By Todd Peterson
Updated April 02, 2004 01:00 PM

Mistaking “The Apprentice” competitor Troy McClain’s lack of college education and winsome way as signs of weakness proved fatal for some contestants through the game, but on Thursday the boy from Idaho’s luck ran out as Protege failed and Troy was fired.

Only five contestants remained in the competition, with Troy, Kwame and Bill comprising team Protege and Nick and Amy — whose once-hot relationship had suddenly cooled off — making up the remaining Versacorp members.

The two teams’ task was quickly presented: rent out the 90th floor, 55,000-square-foot penthouse of Trump Towers for one evening, with bids beginning at $20,000 for the night. The team to secure the most money for a one-night rental wins an afternoon trip to (cue up another shameless Trump plug) The Donald’s plush Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., ferried there on his private plane. Just the perfect thing, Trump intones, for a couple like Nick and Amy.

At first it seems Nick and Amy have the upper hand. As team Protege tries to sell the space through meetings and calls, Versacorp actually brings clients to the space to witness the stunning views through floor-to-ceiling windows that encompass all of Manhattan, Central Park, the Hudson and East rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean.

But Amy quickly expresses her dismay at the way in which Nick tries to sell the property to prospective renters. Nick tells her, “That’s the way it’s done.”

It wasn’t the only place that Amy wasn’t getting any respect. In a story in Friday’s New York Post, former teammate Katrina Campins, who was fired last week, accused Amy of sleeping with two of her male competitors during an interview with a New York radio station. Amy quickly denied the charge, and sources close to the show seemed to back up her statement when they said that if she had slept with anyone it would have been revealed on the air. NBC had no comment.

Regardless, Nick’s strategy seems to backfire, as the day’s work draws to a close and Protege is in the enviable position of having two bidders on the hook while Nick and Amy sit slumped in the lobby waiting for something — anything — to happen.

Troy and the Protege team eventually rent the space for $35,001, and Bill suggests it’s “time to gas up the jet.” But a last-minute bid for Versacorp puts them at $40,800 — and in the winner’s circle.

As the three men in Protege gather for a last supper of sorts, Nick and Amy prepare for their daytrip to Mar-a-Lago. Onboard Donald’s plane, they are joined by Nick’s father and Amy’s sister, who spend the day with them in Florida.

Back in the boardroom, Troy surprises Trump by selecting Kwame to join him at the table. The two, who developed a fast friendship through the series, joke while Trump confers with his advisers. “I’ll cut you quick and fast,” Troy tells Kwame.

But it’s the developer from Idaho who is left bleeding when Trump decries his lack of education and occasionally “loose cannon” personality, and says, “Troy, you’re fired.”