Star Jones, Dionne Warwick and Lisa Rinna By Collin Kelley

At the end of last week’s debut of the new Celebrity Apprentice, Atlanta’s own NeNe Leakes said her team would pick Lisa Rinna as the project manager so they could get rid of her. Last night, the ladies who make up team ASAP not only threw Rinna under the bus, but backed up and ran over her a couple of times. The drivers? Star Jones and Dionne Warwick.

Donald Trump’s challenge for the week was for each team to create a children’s book and then perform it on stage for some kids and celebrity judge Holly Robinson Peete and a publishing house representative. ASAP forced Rinna to become project manager and she caved under the pressure, knowing her future as a contestant was on the line. As NeNe put it: “We chose Lisa because we knew she couldn’t handle it, so we decided to pick her. To get her out. Now.”

Lisa’s lack of focus and inability to control the egos of Star and Dionne threw ASAP into chaos as they tried to find a theme for the book. They finally decided on Dionne’s concept, “Be Yourself,” but supermodel Niki Taylor said the concept was too broad and sophisticated for the targeted 4 and 5 year audience. Niki was ignored.

Star and Dionne steamrolled the concept through anyway, and Dionne had an ugly moment with Marlee Matlin over the idea of having a deaf character in the story. Dionne said kids “weren’t ready for the diversity of a deaf person,” which enraged Marlee. In a cutaway, NeNe said,  “It doesnt look right arguing with a 70 year old woman. No one really wants to say anything to Dionne, but Marlee had her hands going and was ready to fight.” NeNe offered this nugget of information while waggling her fingers around in a cruel approximation of the American Sign Language used by Marlee. Not cool and not funny,  NeNe.

The men’s team, Backbone, selected Meatloaf as its project manager and he immediately lost the plot. They decided to write their book using rapper Lil’ Jon as the main character, who teaches a lesson to kids about accepting people who come in all shapes and sizes. Meatloaf admitted he was doing a terrible job as project manager, especially when it came to prepping the stage performance.

Back over at the ladies’ war room, Star and Dionne’s ego-trip continued as they demanded their names be put on the cover the book since Dionne came up with the story and Star wrote it. It was a small, petty demand and Lisa finally had enough. Lisa said the book was a team project and the cover would give credit to ASAP and not individuals.

“I’m not going to be taken down by a bunch of bitches,” a fired up Lisa said in a cutaway. “They want to throw me under the bus.”

For the onstage performance of the books, both teams excelled (NeNe said she was best, but Jose Canseco dressed as a spinster teacher in a white beehive wig gets my vote), but in the end, Backbone was chosen as the winners. Meatloaf cried for the rest of the episode and made an enemy of Gary Busey, when The Donald pressed Meat to pick the weakest team member. Gary and his teeth may be crazy, but he won’t forget this slight.

Lisa, as expected, brought Dionne and Star to the boardroom for the firing ceremony. Star, in her best lawyer summation voice, said Lisa was formidable, had a big voice and attitude, but lacked organization. Dionne echoed those sentiments and both she and Star refused to take any blame for the team’s failure, despite the fact that they had conceived and wrote the losing book.

Lisa flailed around and dropped a few F-bombs to try and prove she was tough, but in the end, she was no match for Star and Dionne. The Donald sent Lisa and her lips back to Hollywood.

Celebrity Apprentice airs Sunday nights on NBC at 9 p.m.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

3 replies on “Celebrity Apprentice: The wheels on the bus go round and round”

  1. Dionne ought to be ashamed of herself. I used to think she had some level of dignity. She can forget about that. Now she’s nothing but a has been. As for Star. Still the loser she has always been. Since was has never been anything but a hack, nothing has changed. Can’t call her a has been because she has never been anything.

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