The comedian and the crooner – Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken – squared off for the title of Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night, seeking to be Donald Trump’s latest favored protégé.
The task at hand was to create a celebrity variety show and a 30-second public-service announcement for their respective charities.
In a close race, Hall, 56, ended up winning after producing a comedy show with his team of Adam Corolla, Lisa Lampanelli, Paul Teutel Sr. and Teresa Giudice. Aiken, 33, chose a carnival theme with his team of Penn Jillette, Debbie Gibson, Dee Snider and Aubrey O’Day.
Aiken raised more money for his charity in the final task ($301,500 to $167,100), but Hall raised more in total earlier in the season ($105,000 to $60,000). Hall also won twice as project manager, and Aiken won only once. Yet Hall was also sent to the boardroom more often.
Trump welcomed back most of the 16 fired cast members for the finale, and they got to weigh in on how they felt about the season.
In the end, Hall and Aiken took the stage to sing a duet of “Lean on Me.” Of the final decision, Trump said he had “never been so torn.”
But he chose Hall, dooming Aiken to yet another runner-up finish – having lost the American Idol crown to Ruben Studdard back in 2003.