The Farr Side: Hall, Aiken equally deserved ‘Apprentice’ nod

David T. Farr

If nice guys do finish last, it was fitting to see Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall sitting together in front of Donald Trump on the finale of “Celebrity Apprentice.”

I respected each other’s game play, particularly Aiken’s. But Hall ultimately was named “The Apprentice.”

This season’s cast was particularly good: There were likeable stars with equally great charities represented. I favored the guys’ team over the women mainly because the camaraderie was great. The women would just as soon rip each other’s hair out than give an inch.

The guys consisted of Michael Andretti, Adam Carolla, Lou Ferrigno, Penn Gillette, Dee Snider, George Takei, Paul Teutul, Aiken and Hall.

The women were Tia Carrere, Debbie Gibson, Teresa Guidice, Victoria Gotti, Lisa Lampanelli, Dayana Mendoza, Aubrey O’Day, Cheryl Tiegs and Patricia Velasquez.

I knew from the opener I despised Aubrey O’Day. She was awful in regards to just about every other person except Lisa Lampanelli.

O’Day tried to take credit for everything. I was floored at times by her behavior with fellow teammates and in direct camera interviews. It got old quickly when she tried to steal the spotlight, demeaning the credibility of the star or their career path, particularly Hall and Debbie Gibson.

One of the most memorable lines from O’Day came when she said to the camera that, “whether or not you bought a ticket, you were going to hear her sing.” She was dissing Gibson, who was asked to sing by her project manager for a potential car ad for Chevrolet.

The final four contestants, O’Day, Lampanelli, Hall, and Aiken were interviewed by last year’s winner John Rich and runner-up Marlee Matlin.

Neither Rich nor Matlin approved of Lampanelli’s strong and usually inappropriate antics that Trump fired her, but it was their opinions of O’Day that had me cheering on my couch.

That moment led to Aiken and Hall being named the final two. At that point I didn’t care which of them won. I was just thrilled it wasn’t Lampanelli or O’Day.

The final project was the best of the season. Each had to do a variety show starring themselves, plan the venue, and sell tickets to fill the venue seats. That could be done through soliciting friends to buy tickets for top dollar. Both did an exceptional job, but I was so impressed with Aiken that I thought he ought to win. He raised $301,000 for his charity (The National Inclusion Project) to Hall’s $167,000 for his charity (Magic Johnson AIDS Foundation).

Trump was equally impressed with both Aiken and Hall, but he chose Hall to win the additional grand prize.

Aiken’s runner-up status is nothing new. Nearly a decade ago, he finished second to Ruben Studdard on “American Idol.” Aiken got the last laugh, as his career took flight while Studdard could barely get off the ground.

This time, though, I believe it will be Hall who’ll see his star shine from this win. I look forward to seeing him return to what he does best: talk! I bet we see his return to late-night TV soon.

David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Mich., Journal correspondent. Email him at You can also find The Farr Side on Facebook.