…not Clay Aiken.
Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump chose Arsenio Hall as the winner of the reality show, which does not come with an apprenticeship but only a stipend to the winner’s charity.
Aiken faced off against the former late-night talk show host in the final challenge, and raised nearly twice as much as Hall ($300,000+ versus $160,000+). The finale was mostly a love-fest, with Aiken and Hall touting the other graciously, and with more variety show than job interview for most of the episode. The majority of their fellow contestants seemed to endorse Aiken’s victory.
With this, the fifth “Celebrity” edition (and 12th overall cycle) in the series, Aiken became the first openly gay finalist on the series; Hall became only the second African-American winner on the series.
This season showed a quality that the conservative, anti-same-sex-marriage insufferable blowhard Trump has not been known for: gay-inclusiveness (at least until the final moment). In addition to Aiken, the cast also included queer-friendly comedienne Lisa Lampanelli (who made it almost to the end and helped out Aiken near the end), Aiken duetist Dee Snider and liberal-minded magician Penn Jillette and most significantly gay icon George Takei from Star Trek, who was dismissed in episode 3 earlier this season.
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