I think most fans of The Apprentice do look forward to any task in which the teams have to direct a video of some sort, as the results are often unintentionally hilarious. This is true of the latest task, in which the teams have to devise a new workout regime, as it features Azhar in very short shorts and the usual squabbles over the camera between both Adam and Jade and Duane and Laura. The aim of the task was to create and brand a new fitness class that could then be sold on to major gym chains, with the total profit of the licenses sold being the indicator of which team would win and which would be fired.
Team Sterling this week was led by professional wrestler Ricky, who won a vote off with Jenna based on the fact that she used to ride horses or something like that. According to Ricky he is known as ‘The Fitness’ in the wrestling world and he told us to Witness the Fitness with Ricky Martin – which I think sounded like a good idea for a Latino music based workout video. But instead Ricky, keen to play to his strengths, wanted to get Mixed Martial Arts into the routine, with the team deciding on combining this with street dancing. Ricky, Jenna and Laura went to look at some Thai boxers, while the other half of the team went to a street dancing class. This scene was particularly amusing as it when Nick was asking the questions and he’d looked as if he’d never been alone in a room with a girl before. When he asked them if he could join their class, it was if he was asking a girl out for the first time. When Laura and Ricky tried to combine the moves for their regime, now known as Beat Battle, the instructor helping them observed that they had too many ideas but she like the overall concept.
I’m really not sure what she’d say if she saw Team Phoenix’s routine which was a bit rubbish, despite the team having a Project Manager (Stephen) who works in drumming up memberships for various gym chains. After not hearing that many ideas Steven jumped on Katie’s plan of a retro-themed class with the focus being on the 1980s style dance routines. Half of the team went to a very seedy club called Groovy Wonderland, where the three dancers were on Space Hoppers and said that the best ideas would be to use cheesy music, such as the Flashdance theme, as well as familiar routines like those from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
I did think there was certainly an idea here using these old routines, accompanied by familiar music for those which would appeal to those that remembered the decade and who would want to lose weight in a fun way. However Steven and his team decided to focus most of their routines around equipment such as the Space Hoppers, Hula Hoops and skipping ropes effectively over-complicating what could’ve been a very simple idea. We got the impression that this equipment would be the team’s downfall, as Karren Brady looked extremely stony-face and kept passing judgment over the storage issues that would arise if the gyms were to license Groove Train. Indeed Karren was a lot more vocal than Nick Hewer during this episode, as he only made one comment throughout and that was to agree with me that these tasks involving cameras always end up in a squabble.
Nick was of course right as he commented on the increasingly power-hungry Duane, who refused to listen to any input from instructor Laura or choreographer Nick. His ideas were increasingly more out there and included losing some of the combat elements of their routine as well as having Laura face away from the camera as if she were leading the class. The arguments carried on to the editing suite, where Duane voiced his frustrations about everybody butting in on what was supposed to be his project and once again contestant Nick tried to chime in with some conflict management strategies that didn’t quite work out.
Adam was also frustrated as he was tasked with the thankless role of choreographer, and he started by congratulating the dancers in the video for making the cut like he was auditioning for the lead role in a Northern England remake of Fame. While Adam wanted to be the director, it was Jade who got the job because she was the creative one – a trait that Adam never picked up on saying all that she created were problems. I felt particularly sorry for Azhar who was leading the video, with Karren Brady picking up that he looked particularly upset with the shorts he’d been asked to wear a problem that I feel trickled into the video presentation as his introduction seemed particularly confrontational.
The final day saw both project managers leading the pitches to the three major gym chains, while all the other team members lurked nervously in the background. After the first pitch to Virgin Active Ricky cottoned on that the video wasn’t up to scratch, so in the second pitch to Pure Gym had his team demonstrate some of the moves but what I didn’t understand was why he then showed the video again during the pitch to Fitness First. Steven meanwhile was getting increasingly frustrated with questions about the kit that the team had insisted that must be used for the routine to be performed correctly. In their final pitch, the team from Virgin Active noted that the class could appeal more to children and families with Katie agreeing that this could well be the case. In the end this was what won Phoenix the task, as the other gyms absolutely hated the idea but with Virgin wanting to roll out the product across their establishments, this beat Ricky’s team who had had one order plus one offer to develop the product further. Personally I felt sorry for Ricky, as his ideas and pitches were far superior to that of Team Sterling, who in all honesty pulled of a massive fluke, however sometimes on The Apprentice the right team doesn’t always succeed. If I were in charge of the show I would give the win to the Virgin Active panel for changing the concept for the family market and then have the two teams fight it out in a six-a-side wrestling match in order to fit with this week’s theme.
In the boardroom the blame seemed to have been placed squarely at the video which Lord Sugar viewed as the team’s front window, in order to sell the product to the gyms. This is certainly true to some extent as Pure Gym, the only one not to see the video, wanted to license the product outright however I felt there were other problems. For me the pricing was a bit too much, as I can’t see many people paying £45 a month for a fitness class and even with the discount that Ricky offered the yearly fee for Beat Battle was £70 more expensive than that of Groovy Train. In addition I felt Ricky deployed the team wrongly, as at least one of the two guys involved in the video should’ve been present during the kickboxing routine, while in her role as the dance expert Laura should’ve been at the Streetdance demonstration as the dance element of Beat Battle, seemed more like traditional exercise moves rather than those displayed by Diversity. It was Laura and Duane who accompanied Ricky back into the boardroom, however in my opinion it should’ve been Jenna as she contributed very little throughout, almost willing her team to fail after losing out on the Project Manager role.
So who will be fired? In my opinion it will probably be Laura as it is her second time in the boardroom and she was responsible for the dilution of the moves in the video. In addition out of the three in the firing line she probably needs Lord Sugar’s investment the least as she already has a successful business, a bridal boutique, something that his Lordship probably wouldn’t be interested in. The only thing that is making me question this is that so far not one Project Manager has been fired and also that if Laura were fired only half the female candidates would remain. While I don’t want either Ricky or Duane to go I’d have to go with the former, as despite some strong pitches he did make some mistakes that may have lost them the task. Overall though this was another enjoyable episode which saw the majority of the candidates act like fools and nobody particularly stand out to me as a definite winner.
Remember to come back to the website at the end of tonight’s episode to find out who got fired.
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