I do sometimes wonder if Lord Sugar realises how much he’s actually asking the candidates on The Apprentice to actually do on a weekly basis. For example this week he tasked them with not only selling a children’s book but writing it as well not to mention providing an audio book to accompany it. Despite this monumental effort both teams produced something decent with Charlene’s team beating Sam’s team thanks to a last minute sale from the aforementioned team captain.
Once again I rank the candidates in order of who I think provided the most active contributions to the task, who just kept their ahead above water and who should have been out the door during this week’s show.
1. (2) Joseph
Although his bee story wasn’t exactly the most innovative creation ever it was clear this week that people listen to Joseph’s ideas and respect him. Despite the basic nature of the book it’s still impressive that the team were able to create the product in just a day and I feel a lot of credit for this lies at the feet of Joseph.
2. (1) David
After being front and centre last week, David took somewhat of a back seat during this task however he was seemingly the closest ally of Project Manager Charlene. David’s role seems to be that of the reliable team member who isn’t one for bitching and backstabbing and instead works to win the task rather than put himself over.
3. (3) Richard
Whatever you may think of him, Richard still hasn’t lost a task and it’s no coincidence that he’s been in every winning team so far. He does lose points this week for sulking when he got put in charge of the product research sub-team but he redeemed himself for producing a positive results as far as his areas of the task were concerned. It was also quite clear that Charlene should have listened to him more and certainly let him pitch to the big retailers during the second day of the task.
4. (7) Mergim
I’d never thought in week one that Mergim would have been this far up in the charts however a task aimed at three to five years old seemed to suit him perfectly. This was the first week that I saw any sort of creative spark in him when he decided to sell three copies of his team’s book to the owner of a family-friendly cafe. Whilst I still don’t think Mergim has a hope in hell of winning the thing he’s constantly entertaining to watch and with Ruth gone he’s certainly the candidate who provides the most laughs.
5. (5) Charlene
I was torn over where to place Charlene in this list as she was the winning Project Manager but at the same time her win was presented as an utter fluke. I did think that Charlene worried about the wrong things, such as keeping Richard in line, rather than the creative process. She also doesn’t seem to have a strong perception about things and wrongly decided to put herself in to pitch to the big retailers. But at the end of the day her sale of books to the Rainforest Cafe did win the task for her team so I didn’t feel that I could place her any lower in the chart than this.
6. (6) Vana
Since she’s been on the winning team, Vana hasn’t actually had much to do and this week her only time to shine was when she questioned Charlene’s decision to lead the big pitches. Although I do like Vana she’s a bit too diplomatic and I do feel that if she’d stepped in and suggested that Richard lead the pitch then Charlene may have actually listened to her.
7. (4) Scott
Even though he was on the losing team I felt Scott once again showed he was a passionate member of the team and was able throw himself into every scenario. He also seemed to be the only member of his team to try and hurry Sam through his many rambling monologues about where their team’s story could go.
8. (8) April
April did speak more than a few words this week but she still hasn’t been featured strongly since her project managing fiasco in the opening task. I have to say though that she had the burn of the week when she informed Charlene about her degree in creative writing.
9. (9) Sam
Sam finally got his chance to shine by being Project Manager in a task that suited his wordy nature. Unfortunately Sam fell foul of the curse of The Apprentice in which a task that ideally suits your skill set ultimately proves to be your downfall. I was really surprised that Sam didn’t follow Natalie out of the door in this week’s episode however Lord Sugar obviously saw something he liked in the tutor. Despite failing the task Sam did show some strong qualities most notably the way he wore his heart on his sleeve and the fact that his team’s story was much more appropriate for the target market than that bee malarkey. What I found most admirable about Sam was the way in which he apologised to his team in the Bridge Cafe something that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in all my years of watching The Apprentice.
10. (13) Elle
We are now five weeks into The Apprentice and Elle is the only candidate who is yet to win one single task. However I did see flashes of creativity in Elle tonight as she actually contributed solid elements to her team’s story and was able to help Sam in some actual words down on the page.
11. (11) Gary
Mr. Invisible continues to survive the process by doing absolutely nothing with his only highlight this week being his failure to pronounce certain words due to his brummie accent.
12. (10) Brett
Not one candidate has gone up and down this list so much as Brett who this week got rather nasty in the boardroom. Brett didn’t really look like he was comfortable during most of the task and often got snappy with Sam without providing any sort of constructive criticism. However it was his treatment of Natalie that I found rather underhanded and I personally don’t like the way he conducts himself when he gets brought back into the boardroom.
13. (14) Selina
Even though Brett’s attitude stunk this week I do feel that Selina has completely checked out of the show and once again slept her way through most of the task. The fact that she sold a lot less books to one of the big retailers showed a lack of focus and I do think that that was reason enough for Sam to bring her back into the firing line. However I don’t think Selina is long for The Apprentice and the fact that she’s already speaking out about her time on the show suggests to me that her exit isn’t exactly amicable.
I’m not surprised that Natalie has been fired as she has been lurking at the bottom of this list now for some time. While I think it was a bit harsh that she got the boot in a week in which she was ill I didn’t think she’d displayed any impressive attributes which suggested to Lord Sugar that she would be a suitable business partner.
Karren Brady wasn’t exactly portrayed in a good light this week as apparently Natalie found her presence to be rather off-putting. However I do think Brady has been the star of the boardroom team so far this series and is making up for the absence of Nick Hewer.
I’m also warming to Claude a little more and the facial expressions he pulled during some of the early creative meetings were particularly priceless.
I have to say that I’m already getting tired of the extended boardroom sequences and I know they’re only going to get longer as the candidate pool is thinned down.
Is it me or are the treats this series getting a bit rubbish? For example Lord Sugar couldn’t even afford to hire a magician that anybody had actually heard of to entertain the teams. Would Paul Daniels have been that expensive?
Next Week: The candidates go back to basics as they set up handyman businesses but who’ll excel in the odd job trade and who’ll find themselves out of a job?
I’ll be back next week for another critique of the candidates but until then please follow me on Twitter @mattstvbites