Dicko & Nathan - Celebrity Apprentice Australia 2012 finalists

A teary Ian “Dicko” Dickson was last night crowned the winner of Celebrity Apprentice Australia 2012. Mark Bouris decided Dicko was to be hired (though he didn’t say that) after the former music executive presenter the better recording and film clip of a song he and finalist Nathan Jolliffe co-wrote in the penultimate challenge in the previous episode. Dicko takes the crown from 2011 winner Julia Morris, and in a generous gesture split the $100,000 prize destined for his charity with Jolliffe.

The finalists were joined by past contestants of this series and the 2011 seris, with Dicko’s “Angels” – Tania Zaetta, Patti Newton & Jesinta Campbell – facing off against Nathan and his team of Charlotte Dawson, Jason Akermanis & Didier Cohen. The return of Aker also forced an apology from him over his exit from the series, where he was heard swearing at being fired and referred to as a ‘maverick’. Aker’s performance in this final was one of subdued servitude, leaving all the controversy to returning 2012 alumni Tania Zaetta. The former Bollywood star performed strongly for Dicko as clip director, though didn’t step aside when asked in the editing suite causing the music executive to lose his cool with her. The pair soon kiss and made up.

Both teams put together excellent clips to match their individual versions of the song, and the feedback from the panel of music industry representatives was largely positive for both clips. Ultimately Dickson’s skill as a seasoned A&R representative and music executive meant his song and clip were far superior though he shed a tear at Jolliffe’s finished product saying “he’s come so far and look at how good he is”.

The series proved to be a lukewarm success for Channel 9, largely overshadowed by the success of The Voice Australia launching in the same week. The two 90 minute episodes a week meant for a big commitment for fans, though the assurance there’d be a challenge and a boardroom in each meant the series wouldn’t drag on and had to remain as well-paced as possible. The show regularly won it’s timeslot and again delivered controversy with constant tension between Tania Zaetta and most of the cast, particularly Charlotte Dawson and Lauryn Eagle (though Dicko, Akermanis and Ben Dark all had their moments with each other).

David Hasselhoff’s three episodes proved more than enough for the faded TV star, with his performance being mostly underwhelming and high-maintenance, and the continued use of puns including his nickname proved ‘Hoffal’.

Celebrity Apprentice Australia did reveal a more vulnerable Dickson, who by his own admission took part in the series after his own annus horribilus in 2011. The softer, gentler, more open Dicko delivered to the audience has surely added to his longevity on the box in Australia thanks to his time on the series.

Producers FreemantleMedia Australia would be pleased with the amount raised for the contestant’s charities this season – $964,049 – more than double what was raised last year. While no announcement has been made by the network or production house, there has been some suggestion by FMA staff on Twitter that a third series is being considered (including taking casting suggestions).