utter and not a strong man. Clay completely disagrees. Randal offers the line “Here I am”. Clay thinks this line sounds like bragging. He just wants them to know that this line will ruin all the verses that he has already written. So there…nee ner nee ner!
Meanwhile, Capital Edge is gushing over Levi. Some of the professionals ask the team members if they have any idea what they want the song to be about. Adam says that he wants to learn more about Levi since they will be projecting his voice in the song. Levi says that who he is as an artist is much about his friendships. He feels that being an independent artist means scraping the bottom, sleeping on each other’s couches and floors. It gets intense and personal. Felisha feels that Levi’s story is about how he has nothing but that it really can be everything. The three team member start humming and strumming and are having a blast. George observes and tells the group that he used to run a hard rock station. He recalls that when he first began, his partner asked him what he thought about the music. George said that it was terrible. His partner than explained that this music sold a lot of advertising. George said that he loved hard rock. Pizza, guitars and voices ring out as Capital Edge puts the finishing touches on their song. Alla says that with Clay gone the team is really able to just get down to work and the atmosphere is much lighter. That is apparent.
Excel is on the recording studio and Jide is singing his bald head off. Rebecca says with relief, that they have gone for the chick lyric, “What about me?” to an Nigerian Seal meets Lenny Kravitz music and the whole concept is about Jide initially turning away from his Nigerian heritage but recently he has returned to his roots and is embracing his entire life. Clay continues to put his spin on the production end of the song since his lyrics are history. He encourages Jide to dig into his African roots to bring out more power in his singing.
Capital Edge is recording as well and Felisha feels that the band is playing the song in a jazz style. She fears that this in not the type of music that will sit well with the XM Café listeners. She makes a bold move and goes into the sound booth and explains that they are going to be heard on a pop rock station and the song is too jazzy. She feels that the song must appeal to a sophisticated listener and doesn’t want to go down the wrong road. Alla agreed with Felisha completely and liked how she got the producers to come up with a more acoustical sound. It is sounding great and Felisha really is taking charge.
Randal, Rebecca and Clay begin discussing the presentation. They all agree with Rebecca that it would be more powerful if the three of them are in the room first and then let Jide make an entrance. Rebecca begins to run through her introduction for Jide. She is giving a rundown of his life history. Midway through her introduction, Clay pretends to play a violin. This infuriates Rebecca, she would rather Clay give her an idea than to mock her. Clay feels that she is telling a story that does not go into the roots of the song and that it is boring. Rebecca now realizes that the Clay’s past history is repeating itself on Excel. He has consistently not gotten along with his project managers and his teammates. She definitely doesn’t think that she can work with Clay ever again.
It’s time to face the music. Levi and the members of Capital Edge meet the XM executive. Felisha tells the executives that she believes that they will feel the same passion and organic roots of Levi’s music as Capital Edge. Adam says that Levi had such an interesting story that it was easy to put ideas into the song. One of the executives asks Levi how he felt about the song. He says that the team put so much effort into the song that he was comfortable letting go and letting them take over and he feels that they nailed it. The XM team turns them over to an on air personality who will play the song and take calls. The song is played and everyone is grooving and I think Carolyn and George even enjoyed the song. The executives like that you can hear the story within the song. Calls come streaming in from listeners around the country and they are all very complimentary and even want to know where to buy the CD. Felisha is thrilled because she feels like this was her task and she put her heart into it.
It’s Excel’s turn to meet and greet the executives. Rebecca begins her introduction of Jide and before she can finish, Clay opens the door and lets Jide enter. This action completely disrupts Rebecca’s train of thought and it falls a bit flat as the executives rise to meet the talent. Rebecca says that working with Clay has been her Achilles heel the entire task and he consistently takes the team off course. Rebecca wraps up her introduction of Jide and concludes by saying the Jide’s adventurous life and music will breathe new life into XM Café. Randal describes a poster promoting Jide on XM Café but unfortunately the poster shows the wrong channel number and is immediately noticed by one of the executives.
Jide and the Excel team are on the radio now and they are jamming to the song. The executives are less than taken with the song and don’t think that the song would work on their station. The callers were mixed and more on the negative side. Only one person said that it picked up the beat and that was exactly what the XM Café people don’t want on their station. Rebecca thought that the sophisticated listeners on this station would appreciate someone as diverse and complicated as Jide but she may have been wrong.
Donald has been listening to XM Café while in his limo. His driver takes them to the XM offices. He meets with the executives and they say that both teams did a good job but there is a clear winner. Donald suggests calling the teams in for the decision.
The XM executives felt that Capital Edge did a great job with the record. They felt that they knew who Levi was right away and that it fit really well into the XM Café format. The executive were looking forward to hearing the song from Jide because he had an interesting story but felt that it was a bit muddled in the lyrics and that there was a disconnect with some of the listeners as to why this song would be on XM Café. The final nail in the coffin was that they printed a poster with the wrong channel number that was presented in front of all the executives.
Therefore the winner is Capital Edge.
To the victors go the spoils. Their reward is to take a helicopter ride with Donald and circle all the buildings that he owns. He reminds them that the winner will ultimately sit next to him and help him with some of these building and help keep New York City keep its fabulous skyline.
Donald, Felisha, Alla and Adam load into the chopper and Donald tells the pilot to circle all the area that Donald owns. Alla says the reward was good but with Donald being there, it made it great. He shows them Trump Palace, which used to be the tallest building on the East Side of Manhattan until he eclipsed it by building Trump World Tower. He then points out 40 Wall Street, which he bought for 1 million dollars and it is now worth 400 million dollars. It has a pure copper roof and the most beautiful roof he has ever seen. He takes them over the Empire State Building and shares that he recently just sold the land under the Empire State Building. They take in the sight of the Statue of Liberty outlined by the setting sun. It is an emotional moment for all but especially for Adam as he thinks about how his parents came to America without any money to make a new life for them. Donald tells Adam that if he makes a lot of money he can travel in style like he does.
Back at the suite, Randal is hanging out with Rebecca and says that this has been the toughest loss since he started this process. He feels that they were beaten by small details. He does take responsibility for the mistake on the poster. Rebecca feels that if she and Randal had worked without Clay that they might have fared better. She feels that Clay completely derailed the tasks. Randal and Rebecca keep commiserating but they can’t avoid the boardroom.
By now, you know the drill, the candidates march or hop in Rebecca’s case into the boardroom and Donald enters last. Donald asks who was responsible for writing the song. Rebecca said that they all wrote the song. Donald questions that they could all write the song. Randal says that it was a collaborative effort. Donald asks Clay if he was supposed to be the creative person on this task. He said that it started out that way but Rebecca did not like the concept that he came up with based on his interview with the artist. Rebecca said that she thought the concept was too weak for a strong Nigerian man. Donald asks why she put Clay in charge of creativity and maybe he should just fire her now. She said that she thought Clay had more creativity previously than he had on this task. Rebecca believes that Clay is more creative than Randal. Randal looks shocked. Donald asks Rebecca if Clay brought the team down because this had happened in the past. She says that during this task they did butt heads and she is not sure if this is where other project managers had their difficulties. Donald says that if nothing else Rebecca is always honest. Clay says he hopes that Mr. Trump can see the same about him. Donald says that he can see that Clay is difficult. He has taken two stars and reduced them to nothing. Clay hangs his head in shame. Carolyn wants to know how long Rebecca took to prepare the presentation. Rebecca recounts how she had wanted to tell the story of Jide and that during her run through that Clay had started playing the violin. Carolyn wants to know why they didn’t let Jide speak. Rebecca says that she wanted him to speak but Clay didn’t. Donald asks Clay if that isn’t a little stupid to not let the artist speak? He wants to know why he would put him off to the side and tell him not to speak. Clay feels that they were the ones that were selling him. Carolyn says that the best way to sell something is to let the product speak for themselves. Carolyn says that they put the wrong channel number on the poster. Randal takes the blame for this mistake. Trump asks Randal if that mistake isn’t worthy of a firing. Randal is taken aback and says that it was a big mistake but it wasn’t the reason that they lost the task. Rebecca is on a roll here, she says that in her eyes it was a huge mistake. Randal is again shock, is he being sold down the river? Donald says that he is surprised because Randal has been a star. Donald asks Rebecca if she thinks that Randal has lost his star power and her respect. She says that she thinks that during this task Randal lost some of the main points. Randal winces. Donald asks Randal what he thinks of that and he says that it is ridiculous. Carolyn asks Randal what he did on this task. Randal says that it was his idea to do a marketing poster and Donald is quick to point out the mistake. George jumps in and says that the reason they lost the task is not a mistake on a poster but that they didn’t listen to the consumer and give them alternative rock. Randal said that they took a risk. George says that you can’t change the format of the station without losing listeners.
Donald tells Clay that his problem is that he is very hard to work with and that he negatively affected these two people. Rebecca has been outstanding but this week she was not good in her leadership and her presentation. He is the most disappointed with Randal being a Rhodes Scholar and being brilliant. He is too good to put out a performance like he did this week. He does not think that anyone of them did a good job. But in business, you must look at history. He turns his attention to Clay. Donald says that Rebecca stated that Clay was hard to work with and that the other team shared the same opinion. Capital Edge was so glad to have Clay off their team. Clay is supposed to be the creative one but all he does is create problems. Donald says, “Clay!” Then with a slap of his hand on the table, “You’re Fired!” Rebecca nods her head and looks down. Randal just stares. Clay is speechless and can only mutter a hasty “thank you”.
Excel leaves the boardroom. Clay is miffed. He tells Rebecca that she changed on him and that she said things that she didn’t have to say. He hugs Randal. Randal pulls the luggage as Rebecca hops into the elevator leaving Clay behind.
Carolyn says that this was a tough boardroom. Donald agrees that it was not easy but you must rely on the past.
Clay sits in his cab and spouts off. He says that he feels sorry for Randal and Rebecca because neither of them have a creative bone in their bodies. He also feels sorry for Capital Edge because now that he is gone, Alla will not have anyone to pick on, so look out Felisha and Adam.
Oh, and Clay, it must suck to be you.
Take a seat on the couch or lie down as you digest your turkey and watch back to back episodes of the Apprentice as we whittle our way down to the final four. Watch for sabotage and Shania Twain.
Is anyone out there? Mail… I need mail… what are your predictions? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.