The Apprentice Final Five Review

Over the past 10 weeks, we’ve seen the candidates cope with selling meatballs to a squirrel, unleash the strange creation that is Groove Train, not being able to sell sauces that are spelt correctly, Duane’s super-punching in a suit, plenty of arguing and mulling about and Adam searching a skip for things to sell. With the semi-final fast approaching, here is a review of the remaining candidates and who is best placed to win?

JADE

For the first few weeks, she went about quietly working well in the background – her design for the babywear in week one was praised. When it came to her time to step up as PM, she mismanaged things, argued with everyone, didn’t listen to anyone and had no coherent plan in place. Last week, she put herself forward as PM again and rectified her past mistakes – she judged the task perfectly and planned well to identify the companies that were suited to her client, as well as negotiating some fantastic deals, such as the discount at The Sanctuary. However, her manner in dealing with others and not listening to her team members is a problem that could cost her. She should make it to the final 4 providing that she has no major disasters this Wednesday. Plus it will be interesting to hear about her plan that will create a whole group of multi-million making companies that she promised…

 

NICK

Nick seems to be a bit of a lucky charmfor the team that he is on, having notched up the most victories so far. Is this due to lucky coincidence or Nick’s talent? I think it is a bit of both. On some occasions he has performed well, such as his stints as PM, where he has shown good leadership skills, can implement a well thought out strategy strongly and possesses the ability to stick to his convictions when challenged. He gets on well with others and seems to have a good head for numbers and business. On other occasions, he doesn’t engage with the task and it appears like he doesn’t put his greatest effort into contributing to the task, such as the exercise class task, where his contribution was zero. He should made make it to the final four, and seeing as he is lucky Nick, he could win.

 

TOM     

Having slowly emerged as the favourite mid series, notching up an impressive stint as PM during the recycling task in which his risky strategy paid off, as well as often talking the most sense and having a strong hand on business matters. Yet since the art task, he has taken a huge step backwards. He started off the art task well, but together with the wine task, his role was awful. He lost sight of the meaning of the tasks and was so focused on his “expert knowledge” that he forgot about the planning, strategy and the end goal of the tasks. Since then, his contribution has been little and he hasn’t been done anything worthy at all. Last week, he didn’t demonstrate good business sense and it seems like he didn’t try at all to secure good deals. Instead he only got a deal on candles…and that was rejected by Keynoir! His actions in the last few weeks belie his credibility as a business partner and I think he is likely to leave this week. If he does make the final, I can’t see him winning.

 

ADAM  

He made himself known as a stupid, sexist and arrogant man with little business talent. Not he is a stupid, comical and arrogant man with little business talent but good at sales. Somehow he has gone from being totally awful and useless to less awful and useless over the course of the show. That being said, he is still awful and useless, never having demonstrated anything that indicates that he will be a good business partner. He is probably likely to go this week, but I still can’t believe he has made it this far though…

 

 

RICKY

Having backed him at the start of the series on account of his name and background, Ricky was touted as the joke candidate, especially as he continued to churn out soundbites such as being a shark of the boardroom and being the “alpha male, the manliest of males”. However, he has proven himself to be a credible candidate: he is good at sales, at ideas, at negotiation and working with others. He was good at being PM despite losing both times but I would attribute this to the weakness of his team members and the insanity of Virgin gyms. He is a well rounder candidate but is prone to making mistakes, although he is capable of pulling off the biggest successes too – last week is evidence of that. I think that he will make it to the final and is a good bet to win.

 

Of course, all of this doesn’t matter as the tasks don’t always show who is the winner. It is all based on the business plan and background, which is why Tom won last year, despite being completely useless in the tasks, and why Helen, possibly the best candidate of the whole series, failed to win, even when trying to propose a second business plan in the last moments of the final (which was bending the rules…although Lord Sugar didn’t pick Tom for his chair plan, which makes the interview stages a bit pointless). So really, the review doesn’t really count for much at all, but in case anyone was interested in my views, hope you enjoyed reading this post!

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 10

Ricky Martin ventures down the stairs at 6am to answer the phone, where he learns that the candidates are going to the City. After last week, Stephen cries, “I am so motivated! I can’t wait!” whilst Ricky Martin stands there drinking orange juice. Stephen blabs on more about how enthusiastic he is about the task: “I was standing on the edge of the cliff with one foot over…This task, I’ll give it 110%!”

The task is to negotiate discounts with companies and present deals to a daily deal website. Deals that are accepted will be live on the website for 24 hours and whichever team makes the most money wins. The daily deal website in question is Keynoir, which is aimed at the higher end of the market.

Jade nominates herself as PM, citing her background in online marketing as the reason why she is the best person to lead the team. For Stephen, being PM means that it is a do-or-die situation. He tells Sterling that he wants as many deals as they can get. He sends Ricky Martin on his own and partners himself with Gabrielle, whom he feels is a weak team member. I’m not sure if Stephen has got the strategy right – it could be a case of quantity over quality, which is missing the point of Keynoir’s focus on luxury deals.

Jade is taking the tack of “quality over quantity” and Phoenix discuss restaurants (Tom, ever the expert, witters on about a restaurant that he knows looooooots about) and teeth whitening. Nick has concerns that these aren’t exclusive enough for Keynoir. At which point, Stephen and Gabrielle are visiting a dentist to enquire about a deal on teeth whitening, which they manage score 2 deals on at a reasonable discount.

Meanwhile, Ricky Martin is running late and not feeling confident that he can pull  off a deal. Gabrielle decides to take the time to tell him the basics of sales and negotiation, to which a stressed Ricky Martin responds, “I know what I’m doing, don’t teach me to suck eggs!”. The man in the hotel restaurant wants to give Ricky Martin a tour with all the works – lovely views, good quality flooring, etc. With a free scallop dish – whoever said that negotiating deals didn’t have its perks. Yet despite this waRicky Martin welcome, Ricky Martin is nervous about time. The hotel guy then says “I want to show you something that I have never shown before…” – another reason for Ricky Martin to be nervous.

After spending a little longer in the room organising things, Phoenix head off to do some deals. First stop for Jade and Nick is The Sanctuary, a well respected spa. Nick knows that it is an important deal and declares that he wants to do the pitch but Jade is adamant that she will do it herself. First thing that Jade states is that she wants a discount. The Sanctuary woman says that they don’t give big discounts and Jade’s 50% is turned down immediately. Not a good start…

The Hotel Guy seems to have taken a shine to Ricky Martin, showing him the most fantastic views and wining and dining him. Yet when it comes down to business, he is unwilling to give any kind of discount, not even £1. Damn. Maybe he didn’t like Ricky Martin that much after all. Ricky Martin declares that this has been a “waste of time” and is irritated – you can tell as his left eyebrow appears in a fixed arch. And it stays like that for some time.

Despite the poor start, Jade has managed to acquire a 50% discount from The Sanctuary after lots of flattery and promises, which is a brilliant deal.

At a luxury boutique hotel somewhere in London, Tom and Adam are having dinner. Tom tries to get a discount but fails miserably (although you could argue that he didn’t try very hard). Adam manages to score free tea and coffee with every meal. Success! Brilliant choreography there that should ensure a position as Lord Sugar’s business partner.

Ricky Martin is out and about in Tring and unsuccessful in making deals. He is wary of the vast amount of travelling that he will have to do. Stephen ponders and then tells Ricky Martin to make new appointments to avoid the extensive trip.

Phoenix are figuring out who to call next. Jade gets rejected by a Thai Massage and Steam place, so she retorts that is it a “whorehouse”. Classy. Tom and Adam are contemplating if a boat ride would be a good idea. Tom questions if it is high-end enough. Adam says that it won’t be a speedboat, more like a dinghy. I don’t know what boat rides he takes.

Gabrielle and Stephen are at a fish spa. Stephen decides to have a go, which I don’t really want to see (fish and Stephen). Gabrielle makes 3 deals with a good discount although Karren criticises this as it is not luxury!

St Pancras and Jade is asking famous chef Marcus Wareing for a dinner deal. Marcus asks about numbers, which is a bit of a problem as Jade and Nick don’t have any. Nick (a technology expert) and Jade (self proclaimed fantastic businesswoman) can’t seem to work the calculator and Jade’s comment, “I can do it with round numbers!”, frustrates Marcus, who says that he will leave to give the pair time to do some maths.

At Rhodes, Ricky Martin is asked about numbers, specifically, how many places is he wanting to sell. Ricky Martin plucks out 50 to 100 and closes a good deal, and eats another plate of scallops.

Tom and Adam desperately seek some ideas as they have failed so far. Adam’s luxury seems to spread to takeaways.

Nick comes up with numbers for Marcus and they wrap up another deal. Ricky Martin also wraps another deal…and gets another plate of scallops. Very amusing! He either loves them or is pretty much sick of the sight of them. Why is he getting scallops from all the restaurants he visits? It is some kind of scallop conspiracy against him? Anyway, whilst Ricky Martin seems to be steaming ahead with negotiation, Stephen is playing virtual golf.

Tom and Adam have stumbled into Miller Harris. Adam tells the shopguy that he knows Muller Harris, but not quite as much as Tom, who knows them more as his girlfriend shops there. It’s all very nice if you discount the fact that moments before, they were bleating on about never having heard of it, but I guess you can’t mention that when you are trying to close a deal. Tom emphasises that there is only 4 mins left and they close a deal on some kind of candle. And this is the best deal that the pair of them have done today – seriously?!

The deals got to Keynoir who decide goes online. Phoenix have 6 deals and Sterling have an impressive 9 deals, but big numbers don’t count for anything if none of them are approved. Stephen utters that “I can look in the mirror and say I gave it 100%”, despite claiming that he needs to give 110% at the start of the show.

Boardroom

Sugar asks why Ricky Martin wasted so much time with Hotel Guy and didn’t state his intention at the start (“ a bad assumption”, explains Ricky Martin) but he praises his other deals. Overall, Sugar is impressed with Sterling made 9 deals with 3 vendors, which was “smart”. Jade describes her strategy for Phoenix to get one exclusive deal rather than doing multiple ones. Sugar criticises Adam and Tom’s deals, which were a bit lame to be honest. He says that he is worried about their view of a good deal. Tom says that Jade was a good PM but there was a lack of communication in the later stages of the day. Ooh-er.

Results

Sterling – 3 deals accepted: Gabrielle and Stephen’s golf deal which sold 7, making £350, and Ricky Martin’s restaurant deals – 100 dinners and 90 lunches, generating £6090, making an overall £6440.

Phoenix – 2 deals accepted. Jade and Nick’s lunch deal sold 20 places (£5950) and the spa deal sold 87 (£8613) meaning that they make £14563. An emphatic win there.

Jade’s strategy pays off – she understood the task and Keynoir well. Adam and Tom are very lucky as they were useless in this task. The team get sent to Clifton for afternoon tea, which is free. Apparently it is The World’s Most Expensive Afternoon Tea at £500+ per person. Adam crafting asks whether they’ve considered doing a deal with a discount website. Ha too late, mate.

Back in the boardroom

Sugar learns that Ricky Martin only offered 100 dinners which sold out rapidly when he could have pushed for more, which was “sickening”. Ricky Martin says that he was naïve. The fact that Ricky Martin didn’t go to a famous health spa in West London (which would have done well) is brought up. Stephen blames his team for resisting. He then goes on to say that Ricky Martin doesn’t know London well so he thought he would send him further away. Stephen is asked if was so concerned, then why didn’t he go to the health spa himself, and is criticised for leaving Ricky Martin who doesn’t know London, on his own. Yet despite this, Ricky Martin still managed to make more money that Stephen and Gabrielle.

Ricky Martin’s defence includes:

“I brought in £6000. If there were 3 of me, we would have made 3 times as money!” (is the world ready for 3 Ricky Martins? There are already 2)

“I’m not a one-man band, but on this occasion, I was a one-man band!” ( a little self-contradictory, but I like it)

He blames Gabrielle and Stephen for letting the team down, blaming Stephen more. Stephen blames Ricky Martin for not attending the spa, before generally arguing with Ricky Martin whilst Gabrielle remains very quiet.

Stephen says that on all the tasks he has influenced someone (questionable) and that he is a “fighter”. He says that Gabrielle doesn’t do anything (which he has been repeating for a few weeks now). Gabrielle says that she is a “well rounded candidate”. Stephen says it is “the most passionate Gabrielle has been in the process” – boo.

Sugar asks again why they should stay in the competition. Stephen says, “I am straight – I show my weaknesses and my strengths” (although mainly weaknesses). Ricky starts off with “I am not only fantastic in my own industry” (humbles as ever) before saying that he adapts well to other situations. Sugar worries that Gabrielle has no fight or spark left in her. She makes an impassioned plea about how much she has learnt and contributed. She refers to this task quoting how Stephen made errors, to which Stephen interrupts and spouts out “focus on yourself”. Ricky Martin tells Stephen for being “condescending” and that he should let Gabrielle talk.

Sugar says that Ricky Martin not going to the spa was a mistake, Stephen didn’t win and panicked and whilst Gabrielle is nice, there was a lack of contribution. Gabrielle is fired, before Sugar ominously says “There’s no smoke without fire” and axes Stephen too. Yeeeey.

I think that Gabrielle was right to be fired – she is likeable but she hasn’t demonstrated business potential, and she has been fading since being very prominent in the earlier tasks. Stephen had the firing coming for a long time coming – he verges on bumbling to irritating – the way he picked on Gabrielle was dishonourable and the way in which he portrays himself in the boardroom, almost snakelike, is annoying. I can’t think of a time when Stephen did well, not even when he was PM in the exercise class task. The results of that was just ridiculous.

Back at the house, Nick says that if Stephen came back, he would be shocked. Ricky Martin comes back and Jade offers him some peppermint tea. Aww.

Final Five Candidates review:

https://chocbutton.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-apprentice-final-five-review/