It was the showdown between the Washed Up Talk Show Host vs. the Reality-to-Stage Star. Which would be awarded the title of Loser-Turned-to-Reality-Show-Winner? Since it was between Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken, we knew it would be a first: either the first black or the first openly gay winner of Celebrity Apprentice. Only Donald Trump could determine the final outcome.
Sunday's final task was to produce and sell tickets to a variety show for charity. Hall, 56, netted $167,100 for the Magic Johnson Foundation courtesy of donations from celeb pals including Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Jimmy Kimmel. And Aiken, 33, raised $301,500 for The National Inclusion Project thanks to Kelly Clarkson, Lisa Lampanelli, and (of course) his rabid Claymate fans.
“I hope I’ll win,” Aiken, who shot to stardom as a contestant and first runner up on American Idol almost 10 years ago, told Michelangelo Signorile before the finale. “We have different styles. [Arsenio Hall is] a little more laid back. I’m a little more hands-on. I think the effects of my efforts were superior. I think we’ll see on Sunday when Mr. Trump makes his decision.”
But as Hall said on Sunday's show: "I want to be No. 1. We've heard about Idol many times, but when I was battling Johnny Carson [in the TV ratings] I was No. 2, when I entered a magic contest as a kid I was No. 2. I need to be No. 1!" Oh poor, Arsenio, how the mighty have fallen.
Well, as you may have learned by now, it was Hall who took home the crown as well as an additional $250,000 for the charity.
As Dalton Ross points out at EW: "While Clay’s carnival-themed party appeared to be superior to Arsenio’s more straightforward soiree, Arsenio scored major points for his PSA ad, which in grand Celebrity Apprentice fashion included lots of ridiculous wigs and costumes — as well as a cameo by Magic Johnson himself. In the end, that was enough for Trump to declare the former talk show host the victor, no doubt setting off canine celebrations in dog pounds from coast to coast."
What do you think about the verdict? And does it really matter either way? But we do appreciate Arsenio Hall's unintentional gay reference after he praised his "lil' brother Clay" for providing him with fierce competition -- and friendship -- throughout the series. "Tonight we are both truly winners!" Hall said after the show. "Reality's Batman and Robin! I will always treasure that friendship."
Yes, indeed, Arsenio: You and Clay are JUST like Batman and Robin...