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Monday, April 27, 2009

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 2- Nely Galan's Episode 9 Blog

OMG! That was some of the best, and most uncomfortable television that I have ever seen. Where do I begin?

First of all: everybody is now acting crazy. Even the most normal among them (Jesse) is off his rocker. Clearly the sleep deprivation and hunger have them all at their breaking point.

The task at hand was a fun and creative one. When you are at home chilling out and watching the show, you think “NO SWEAT" figuring out a campaign for deodorant. However, when you are there in Trump’s boot camp, your brain just doesn't function properly.

Clint, once again, did a mediocre job. Surprisingly though, Jesse was the one that was out of line. He acted just as narcissistically as Clint, and maybe even worse. He was so obnoxious that I began to see the chinks in his "great guy" armor. Jesse definitely has ego issues too - he just tends to cover them up better than the others. I was actually happy to see Clint win - just to spite Jesse's behavior. Then when Clint won, Jesse wasn’t even gracious. I guess he's not such a mensch after all.

Jesse really missed the boat on something that Donald Trump taught me last year that I will never forget: "Don’t over deliver." He’s right. We all forget that oftentimes the clients that you are working for are not pioneering geniuses. They’re mainly employees caught up in the giant cogs of a corporation, which means that they are usually not great risk takers. And they don't need brilliance - they just need "good enough."

That was the case in this episode. Yes, KOTU's campaign was bad (Athena's was better conceptually, but wasn't executed as well) but KOTU's project was just "good enough" to win. Jesse needs to learn that lesson, too. The client is not an owner; they are a mid-level employee. Jesse should have chilled.

The girl's team displayed a very interesting dynamic: the "player," Annie, who is clearly only concerned with winning; Brande, who has wisely aligned herself with the winner; and Melissa, who is unbearably spoiled and entitled. (By the way, just for the record, I have heard that one-on-one Melissa is delightful, so who knows?) But in this game, I’ll have to say that I’m very glad that Trump finally had her fired.

Did you notice the note exchange between Trump and Cramer? I think Trump had a change of heart mid-boardroom and guess why? Money. Who would bring in the most money? He was right again.

But then how about that uncomfortable ending with Melissa storming out? And Joan insulting Brande and calling her a manipulated dumb blonde, and calling Annie a white trash poker player? And then running to Melissa's side saying that she's quitting the show! What a whole bag of crazy – you couldn’t have asked for anything more delicious. Beyond great TV! I replayed this scene several times in a row. Whew!!! I can't believe the whole exchange!

Okay, so here's my latest prediction - Joan will return. I know that sounds crazy, but in the end she's a consummate professional and isn’t a quitter. I believe/hope that she will come back to win, and leave her opponents in the dust. I’m savoring the possibility, and her competitors better not underestimate her. I have said it from the very beginning - I believe that Joan Rivers will take home the crown.

In a way, I can see why she and Melissa are so protective of each other. In Hollywood, you really can't trust anyone or anything - sometimes even your own family. The two of them have formed a life-long alliance and created a protective shield around each other. Trump has to respect that, as he is also very protective of his own children. I have to say, Ivanka shone again this week. She is one smart and poised cookie. The difference between her and other "kids of” is that she doesn't behave spoiled or entitled. Ivana did a good job with those kids.

I predict that Brande will be the next to go. Remember Carol Alt from last season? Often beauties are kept in the game for ratings (if they are good) but Brande doesn’t appear to be a true leader. Don’t get me wrong though – she is clearly very smart and not to be underestimated. However, I think it’s her time to be on the chopping block.

On a side note - I hated it when Brande compared her looks to Ivanka’s in order to make a point about her intelligence. It was “brown nosy” and discounted the other women in the room. They aren’t Playmates, but they are attractive, too. It's that beautiful girl entitlement/attitude that the rest of us can’t stand.

I believe that the “Final 4” will be Clint, the little engine that could; Jesse, the quiet force to be reckoned with (even though he is showing signs of cracking. If he’s to have a remote shot, he better pull his secret weapon, Sandra Bullock, out of his bag of tricks); Annie, the player; and Joan, whom I believe will win.

The one thing I have learned in life is to bet on experience and wisdom every time. It seems that these traits are no longer valued in our country; however, I believe that they make getting older all worthwhile.

Hasta next week,


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 2- Nely Galan's Episode 8 Blog

Last week, my friend, Jim, e-mailed me after reading my blog. He corrected me for picking Natalie Gulbis as the next one I wanted to be fired. He felt I didn't give her credit for her true cunning.

He said she had tried one of the greatest strategies in Apprentice history - calling the enemy of her opponent, Annie Duke, to try to raise money against her.

Jim, you were right! It was potentially a great strategy. Only, however, if it had worked. Not only did it not work, but she wasted all of her time putting all of her eggs in that basket versus going after her own money. As predicted Natalie went bye bye... Big lesson - great ideas are important but execution is where it counts. I have had a million great ideas and strategies in my life that I haven't always been able to execute. That is the difference sometimes between good and great!

Natalie is out and we now know that Annie Duke is extraordinary - no matter who likes her or not. The lady can execute. She's the Piers Morgan of this season. Did you see her auction and raise money? I was impressed - made me want to go take poker lessons from her and I don't even gamble. Did you see all those men just throwing money at her? She's obviously made them all a lot of money. Wow! Impressive!

But can we talk about the craziness of this episode? I have been worried every week about Joan Rivers' well being. My worry was that she would start cracking with the lack of food and sleep.

By now you all know I utterly respect Joan and expect her to win - but the comments about Annie being like Hitler were completely out of line and unbelievable. The whole exchange was offensive.

As a Latina - I know the power of words and am always careful of how I use them.

How would Joan have reacted if Annie had compared her to Hitler? It would have been in every newspaper and Annie's career would be marred. It is not fair that in a "politically correct" environment, there is a double standard. No one should be compared to Hitler - and certainly not in the context of a TV game.

I can really understand why Annie never wants to speak to Joan again.

Joan, please calm down. This is yours to win - but go get some sleep and let Melissa be her own person - she can do it!

Melissa and Joan have a symbiotic relationship that probably works in the context of their family but isn't pleasant to watch and must be a nightmare to work with...

Wasn't that exchange in the board room, with Melissa defending Joan and the "inside" comments about how they had gone to mutual friends of Joan and Donald for money but had been rejected, weird? This episode had a lot of uncomfortable, weird moments.

Piers Morgan's appearance was great I wish he was on with Trump all the time. I appreciate him even more this season. When I was there, I liked him at first but then I thought he was too cutthroat.

I was wrong - he is clear, direct, focused and while it is not my style, I almost wish it could be. Everything he says in this episode about Joan, Melissa, Clint and the Trumps was right on the money and exactly what I was feeling and thinking.

He's The Apprentice's Simon Cowell.

When he cornered Jesse James about why, if he was married to Sandra Bullock, could he not raise more money? It was a very uncomfortable moment but it was what I had been thinking all season. Great TV moment!

Piers - right on!!!! Can you tell he was a tabloid publisher in England? He goes for the jugular.

The second hour of the show where they had to create a recipe was predictable and in the end fair. Herschel Walker should have gone, under the circumstances (although it is hard to watch Clint Black stay over that sweet Herschel just because he took responsibility and became the project manager - again). Herschel is, as Joan would say, "a mensch."

Okay here's my prediction - next to go... either Clint Black or Brande Roderick. Brande appears weaker and is acting more like a "fair weather friend" as the season continues. Did you notice how in the second half of the show, she was now trashing Annie? However, I would actually rather Clint go next - it's long overdue.

One last thing I have been wanting to mention for weeks but especially in this episode; Ivanka Trump is exceptional. I really think she is the star of the family. She is poised, intelligent, beautiful and talented, but as demonstrated in this episode she has strong boundaries and knows how to speak her mind - respectfully. I was very impressed with her when I was on the show, and my respect has only grown with time. She is a good seed.

GREAT episode! The show only gets better.

Hasta next week,


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Monday, April 13, 2009

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 2- Nely Galan's Episode 7 Blog

It’s hard to write about this episode - I felt cheated! Once we got to the boardroom it was evident that Brian McKnight was sick of it all, and just wanted to leave the show. (He admitted he had gone home for two days and didn't want to return.) Trump then did what he had to do. It made me mad - why did I have to go through the whole episode only to have Brian throw in the towel?

Frankly, KOTU was the superior team from the beginning of this episode, although I predict Natalie is the next to go. Their task was well executed – period! It also incorporated the Trump CELEBRITY APPRENTICE Lesson 101 - "USE YOUR TEAM'S CELEBRITY STATUS".

Athena was off in the clouds with Brian McKnight calling it in, and ultimately suffering the consequences. Their execution of the task was just plain bad.

Here's what I got out of this episode - a foreshadowing of things to come. Joan is becoming so cranky due to the lack of food and sleep creeping in, Melissa feels betrayed by Annie and Brande (who previously never liked each other) and is coming unglued, and Annie (as predicted) is playing good poker.

In the second hour of this episode, Trump announced a second task that required fundraising. This is very difficult in the current economy, even for celebrities. Annie appears to be the frontrunner, but the women’s claws are out! Joan hates Annie, Melissa hates Annie and Brande, and Annie acting as though she likes them all... NOT! Annie is playing poker again – unlikable, but a winning strategy.

The episode ended with a cliffhanger. The task has not been executed yet, and Piers Morgan (last year's winner) comes back to help Trump. I guarantee you he will make hamburger meat out of the contestants. Piers doesn't have the need to be liked, so he will be refreshingly honest.
I can’t wait to see his “inside" report to Trump.

Too bad we had to endure Brian McKnight wasting our time to get to next week. But, it will be worth it.

Hasta next week,


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Monday, April 6, 2009

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE 2- Nely Galan's Episode 6 Blog

Okay, in this episode Donald Trump is up to his old tricks. If you are a faithful viewer of the show, you will see that he is usually fair, insightful and correct in his firings. This season his performance in the boardroom has been perfect. Perfect that is, until now. One thing that you get from spending time around him, is that he is also moody (and sometimes emotional) in his decisions. Sometimes people just rub him the wrong way. He can also hold grudges from one episode to another.

In my case he fired me in the Vera Wang episode, where I did nothing wrong, because he was still upset that Gene Simmons had spared me in a previous task (the Kodak ink and printer) where I should have gone. Trump practically forced Omarosa to bring me into the boardroom, where he and I exchanged a few heated words, and then I was sent packing.

In last night’s episode, both teams did a horrible job of the task at hand. The client hated both of the viral videos, and therefore no one won the task and it was decided that one person had to go from each team. Double firings are a Trump specialty!

Of the two teams, Athena did a much better job (of a poor job) and it was difficult to decide who to fire. Wow, poor T-Boz - Trump fired her for volunteering to come into the boardroom and support Melissa. This was a "call back" firing. He reminded T-Boz of Bradford (one of the contestants from a previous season) who had volunteered to come into the boardroom and whom he promptly fired. Trump despises quitters and sacrificial lambs. She must have felt horrible – you could just see it in her eyes.

On the other team there was no question that Clint Black should have gone. He was a dictator - not a leader, not a team player, and not very creative. However, Trump had it out for Khloe when he found out that she skipped a day in the previous episode to deal with her DUI issue, which no one had bothered to tell him about. He really let her have it and then fired her. Donald was way tougher on Khloe than he was on his former Miss USA’s fall from grace.

You have to understand what it is like when you are there and not eating or sleeping - you are totally sequestered and away from reality. At home you are watching a very edited version of all that transpires. When you are in the boardroom for literally 3 hours, and Trump is raking you over the coals, you find yourself reverting to child-like behavior where you will do anything to make the pain go away – you act out, you “tattletale” on your teammates, you often use poor judgment, and you end up feeling really bad! Then if you get fired, it’s as if you just got dropped from the coolest team at school. You feel like you let your coach (Trump) down and that you just wanted him to really like you. I know, it’s bizarre – and worthy of a psychology paper or two. We are all grown, successful people but for the weeks you are competing, it’s like you are living in the altered reality of "THE MATRIX". Once you are home and have eaten and slept, you start to come back to your senses. You stop taking the experience personally (Trump really does love all of the TV children that appear on his hit franchise) and realize that it was an incredible opportunity to learn about yourself amidst the rarified air of your peers.

Well, the dead weight is almost all gone and it’s going to get really juicy! I predict that Clint or Natalie will be the next to go. Round Two I’m betting on Melissa getting the pink slip. (I’m concerned how Joan will do if Melissa goes, even though they are on different teams now, and vice versa.) And Brian has got to go next.

The real fun begins when (hopefully) the remaining players are Joan, Annie, Brande, Herschel and Jesse.

Hasta next week,

P.S. I loved Perez Hilton's cameo. He made the show hipper and was a welcomed burst of fresh air, and needless to say - color! In all blue from head to toe, Perez is the new Small & Mighty.

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