Perhaps surprisingly, the two calmest of this season’s contestants – Marlee Matlin and John Rich – ended up making it to the finale of Celebrity Apprentice, which will air on NBC Sunday night.
Unlike others who went before them, the Oscar-winning Matlin, 45, and country music’s Rich, 37, never locked horns with others, as did Meat Loaf with Gary Busey, and Star Jones with NeNe Leakes.
Not that there isn’t some sense of rivalry between the two finalists. “We are friends but we are still competing,” Rich tells PEOPLE. “We still have to go before [judge Donald]Trump and America. I want the quarter million [dollars for charity], and I want it bad.”
Says Matlin: “I feel good that I’m working and up against John, because I know his heart is in the game and he’s here for his charity. We re not just here for the face time.”
As for dealing with the mad antics that went down this season on the reality show, Matlin said, “When people would start going crazy and fighting, I actually used my deafness to my advantage. I would just turn away and not listen to any of it. I don’t want to know. All I wanted to do was stay focused.”
Revealed Rich: “The only thing that ever got me was when Richard Hatch and Jose Canseco said my fans were backwards I had to set them straight on that, but I tried to never lose my cool.
• Reporting by CHARLOTTE TRIGGS