Another day, another Celebrity Apprentice challenge, as Mr Trump waxes lyrical about how pretty NYC is, accompanied by the obligatory sweeping shots of the skyline and Hudson River. This week's task? Crystal Light have launched a line of 'mocktails', and two suits named Melanie and Doug from the firm, accompanied by some jaunty incidental music, set out the task. There's $20,000 on offer for the winner from Donald, and Crystal Light are throwing in another $30,000.
The teams are told that they have to throw parties to launch one of the new drinks, and get to choose which one they want to promote. Aubrey O'Day - who brings up her experience as a member of Danity Kane for what seems like the umpteenth time - will be project manager for the ladies' team Forte, and they pick the Pomtini as their drink.
American Idol's Clay Aiken is project managing for the men of Unanimous. "Aubrey is a clubber, look at that hair... [she] popped right out of her momma's chatch and grabbed onto a stripper pole." Naughty Clay! More seriously, he thinks she is at a big advantage on this task. Unanimous choose to promote the peach bellini.
The Women - 'Garden of Crystal De-Light'
The girls are using the Pomtini drink and are contemplating a "forbidden fruit" theme. They come up with the early tagline "embrace your earthly desire". The Crystal Light duo come in and Aubrey says that their description of the brand as "sassy, vibrant and fun" has made her nervous. "I will say this - if you can't take on a challenge and make it what you want to be, how creative are you really?" she adds.
"I love throwing parties, I have parties all the time, everyone knows that about me... I have been told by my friends that I have exquisite taste and throw the best parties," Teresa Giudice from Real Housewives says modestly as she measures up the space for furniture and fittings. Debbie Gibson has been tasked with creating an original song, and Patricia Velásquez is given responsibility for branding and graphic design.
There's some tense incidental music as Lisa Lampanelli offers her proof-reading skills to Patricia - which are either declined or ignored, depending on one's perspective - and starts complaining about it to Aubrey in earshot of Patricia. The former Miss Venezuela accuses the duo of "micromanaging" the others in a piece to camera.
Donald Trump Jr comes to visit the girls, with Aubrey saying that he makes her nervous "because he's been doing this for years... and also I have a big crush on him". Oh my. She sets out her pitch, saying that they're putting photos of gardens up instead of bringing a forest into the space. She has sent Dayana Mendoza and Debbie off to the park to photograph cute birds and squirrels and interesting-looking plants.
Unimpressed, Don Jr pulls a bit of a face, then asks Aubrey where the fun is. She responds by explaining that she thinks it's something the group will have to maintain "creatively".
Teresa then drops a bombshell by admitting that she isn't keen on the theme. "We usually go with Aubrey and Lisa's idea right away, but we have lost a lot of tasks going with their ideas," she complains. "If you can think of something better, then I want you to do it," Aubrey responds - in a rather jolly manner, all things considered.
Lisa adds in a VT that there's no point in Teresa complaining if she can't suggest anything else. Are Forte about to start descending into back-stabbing anarchy like last week all over again?
Aubrey is very pleased with the pictures as she looks at them on her computer, and again, she admits to being "super-nervous". For someone who's so confident in her abilities, she seems nervous about an awful lot of stuff.
Turning to group dynamics, she admits: "It's a little difficult dealing with Patricia when you're in the task manager position, because she takes control and she doesn't really put her ideas through the project manager." Patricia, however, feels she should be trusted. Again, she criticises Aubrey and Lisa for forming a clique, which she thinks is "not fair".
The printing arrives, and Aubrey is anxious about the lack of Crystal Light posters and a delay to Teresa's carpet contact - who the reality star is then seen shouting at on the phone. Anyway, the carpet fitter shows up with 30 minutes to spare, and the pomegranate Popsicles are a bit mashed up - again, Teresa's responsibility.
"I think we did an amazing job, I don't know how we did it... but we covered up a lot of last-minute problems," says Aubrey, as a mass of people file in for the party. The event looks busy, and Dayana calls up her model buddies, who arrive just in time as the Crystal Light executives get a noisy welcome and a grand tour from Aubrey.
Melanie seems especially impressed by Debbie's original jingle. "If anyone can sing an annoying hook and drill it into everyone's head... it's Debbie Gibson," says Aubrey, which seems like a bit of a back-handed compliment. No, hold that thought! "But that's actually a good thing, because a good hook will stay in your head forever," she adds, backpedalling.
Aubrey also observes that this task is the first time that the group has genuinely worked well together and got along. "I'm used to girls wanting to stab me in the back when I do an amazing job," she adds modestly, hinting at potential fireworks in the boardroom again.
Men's Team - 'Beach Bellinis'
"Our team, if you look at us on the surface, you might think we're people who go to parties... but we're not. The idea of coming up with a theme for a party is daunting," says project manager Clay.
Crystal Light's Melanie goes to visit the boys and describes the firm's product as "a party in a pack". After she leaves, they float the idea of a beach party as their theme and get straight to work. Arsenio has seen that Penn is making an extra effort with Clay.
However, Clay reads it differently, saying he's pleased that Arsenio's taking Penn out shopping to go and get supplies and props as it means that they don't have to lock horns all day. Dee is given responsibility for signage and graphics, and the men start making calls to secure punters in one of those cheery mobile phone montages that The Celebrity Apprentice is so fond of.
Ivanka pops by for a visit. "There are two people on this team who drink," Clay admits when she makes the assumption that Unanimous must all be hardcore party animals, especially with someone like Dee on their team. Ivanka says that she thinks Unanimous believe this puts them at a massive disadvantage, but she disagrees, describing the team as "great entertainers".
In his shopping-related absence, Ivanka also presses the boys about Penn. Dee says that the magician "is awesome in small doses", but admits that "20 hours a day of being corrected by [him] is wearing on everybody!" The group are quick to point out that Penn does, however, bring "good values" to their team.
Paul Teutul Sr builds the bars, while Clay starts jamming with Arsenio, Dee and his "musical director", a rather earnest young man sitting at a large keyboard who is not seen again during the episode. Arsenio bigs up his project manager and former American Idol runner-up. "This is a guy who needs no effects, no production," he gushes, as the three sing 'Under the Boardwalk'.
As time presses on, we see an awful lot of camera shots featuring Clay standing around in a large coat pointing at people. "For the first time since we started this, I'm feeling a little stressed out. I'm hoping we can pull this thing off tomorrow!" he says. Come the day of the party, Clay is much calmer, and delighted with everything. Well, almost everything. He'd have liked bigger signs, but doesn't get too hot under the collar of his very large coat about it.
The boys' party is considerably thinner on the ground in terms of footfall than the girls at first. "A lot of us had called folks and worried that the people we had invited to our party would be fashionably late," Clay explains. Dynamic duo Arsenio and Penn are sent out onto the sidewalk to "bark a little", but that doesn't even seem to be working.
Their concerns are soon brushed under the carpet as a load of Clay's fans (cheerfully nicknamed 'Claymates') turn up. There's dancing, singing and general merriment, and Arsenio embraces the role of emcee with gusto.
"There were two guys there who I would categorise as freaks, because they limboed all the way down to, like, a foot above the ground," Clay says. What was that he said about not really being a party animal again? "We didn't have any of the amenities that women might think of, because we're cavemen, but we didn't fall short on the party, baby," Dee says.
"Oh my God, look at this, how funny is this?" says Doug from Crystal Light as he opens the door. Unanimous put on a little acapella singing show for the execs, and Doug even gets stuck in on 'Under the Boardwalk'.
"This party came together in two days with six guys who didn't throw parties. The executives wanted a party that was lively and fun and we gave them that in spades," Clay says confidently.
Donald reveals that the Crystal Light executives were impressed with both groups, particularly as they both took such wildly different approaches to the brief. They were impressed that Unanimous's event "felt like you were going to a beach party with a group of your friends", but also by the girls' "much more sophisticated New York City[-style] event". Doug was apparently impressed by Debbie's jingle, and Melanie could see a marketing executive's qualities in Aubrey's approach to the task.
Crystal Light had branding concerns about both offerings. They wanted to see more branding inside the venue from the men, feeling that their posters got lost in the sea of punters. (Yes, I know, sea, beach party, obvious pun, what of it?) They were content with the women's focus on flavours, but wanted more of a focus on the Crystal Light name, especially as other brands have similar 'Pomtini' drinks.
"Did you win?" Donald asks Aubrey. "Yes." "Why do you think so?" he says. "We were fantastic," she replies. Teresa thinks that Forte won because of their "unique" and "different" offering. "The team came together in a way that we never have before," says Patricia. "There were no weak players in the team."
"We might have to fire you!" Aubrey jokes to Donald Trump. Patricia says the team have realised that if they don't get along, they're not going to win tasks. Lisa is "99% sure" that Forte won, and the girls are all singing from the same hymn sheet. Speaking of singing, Donald Trump then invites Debbie to sing the jingle, and the men smirk as she stumbles over the middle.
"The test of a hit is after hearing it one time, you can remember the chorus," says Aubrey. "But Debbie can't remember it!" jokes Ivanka. Aubrey argues that they did a test run in front of the Crystal Light executives and an unsuspecting punter provided an almost perfect recall of the jingle.
"She's got some mouthpiece, hasn't she?" Donald says of Aubrey, to which Lisa agrees when pressed. "You may not want to marry me, but you'll want to hire me for business," Aubrey quips, promptly proving the point that Mr Trump was trying to make.
News just in - all of a sudden, Teresa likes the concept! What a remarkable turnaround from earlier in the show! Well, I never! She wouldn't fire Aubrey, and when put on the spot, she gangs up on Dayana Mendoza. Dayana says that if they lose, it's Aubrey's fault and admits that she's "never thrown a party in her life". Really, Dayana? Does anyone throw a party in New York these days?
Turning to Unanimous, they're, well, unanimous. (Yes, I went there again - it's just too tempting). Arsenio starts to talk about what a brilliant job Clay did before Donald goes off on a completely irrelevant aside about what a nice stripy tie he's wearing. It is a very nice-looking tie, to be fair.
Dee brings the discussion back on message, describing Clay as a great leader. Dee admits he had preconceptions about Clay's "soft-spoken" manner when the contestants first met, but has been impressed by his stint as project manager. "He's a great player, he's a great businessman, he was lifting 40lb bags of sand today." As the gents then tell the Trumps about their event like they're recounting a fifth birthday party to their parents, the camera keeps cutting back to the girls smiling benevolently.
Clay is then put on the spot to ask who to bring back. He laughs, and says it's a hard decision. "Everyone did an incredible job this week, everyone stepped up to the plate, everyone participated... but I think there are people who have a lot of versatility..." Donald loses patience and tells him to cut the chat. "If it was based only on this task it would be Dee and either Lou or Paul," he admits.
Aubrey says that everyone on her team "did such a fantastic job". She nominates Dayana, but describes her as "an amazing person". She picks Patricia as her second choice. "Do you not like Venezuela?" asks Donald. "Patricia was actually the most amazing and delicate and kind with me today and I loved her," Aubrey gushes.
The results are in, and it transpires that the execs loved the women's theme, the set dressing, the tagline and Lisa's interaction with the guests. "They thought it was a very polished party." However, they felt there wasn't a strong enough focus on brand messaging, to which Patricia says she feels that she cleared every piece of artwork with Aubrey.
Crystal Light found the men's party to be "very entertaining", Donald continues. "They loved the theme, the action, the party environment, the limbo." They liked the fact that there were two bars, but wanted to see more branding on the interior. Dee accepts responsibility for putting up the signage, but says it was done with Clay's supervision.
Donald then reveals that the executives have chosen the men as winners. Dee pumps the air and Dayana puts her hand to her mouth. Clay looks teary, and he has won $50,000 for his charity, the National Inclusion Project. "Not bad for guys who say they don't party, right?" quips Ivanka, and the girls look absolutely horrified at the thought that they didn't win.
Who gets fired?
"Aubrey's crying, for God's sake!" the men shout, with one piping up: "If she cries, her eyelashes are going to fall off!" They're breaking out the popcorn (metaphorically speaking, anyway) as they watch events in the boardroom unfold.
"I'm so sad for my charity and I think it was the wrong choice," Aubrey sobs, and after asking her about her cause, Donald makes a personal donation of $10,000 to Aubrey's chosen charity, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). "I know you don't like to lose and you feel very passionately about the charity," he says.
"I do not want to break up the energy of this team," Aubrey tells him, but she's not prepared to put her head on the block for the loss. She chooses to bring Dayana back, reluctantly. "It's just a matter of a bunch of really good people now, and people just have to go."
Teresa is surprised by the team's defeat. "We did pretty much everything together the entire time. I thought the party was great, we didn't miss a beat," she explains. Teresa doesn't feel they lost because of Aubrey, and would fire Dayana too. Patricia refuses to name anyone, saying: "I think in this task everyone was a team player."
"If you get fired tonight, you'll still love them?" Donald asks. Aubrey says she would. "But if you really love them, wouldn't you take the bullet as the project manager?" Nope. She's pretty darned clear on that. "I gave 150%." "But do you think you're better than the other members?" Maybe she's digging herself into a hole here? Mr Trump certainly seems to be hinting at that.
Ivanka presses Aubrey on the signage issues. Is Forte's new-found unity about to crack? Almost. She tries to be diplomatic about the whole thing, and it's clear that there are two different stories going on here. Debbie says that she would fire Patricia if it comes down to signage, but Aubrey if it comes down to direction.
Aubrey eventually confirms that she will bring Patricia and Dayana back to the boardroom, before the men are asked to turn off the TV. "Whatever happens, it will be okay," Patricia tells Dayana.
Aubrey is still bullish when Donald presses her as to why she doesn't think she should be fired. She picks Dayana, and thinks Patricia is the stronger player moving forward in spite of her big mistake on this task. The Trumps then ask Dayana if she feels defeated by being consistently back in the boardroom. She attributes a lot of Forte's creative vision week on week to Aubrey.
Patricia argues that the printing wasn't her mistake and there's a lot of talking over one another as Donald tries to work out whose fault it was. Aubrey then tries to bring Dayana into the argument and they start squabbling over what Aubrey sees as Dayana's lack of creativity.
"Look, the fact is that the executives loved the party but they didn't like the details," says Donald as all the whinging threatens to reach new levels of tiresome. "Unfortunately, the details were done by Patricia and it's a shame, as she's the most elegant woman, but Patricia, you're fired."
"I hate this game," Aubrey says as they walk to the lifts, sharing a group hug like none of the shouting ever happened.
"It amazes me that they can fight like that and then... they walk out like they love each other," Donald says. "It's pretty unusual," Ivanka adds.
"My advice to the remaining contestants is to always be honest," says Patricia. "Backstabbing, lying... for me, it's an example of what I don't want to do with my life." She adds that she is "nothing but thankful" for the opportunity to highlight her charity, the Wayuu Taya Foundation.
The show starts at 8/7c next week as Mr Trump mixes up the teams. We are promised two tasks in one episode, tears, shouting, and apparently someone WALKS OUT, in CAPITAL LETTERS! Oh my!
The Celebrity Apprentice airs on Sundays on NBC.