Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

After a magical final challenge, Donald Trump picked a new Apprentice between Gibbons and Geraldo Rivera

February 16, 2015 10:15 PM

Well, Celebrity Apprentice fans, the final boardroom has come and gone, more than a million dollars was raised for charity, the words “toxic trick” were tossed around and Donald Trump pointed his finger guns at 15 different people before naming the latest Celebrity Apprentice.

Without further ado, the winner of Celebrity Apprentice season 7 is Leeza Gibbons!

Overall, Leeza had one major thing going for her that Geraldo Rivera didn’t: Her team didn’t despise her. I’ll just quote Lorenzo Lamas, who was directing Geraldo’s advertisement for Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter: “Geraldo’s like a cold wind – you kind of have to shelter yourself at first because it’s snappy.”

To his credit, Geraldo was a fierce competitor – one who lacked absolutely no self-confidence and even called himself “almost iconic” at one point while filming a commercial meant to promote Universal Orlando but that was really more of a testament to his brilliance and charisma as a journalist.

Though his charity Life’s WORC was absolutely worthy of the tremendous amount of money he raised ($725,000!), Geraldo consistently got in his own – and others’ – way throughout the season. In the final presentation, he couldn’t even get his teammates’ names or claims to fame right. (Ian Zierling? The Revenger? Really?)

In contrast, Leeza delivered a much more professional commercial as well as a powerful speech about Leeza’s Care Connection and her own mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She also managed to book Olivia Newton-John to perform “Magic.” (At this, Vivica A. Fox confessed she had developed a “woman crush” on Olivia and danced so enthusiastically to the song that the live audience burst into laughter.)

In the end, by Trump’s own designation, the final task “wasn’t even close”: Leeza crushed Geraldo on the fundraising, gathering $324,000 to his $146,000 (though her $464,000 total was markedly less than his full-season haul).

The live boardroom was pretty uneventful, but Leeza continued to win our hearts during a package about her charity when she joked through tears: “I really think Geraldo should just concede right now. Because, if he doesn’t, Ian [Ziering]‘s going to have a meltdown, and we don’t want that.” She did have a point.

For his part, Geraldo deemed his competitor safe as opposed to his spicy, “volcanic” style, but Leeza drew attention to her heart and integrity, and she got a solid dig at Geraldo when she reminded him she got him “out of a slump.” Oh, snap.

In the end, the right person won. Unless of course you think the terrorists were behind all of this.

Remaining Orders of Business

Melissa Rivers stopped by for a touching tribute to her late mother Joan. Stay strong, Mel.

• This had to have been the most low-budget final presentation of The Apprentice ever. Where have all the golf clubs goooooonnnnnne?

• Donald Trump royally botched Keshia Knight Pulliam‘s name, though – to his credit – he corrected the mistake publicly before cutting her off to introduce the reigning Miss Universe, Colombia’s Paulina Vega. (Never misses a single opportunity for self-promotion, that one.)

• When prompted by Trump, Ian called the women this season “vicious” – and he wasn’t entirely wrong, especially once Trump forced Vivica and Kenya to rehash the stolen phone imbroglio.

Tony Orlando, a friend of Geraldo for 40 years, managed to get Bumblebee from Transformers dancing when he sang the old standard “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” It wasn’t exactly dancing baby Groot, but it was still mighty charming.

Johnny Damon slicked back his hair, and it was handsome. Take that, wolf chic!

• As for the women’s style, Kate Gosselin appears to have taken a lifetime’s worth of style pointers from her brief stint on Dancing with the Stars, Kenya Moore ostensibly got her dress from a pediatric smock factory run by a lunatic and Brandi Glanville was actually wearing a mesh(-paneled) dress. Discuss.

• Also, based on her ensemble tonight, Ivanka Trump very well could be considering a second job as a matador. I would support that endeavor.

The Apprentice is coming back for another season, Trump informed viewers at the 11th hour. At the rate this season developed, I’ll see you folks again in a couple years!

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