"I've never been so torn," said Donald Trump, sitting across the table from Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken during their final trip to the boardroom on Sunday night's The Celebrity Apprentice. But he had to choose someone, and that someone was...Arsenio Hall!.
The 56-year-old former talk show host won $250,000 for his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation (which advocates for HIV and AIDS patients), in addition to the money he'd already raised from winning challenges throughout the season. All told, the charity received $522,100.
Meanwhile, Aiken had to settle for coming in second. Again. Before Trump made his final decision, Aiken reminded the studio audience that he'd gone through this before, when he was runner-up to Ruben Studdard on American Idol. "My mother's here tonight," he said. "And she's already sat through me losing once." Poor Mom.
Hall was no smug champ as he heaped praise on his "lil' brother Clay." "Tonight we are both winners!" he cried. But it's unclear how complimented Aiken felt when Hall referred to the singer as the Robin to his Batman. Really, who aspires to be Robin?
Still, Aiken's charity, too, collected a good deal of dough. Though Hall won more challenges, Aiken managed to raise more money during the final episode. (Their last task involved staging fundraising parties/performances and creating a celebrity PSA.) In all, Aiken was able to donate $361,5000 to The National Inclusion Project.
What made Trump choose Hall? Frankly, the decision seemed totally arbitrary. But there's no denying that Hall's PSA was amusing, and Trump seemed impressed with it. Watch it here:
Watch Clay's PSA here:
In the end, it might have come down to who did a better job of tickling Trump's funny bone. Of course, Trump offered his own reasons.
"Arsenio Hall clearly demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a winner," Trump said in a statement. "As the new Celebrity Apprentice, he represents all the qualities necessary to follow through and come out on top with very significant winnings for his charity, Magic Johnson Foundation. Arsenio was smart and a good team player. He proved he had a winning strategy to make it through the grueling schedule. I congratulate him on his win -- Arsenio's a star all the way and clearly back on top."
Winning The Celebrity Apprentice could be a good career move for Hall. The show's former winners -- country singer John Rich, rocker Bret Michaels, comedian Joan Rivers and talk-show host Piers Morgan -- all received media attention which they parlayed into other opportunities. Hall has already filled in a guest host for Morgan on his new show, Piers Morgan Tonight. Maybe he's got his own new show in the future?