Celebrity Apprentice AustraliaWed & Thu 8pm, Ch9

Vince is confused. Understandably.

Last week we saw off the nicest doormat on the show in Marion Grasby. If only it had been a cooking challenge. Tonight however, it’s all about the hair up there and who can cause the most trauma. If the sizzle is anything to go by Lauryn & Tania go at it, Jason get Hackered, and SOMEONE MAKES PATTI NEWTON CRY AND IT’S NOT MATTHEW (at least we have to assume so for now). Wooooooooooaaaaaaaahhhh…

The celebs assemble somewhere suitably shiny in Sydney to find out from Mr B what the next challenge is. Each team has to put on a hair show at Top Ryde City Shopping Centre, profiling Wella as the key product range. Patti’s excited as she’s always wanted to be a hairdresser, but Aker’s non-plussed. “I dye my hair but I don’t deal with it – I mean I don’t even own a comb,” he says. Each team will be judged on the overall presentation and the brand promotion for Wella within. The CEO of Proctor & Gamble (“if you’re seeing someone called Proctor, it’s a Gamble”) will present the winning Project Manager a cheque for $20,000 for their charity. Sounds easy for celebs who spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance, am I right? RIGHT?

In a further case of shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic, Mr B swaps Patti & The Hoff back to their original teams, so Team Platinum is all boys and Team Fortune is all girls again. Aker hasn’t missed The Hoff at all, and from the general reception nor have any of the other guys. They win one challenge without him and all grow a set of balls. Ben is also co-opted to help out the Ladies which will be great for a hairdressing challenge. Dicko won’t miss him, and Ms Charlotte knows Ben could sense the problems on the team. When told to pick their PM’s, Tania immediately suggests Ms Charlotte should do it. In much the same way, Dicko tells Nathan he should have a swing to prove what he’s made of.

The teams head off to their respective war rooms – yeah, “war” – where they’ll all get lessons in professional hairstyling. It’s good to have David Reyne back for another episode. Ben’s happy he’s been moved to the girl’s team as he knows this will be a challenge the boys will struggle with, and besides, the last time he styled hair it was that time on Brokeback Mountain he doesn’t like to talk about much. He was so gentle, so special.

Each team has to create three distinct styles: red carpet, rock-chick, & a fashion-forward/edgier look. The only experience Dicko has was cutting his mate’s hair at Uni “and he hasn’t spoken to me since”. Ms Charlotte’s right across it, reeling off names of who she’d see reflecting each look but it’s got Ben puzzled (and allegedly Tania too). At least Ben recognises “surely we’ve got a better than 50/50 chance at taking this out – don’t we?”. Nobody knows who Alexa Chung is except for Ms Charlotte and the hairdresser – perhaps instead she should have suggested Wang Chung?

Ben thinks he's turning gay.

Nathan’s allocating roles to his team mates and trying to work to their strengths. Vince is happy to MC, but so does The Hoff and Aker (at least Aker recognises it). “Aker is inarticulate and he struggles to get a sentence out, so why would you make him MC?” asks Dicko before launching into who he thinks should perform what role. Dicko reckons Vince should MC, Nathan should run back of house, and The Hoff, Aker and Dicko as the stylists. Which Nathan promptly accepts as gospel. “That’s not gonna be happening again and stuff,” says a momentarily articulate and ego-crushed Aker. The guys decide to run with the idea that “if three boofheads can do it in 20 minutes, you can too” as their theme. At least one part of that is correct.

Team Fortune, on the other hand, in under the deft control of Ms Charlotte – she’ll MC, Ben will run back of house, and Patti, Lauryn & Tania will style for the show. Ms Charlotte and Tania step out into to the shopping centre to find their models. Tania interprets this invitation as her appointment as 2iC; Ms Charlotte points out it’s an attempt at mending fences as the team HAS to win and they have Tania in their team – “We have to make it work”. Ben stands up for himself and points out with Tania going with Ms Charlotte, the other two stylists will be learning and he’ll be doing jack (the poor bastard – though it was a special time on the Mountain). Tania is immediately offended, completely forgetting SHE’S ACTUALLY GOING TO BE A STYLIST IN THE SHOW AND SHOULD LEARN SOMETHING. Ms Charlotte agrees and Ben, who admits he has no idea what they’re looking for, is a great assistant and is up for the task at hand.

With three hours until the shows start, the stylists are learning how to do someone else’s hair. Aker’s nervous but hasn’t shied away from a challenge yet. “Girls, you know, they know about hair. We don’t know a damn thing,” says Aker. The Hoff thinks he’s backstage at a modelling event, only because he likes to see the pretty women get naked as they change their clothes. Stay classy, Knight Rider. He also wants his model to look like she’s stuck her finger in a power outlet. WTF? I pity the poor hair models having to sit there and not only hear the commentary but knowing their hair – their complete look – is at the mercy of complete celebrity amateurs.

The Hoff is making a complete bird’s nest of his trial model’s hair. “I’ll have to shave it off,” she says. The stylist immediately instructs The Hoff to stop back-combing, which he does, but it sure looks like the damage is done. The stylist also looks to have lost complete patience with him and not before time. Nathan & Vince are stalking members of the general public, trying to convince them to take part as models for their show. “I’d never heard of Vince before the show, so I was quite happy to sit back and let him do all the talking,” says a shrewd Nathan. They’ve found one woman who only has two words in her vocabulary: “David Hasselhoff??!!”. They’ve found three suckers and back upstairs they go.

The Team Fortune stylist thinks his girls have gotten a little bit cocky and aren’t really listening, just because they’re up against the guys. It’s all sprays & giggles, though Patti notes Lauryn and Tania seem to be consistently at each other’s throats “a bit”. “Tania is in it to win it, and she’ll stop at nothing to do so,” notes Lauryn. When you have no career, I guess you’ve got nothing to lose, eh Tania?

"I'm so impressive. Look at me walk."

As well as finding models, they then have to find them a new outfit for the show, reflecting the hairstyle they’ll be wearing. Aker is interfering while Nathan & Vince are out shopping for clothes with their ladies. “I just want my model in a simple black dress, it’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s the Mabo, it’s what I want,” insists Aker. “I want my team to be putting in 150% and I think he’s (Aker) is just putting in 100% and that’s not good enough in this situation,” says Nathan. It’s always the pretty young things that struggle with the mathematics, isn’t it?

Ben is looking for dresses with Ms Charlotte and their models and just can’t connect. “Men are hunters, Women are at home… whatever that is, and I know all you FemiNazis are all screaming, but… from the caves.” Even Ben can’t finish his own statement as he realises just how wrong it is. As Ben agrees one of the dresses would look great, one of the models tells him he’s the gay best friend. You spend one night, one special night, on a mountain with another bloke and this is what you get. But Ben comes into his own when they realise the dresses are over their budget and they’ve not yet bought accessories – he’s on the phone with the head of Myer publicity and negotiates the dress prices lower AND the accessories thrown in for free. Ms Charlotte couldn’t be prouder and Ben has done more than his fair share in contributing already.

One hour remains before the show and the Team Fortune ladies are brainstorming their presentation. Patti’s agreed to say she’s an expert now after years of having to do Bert’s hair. By “hair” she means “toupee”, and as luck would have it she always carries one with her (what a gal!). Tania’s keen for Patti to deliver he schtick, but isn’t sure how it will be received. Probably the same way most Patti Newton gags are received, Tania – with a rollicking laugh as she’s an old hand.

The boys at Team Platinum are introduced to their models, and Team Fortune are starting to feel the pressure. Lauryn likes Ms Charlotte, but is feeling some directions are coming a little too directly. “I’d consider myself Charlotte’s friend, but I don’t quite trust her 100%,” says Lauryn. Still they’re doing better than the blokes, as we when we cross to them The Hoff is busy taking photos of Aker sitting on the couch with five women doing nothing. “I think he’s just cruising through it at the moment and no one’s safe,” says Nathan.

The girls are preparing all their last minute stuff before the show, including Ms Charlotte trying to get her rundown onto paper so she knows what’s happening. All the while Tania is interrupting, trying to pick music for the runway portion. “We’re all show-offs, I get that, but at the end of the day Tania’s been on TV for 10 years, and lives in India, and… I’m not surprised,” says Ben. Tania continues to interrupt, Ms Charlotte continues to hold her tongue and ask to be able to finish the rundown. This powderkeg just needs a match.

Nathan’s working on a full rehearsal with the models, and Vince is taking it all in his stride. Not for lacking everyone else telling Vince how and what to do. He’s handling it, just. But there’s always time for a Hoff pun from the man himself: “Here today, Hoff tomorrow.” We wish.

Team Fortune deliver their presentation.

Team Fortune are about to go on stage, and Ben has taken control as back of house manager. Tania thinks Ben’s ruining the atmosphere with his vibe but it’s very clear he’s just trying to stay in control – of himself. He reads the intro and Ms Charlotte’s on stage and away we go. Deborah Thomas is very impressed with the job Ms Charlotte is doing. The stylists in Tania, Lauryn and Patti are welcomed on stage, their models come out and it’s on. Ben’s trying to keep things pushing from back of house so that it’s a tight 12 minutes (though they’ve been given 20). Maile, the Wella boss, is impressed with Tania as the rock chick look ambassador and she’s pleased with how Tania educated the audience as to hos they could get the look. Patti busts out her “Bert’s toupee” routine and the audience loves it, but Ben backstage tells Ms Charlotte to leave Patti alone.

Ben’s feeding key info to Ms Charlotte through the earpiece to help her make it through, and it’s exactly what she needs. The celeb stylists and their amateur models all get their walk, after Lauryn reminds Ms Charlotte they hadn’t done their walk – and Ms Charlotte feels horrible for forgetting them. “The stylist did a great job and the models looked amazing. I screwed up,” she says. It takes a big woman yada yada yada. Other than that the show went off without a hitch and everyone in the team is on a successful post-show high. As well they should be.

It’s time for the boys of Team Platinum to present their show, and Nathan’s delivered his last instructions and the entire team are ready to go. “We’re only gonna win this challenge by putting on the best show,” says MC Vince and he’s straight into it from the moment he steps onto the stage. The boss of Wella loves Vince as the MC, which has to count for something. Dicko is having so much fun onstage he’s lost in the hairdo, so much so he even knows what a section grip is. The Hoff was “Hoffal”, and in the midst of Vince’s discussion with Aker his earpiece falls out and when he puts it back in it isn’t working so he can’t hear Nathan backstage who’s feeding him all the information he’s depending on.

Nathan’s freaking out but Vince is pushing on and nailed it anyway, professional that he is. “There’s nowhere to hide so you just get on with it,” offers the MC with the most. As a part of their presentation they had a challenge with a member of the audience guessing which of the professional models had their hair done by a celebrity amateur – no one picked that Aker did one of the models and he was wrapped. You’d think he’d solved the climate change problem. The guys finish up with the same post-show high, and everyone (including the amateur models) are amazed with the outcome.

We’re all back in the boardroom, ready to face Mr B and find out which team has won. But, as they settle in, the celebs are unaware The Hoff has had a secret meeting with Mr B, the outcome of which “will change the face of the game FOREVER!” Overly dramatic much? Mr B welcomes everyone back to the boardroom, but switches to the news at hand from The Hoff.

Team Platinum's presentation faces some speed bumps...

“I have to leave,” says The Hoff. “It’s not business, it’s a personal commitment I’ve made to my family that involves honour.” Sounds a bit like his contract was up. Aker’s disgusted. Mr B notes that’s a pretty tough decision but The Hoff’s sent on his way with a pat on the back, a smile on his face, and a boot in his arse. “And I didn’t get fired,” he says. “Maybe I should have.” Damn straight you should have, Baywatch Bitch. Goodbyes are offered and he’s out the door. He feels “hoffal” about leaving, but he’s very proud to have been a part of Celebrity Apprentice”. A tip for the future, Mr Hoff – enough with the “Hoff” puns. Please. Mr B’s as disappointed as the rest of the contestants. How quaint, the thinks he’s like the rest of them.

With that “bombshell” out of the way, Dane & Deborah recap for Mr B how the teams will be judged for today’s challenge. Nathan feels he ticked off every box that he could and is quietly confident they could take this one out. Ms Charlotte admits she stepped up to PM this challenge feeling this one was she could offer a great deal considering the task. She offers Ben and Tania as her two strongest players for various reasons – Ben for his haggling skills and Tania for not fighting with everyone.

But first: HAIRGATE! Mr B asks Patti about the “Bert’s toupee” gag, and noting it was a show she felt it was a great addition to the team’s show. Ms Charlotte feels it wasn’t a great reflection on the Wella brand and may cost them the challenge, and when asked how he managed the risk of the gag, Ben offers he didn’t know about it until it happened. Tania tries to distance herself from knowing the gag was going to take place, and as far as Patti’s concerned she went and asked Ms Charlotte about it and Ms Charlotte said yes to it. That’s not what Ms Charlotte’s face says. “The gag could be very costly in this one,” says Mr B. “If the gag costs us the challenge because of Bert’s hairpiece, then I’m the one that should go,” says a teary Patti. MR BOURIS MADE PATTI NEWTON CRY!!! FOR SHAME, HORRIBLE MOUTHPIECE OF CAPITALISM! Patti writes her tears off to “having a bad day”… probably best to not even mention number one son then.

Dicko felt he enjoyed the challenge a little too much. “Yeah, I got a little too light in my loafers,” says the ever politically correct Dicko. Dicko thinks Nathan did a pretty good job managing “four alpha males” and we all had to cut him some slack. Nathan claims Aker went missing at one point, which Aker soundly refutes. The conversation between Mr B and Aker starts to break down into pointless back and forth as Aker gets overly defensive and Mr B gets overly offensive. Classic reality TV fight, it just shouldn’t involve the central host figure. Nathan offers up The Hoff as his team’s weakest player, and says Vince was the best player as he managed to keep the show going even after the comms link busted between he and Nathan. What a trooper.

Maile Carnegie from Wella has determined that today’s challenge was won based on three elements – the most conclusively because of the use of Wella products. Team Fortune take the win, and Ms Charlotte is overwhelmed at being able to give her very young charity $20,000 to help them with their vital work. She’s also extremely grateful to her team for their efforts. Mr B excuses them and sends them to the winners room where they can watch proceedings from and share a celebratory glass or two of bubbly. There’s hugs all round outside the boardroom and, for a moment, HAIRGATE is forgotten as a complete distraction.

Lauryn fires up against Tania. That's some serious firing up.

In the winner’s room, Ms Charlotte gets to present her charity with the $20K cheque and the team is still very buoyant. Once they’ve settled, Ben announces “Ladies, and now for the good bit” and turns the TV on with a flourish, almost as if it’s a wand. “Gentlemen, we have to find out what went wrong, and somebody… will… be.. fired.” Is Mr B having a stroke? Why the drawn out pauses and speaking… so… unnaturally… broken?

The boys work hard to defend their hairstyling efforts, though Aker is called out for having his styling mistaken for the work of a professional. Nathan describes the debacle that The Hoff went with and notes Aker & Dicko did the best job for the team. When asked what went wrong, Nathan leans on the technical issue which Mr B shoots down pretty quickly, but Nathan is never pressured to actually answer the question. Nathan decides to bring Aker and Dicko back into the boardroom with him, mainly because he notes Dicko is his biggest competition in the game and “I’m gonna have to take him on at some stage so if I’m going to go down today, I want to go down swinging against the best”. Well played indeed. Everyone in Team Fortune love hearing it too, but their likely drunk on success.

Vince is excused, and the other three are sent to reception to wait while Mr B consults with his advisers. The girls and Ben speculate as to who’s going to go. “I think Aker thinks Aker’s going,” says Patti. As the boys sit patiently in reception, things go from passively aggressive to openly aggressive in the winner’s room. The ongoing tension between Lauryn and Tania flares up big time. There’s a suggestion by Lauryn that Tania has been holding back vital information about sponsors and this, in Lauryn’s book, isn’t cool. There’s claims and counter claims, and Lauryn takes it all very personally and starts to get a bit emotional. Ben attempts to step in calm things down by offering the ladies the chance to “dust it up out in the car park, but while we’re in the winner’s room we should be celebrating like winners”. It doesn’t work – Tania is hell bent on finishing this argument on camera as she feels all Lauryn has been doing is niggling her off camera.

Lauryn’s calling out Tania, and Tania’s not responding well to being called a liar. If only they’d stood up like blokes do in a barney and started to size each other up we could have had someone. Lauryn coulda been a contender. But instead they fought like Ladies, all sitting down and stuff, and it remained mostly civil. Why can’t we have a decent barney on reality TV anymore? Has everyone become camera shy? It fizzles out to nothing with nobody backing down and the tension left hanging palpably in the air. “Wow,” bookends Ben, “What a winning feeling.”

Nathan’s confident he’s stepped up in every challenge, brought in big donations, and he’s done all he’s can. Dicko’s confident if The Hoff was still here he’d be back in the boardroom in his place. Aker can’t get over what’s gone on with The Hoff leaving and not being able to be held accountable. Mr B and his advisers are pretty happy with the work done by Aker going outside the comfort zone, and they’re impressed with Dicko’s business sense (duh!). Dane loves Nathan a little too much, and Deborah thinks he’s lacking a little too much experience but he’s a fast learner and a great team player. Given we’re running out of time, this should be a pretty simple boardroom. Mr B calls Caitlyn, who’s busy working on another pointless spreadsheet, and asks her to send the boys back in.

Tania strikes back against Lauryn. Hissssssss!

Nathan, Dicko & Aker are welcomed back into the boardroom by Mr B for the “pointy end”. Nathan’s talking a big game, but he’s up against some big personalities and old heads who know how to play a pretty decent game. Aker just wants to stay in to raise some much needed funds for the charity he’s supporting. Dicko wants to stay in the game to show Australia what he’s made of – mainly meat pies and a few cans of coke. Aker feels like Mr B poked a bear today (not a euphemism) and it got him all riled up and he’s ready to deliver as PM at some stage.

As the final arbitrator of what’s fair and not fair, Mr B decides..

Gentlemen – nobody gets fired.

But of course – The Hoff left so they can’t cut the show short by one episode!. The three men hug once they get outside the boardroom and head back to surprise a winner’s room full of speculation. Ben thinks Dicko’s safe; Vince thinks Aker’s gone; Tania thinks she’s the most beautiful girl in the room. Nathan enters first. Then Aker comes through shortly afterwards. Once the gravity of that situation sinks in, Dicko makes a dramatic entrance announcing all the boys were safe.

“10 celebrities remain, and only one can win. Who will be the next Celebrity Apprentice, and what do I have to do to keep this gig?” asks a very forward thinking David Reyne in the closing narration. Very clearly David can’t count – there’s nine celebs remaining. Tomorrow night it’s all the fun of the fair with no one playing fair, all so the teams can pick up the most fares to see who wins the biggest share. Do you care? See you there.