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"Pepi, you're fired". Did I say that?

The fifth season of The Apprentice has now finished its run on TVB Pearl.  As usual, the final task was split over two shows (though thankfully this time the second part was only 90 minutes).   

First, though, there was week 13, in which Roxanne and Allie were both fired for their hopeless performance. 

The key to the task (designing uniforms for a hotel) was understanding the requirements and resisting the temptation to be too clever. Sean and Lee listened to the staff and came up with sensible, practical, designs. Allie & Roxanne clearly didn't listen, and came up with some ridiculous ideas. There was never any doubt about who would win (especially not if you had seen the trailer - thanks TVB), so the only issue was who would be fired.

Trump decided both of them should go, because they were so disloyal to each other.  True enough - they went in as friends but ended up screaming at each other, but I don't know what he expected them to do, given that they were fighting to win.  Regardless of what was said in the boardroom, Allie deserved to be fired (because she was the project manager), and Roxanne had contributed very little and so it would hardly have been fair for her to survive.      

Strangely, the same thing happened at the equivalent stage of series 4, when Ulla and Felisha were both fired and Randal and Rebecca became the final two.  That time, Trump went to the suite to tell them the good news, but this time Lee and Sean were summoned down to the boardroom to find out what was going on.  When they returned to the suite, all the fired contestants were waiting for them.  Call me cynical if you must, but unless they have all the contestants hidden away in cupboards in Trump Towers I think there must have been an interval of a day or two between the week 13 boardroom and everyone turning up in the suite.   

Yes, it was time to pick the teams for the final task.  For the first three series, a selection of contestants were delivered to the boardroom and the two finalists had to pick from the chosen few. It seemed to be a deliberate attempt to see how the finalists could cope with difficult employees - in the first series poor old Kwame had big problems with Omarosa, and in the third series Tana was less than delighted with her team.      

Things got easier in series four.  After Trump had left, Randal and Rebecca were shown having dinner and discussing who they would choose, and that was the end of it. This time, they took it a stage further, and Lee and Sean were able to talk to all the others contestants to decide who they wanted.  Presumanly this filled the gap left that had previously been occupied with the formal interviews for the final 3 or 4 contestants.  Has that been dropped?  Or did they have to be abandon it when Trump fired two people? 

Lee surprised no-one by picking Lenny as his right-hand man, and then allowed him to choose the rest of the team - Roxanne and Pepi. Bad choices. What about Allie or Bryce or Dan? Or anyone, really. Lenny was obviously chosen as one of the "characters" that the producers feel they need in the show, Pepi was fired in week 2, and Roxanne's speciality is doing as little as possible and then bitching about decisions other people have made. 

Sean admitted that he picked Tammy because he was besotted with her, but even so it was a better choice than any of Lee's. His other choices were Andrea and Tarek, both quite strong players, though personally I felt Tarek was lucky to survive as long as he did. 

Hey, no-one picked Brent. 

When they went back to see Trump to find out their assignments, he came out with the usual platitudes about two strong teams. However, after the contestants had left, Carolyn started giggling as she asked who was the big guy on Lee's team. Trump consulted his notes and discovered it was Pepi, but none of them remembered him, and Trump was obviously puzzled - "'Pepi, you're fired.' Did I say that?". 

To be continued...

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