The Apprentice 2010: Task 10 Performance Review

Each week as contestants compete for a $250,000 job contract, get the leadership lessons you can use to succeed

Clint is still the candidate to beat.

assigned to her, including securing props. Meanwhile, Stephanie is clearly out of her element, a source of mounting exasperation to her photography director. When he asks if she has a concept written down for him to follow, she replies that she has a handwritten one, written in the truck on their way over to the studio. They shoot the first scene, featuring workers around a conference room table who turn to mobile TV to provide desperately needed energy to the meeting. The second scene attempts to recreate an outdoor sports setting indoors using a painted sky backdrop and improvised stadium seats. “Stephanie is all over the place,” says the photography director. “This is literally the high school version of film school.” In editing, the office scene is wordy and difficult to cut, prompting Stephanie to kill the sports event scene altogether. When Liza suggests that a product mention is needed at the beginning of the commercial, Stephanie again rejects her input, insisting that it be put at the end. Liza feels the resulting commercial is “embarrassing and laughable.” Stephanie believes she’s hit “a home run.”

Steuart, fresh off of a strong performance on Task 9, takes charge as project manager for Fortitude, assigning presentation to Brandy, creative to Clint and the final edit of the commercial to himself. After initially agreeing on a “family on the go” concept for their commercial, Clint has “an epiphany”–an odd-man-out theme featuring a guy who keep missing out because everyone but him has mobile TV. Steuart is not totally sold on the concept, but goes with it in the interest of staying on schedule in the execution of the task. Meanwhile, Brandy is not invested in the task: “[The concept is] “not my baby” [and] “I don’t have a lot of sentimental attachment.” In other words, she voluntarily accepts a role for Octane that Stephanie forced upon Liza, just doing what she is told, no more and no less. That said, Steuart is a focused and effective task master, tempering Clint’s passion for perfecting the commercial with a firm commitment to finishing it in time to make the presentation deadline. With Clint as the star of commercial, they finish with three scenes: Clint as the only one in his family missing out on mobil TV, the only guy at his office without it, and finally emerging from an AT&T store, no longer left out, as a happy new consumer of AT&T Mobile TV.

Stephanie makes a polished and compelling presentation of Octane’s commercial. By contrast, Steuart also makes a good introduction to Fortitude’s commercial; but Brandy is clearly not engaged, despite her reputation as a strong presenter established with the Rockport fashion show task. Closing out Fortitude’s presentation, she stumbles and bumbles despite having printed notes in hand.

The Result: Octane’s concept is judged as a fundamentally flawed concept: marketing the idea the people should watch mobile TV at the office instead of doing their work. (The sports event concept, which was scrapped, should have been kept.) Also, their commercial takes too long, a full 18 seconds, to even mention the product. By contrast, Fortitude not only opened and closed their ad with product mentions, but they did a great job of explaining the attributes of AT&T Mobile TV throughout, while targeting multiple demographic segments. Fortitude, led by Steuart, earns the win.

Who I Would Have Fired: Stephanie wanted sole authority over the concept. The concept failed. The locations or lack thereof, which Stephanie repeatedly tried to scapegoat Liza over, were irrelevant. Good bye, Stephanie.

Who Will Be The Next Apprentice?: With Stephanie firing, we now have our Final Four: Clint (2-0 as project manager), Steuart (2-0), Brandy (1-o) and Liza (0-1). 

Clint is still the clear favorite to win. Coming up with the “odd-man-out” concept and starring in Fortitude’s commercial, he easily eclipsed Brandy and nearly outshined PM Steuart on this task, pushing hard for his ideas without ever crossing over into insubordinate behavior. The competition is still his to lose.

Steuart delivered his strongest performance yet, and despite my insistence that he had no chance of becoming the apprentice, he’s made a strong case for being at least in the Final Two for the decisive last task. Kudos to Steuart on making me eat my words.

Liza makes it to the Final Four, becoming only the second black female candidate to make it this far in the competition (excluding the celebrity versions of the reality show), the first being Roxanne Wilson from The Apprentice Season 5. However, Liza, the only one of the Final Four with no project manager wins, will have to hit it out of the park next week to make the Final Two.

Brandy is in the Final Four by sheer luck. Since her victory as PM on Task 8, she’s been coasting as member of Octane, riding the talent, work and creativity of Steuart and Clint. She’s even fallen short in her one supposed area of strength, public speaking and presentations, not because of lack of ability, but lack of engagement. She’s blamed her position as an outsider to Steuart and Clint, who have been teammates since the beginning of the competition, but that should be an incentive to prove herself, not shrink back. If she doesn’t step up in a major way on the next task, there’s no way she makes the Final Two.

After the next task, two candidates will be fired. For my Final Two choices, I’m sticking with my favorite and my long-shot: Clint and Liza. (Hey, I’ve gone this far betting on Liza; no sense jumping off the bandwagon now!)

Who do you choose for your Final Two? And who will be the next apprentice and why? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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  • Renee

    I pick Steuart and Clint to make it to the final two. Usually the final three or four are interviewed by CEOs of large companies and who they don’t like is expressed to Mr. Trump then the final two has one last task to decide who is The Apprentice. I think that is the best way to weed out the people who got by on sheer luck because someone did worser then they did. Like when Liza was the PM and lost but when Poppy brought up how Mahsa told the other team how much they made on the pedi-cab task, Mahsa was fired so Liza was saved that week. The coming atrractions for this week’s show appears that there is another task then two are fired. With that being said I don’t know how Mr. Trump is going to pick the final two. If Liza is the PM this week and wins, I still don’t see why Mr. Trump would keep her to go to the finals.

    Liza BETTER AND I MEAN BETTER be the PM for the next task because Mr. Trump is not happy with her at all. Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Mr.Trump knows exactly how Liza is and Ivanka described Liza to the T. If Liza is the PM and wins, she has to lead the task in a way that will make Mr. Trump become really impressed with her. I am not to please with Brandy because the last two tasks she fell to the wayside so she hasn’t displayed much even earlier in the show she did not pop out.

  • Renee

    I pick Steuart and Clint to be in the final two. Usually Mr. Trump has CEOs of large companies to interview the final three or four candidates. I think this is the best way to weed out the ones that got by on sheer luck because someone else did worser then they did. Like when Liza was the PM and lost but Poppy brung up how Mahsa told the other team how much they made on the pedi-cab task and Mahsa got fired so Liza was saved that week. If Liza is the PM this week and wins, I don’t see why Mr. Trump would let her advance to the finals.

    Liza BETTER AND I MEAN BETTER be the PM for this week’s task because Ivanka, Don Jr. and Mr.Trump are not pleased with Liza at all and Ivanka described Liza to the T in the boardroom. If she is the PM and wins, she has to lead the task in a way that really impresses Mr. Trump.

    I am not impressed with Brandy because she fell to the wayside on the last two tasks and she really did not pop out on the earlier tasks in the beginning of the show.

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    Alfred, Clint and Liza? PLEASE!!! As a Navy veteran, I have never believed that it is the captain’s duty to go down with the ship. How could you believe that Trump would place Liza into the final two when he has tipped his hat by saying how disappointed he is in Liza? That was his way of laying the foundation for getting rid of her despite having knowledge that everyone on her team has had it out for her. I have chosen Clint all along for the same reason that most wackos like Sarah Palin – he is that folksy, good ole boy type that reminds people of a bye-gone era, I think before African Americans had any significant rights. He could have been the PM again (I think he actually was operating in that capacity on this task) had the contest not believed in playing musical chairs. I want everyone to revel in the fact that I am about to defend Liza in my next statement. How does Trump and his kids think Liza could have asserted herself if she would have known that the PM has final authority? I’m sure that Ivanka would have selected a better toupee for her father, but is not foolish enough to verbalize that out of fear that she would be cut out of his will. It seems like Trump got what he wanted out of this season, to have someone like Stephanie to be a spokesperson for his organization (I never thought anyone would be a better sale of the Trump brand than the ‘Donald’ himself. Who knows, will Liza be treated as well when she’s dismissed?). Out of respect for you, Alfred, and other great people like Nichole have we hung on this long watching the apprentice. Not even good friendships on Black Enterprise will allow us to do the same if there is another lackluster season.

  • http://www.spedient.com Nichole Hodge

    Alfred, your assessment was on point.

    The performance of both teams was fairly predictable this week. We knew that Octane led by Steuart (Clint!) would more than likely realize success, given their synergy and commitment to win, regardless of attitudes or personality conflicts. Even Brandy’s lack of true involvement didn’t hamper their efforts. They acknowledged it, made a mental note, to retrieve in the boardroom if necessary, and proceeded with the task (There’s a pretty valuable lesson in that alone). Having a third of the team essentially check out in terms of creative involvement, didn’t hamper their execution-that speaks volumes. Octane doesn’t always have the strongest concepts, (the concept this week was rather sophomoric & a little corny) but the execution & marketing are typically spot on. In fact, I actually like the idea of Clint & Steuart, ditching the whole ” quasi apprenticeship” and forming their own company. They have certainly proved that they can work together successfully.

    Then there’s Fortitude-a classic professional train wreck. The PM has personality conflicts with her staff so rather than put all of her efforts into developing a solid concept and ultimately executing the task successfully, she lets her personal feelings get in the way of her work. How many times have we seen that in the real world? Too many to count. But wait, I’m not even giving Stephanie THAT much credit…not only does she have a hard time navigating the course of professionalism vs personality, her ideas are just horrible! I believe I mentioned in my assessment of task 9, that Stephanie is developing quite the track record for bad ideas and this week she stays the course. Her dismissal of Liza’s ideas-without even thinking about them-shows a true lack of business savvy. In the real world, a smart professional would know how to take their competitor’s good ideas & repackage them as their own.

    Although I’m impressed that she’s still around, Liza still annoys me for a several reasons: She’s one of those people that seems to let things happen rather than make them happen. She has good ideas and seems to have good perceptive skills, but she half-heartedly presents them. She voices her opinion quietly enough that you can barely hear it, but not loud enough to have a real impact. That is definitely a coward move. That alone makes her work in the boardroom all the more taxing. She can’t confidently say, “I made my ideas known to Stephanie, even presented the road map for delivery and she flat out rejected me!” All that Liza has said to date was, “I tried to tell…”, “They wouldn’t let me…”, etc. She doen’t take charge and really plays the back when told to. Then as Donald Jr. noted, tries to step it up when she has an audience. She’s far from a leader with those qualities. I predict she will be one of the two to get the axe this week.

    Stephanie was my choice to get fired and I’m glad that Trump did the right thing. I’m also happy that she admitted (before she knew that she was a goner), that she was a liar-something I’ve said all along about her. Glad to see her gone, but disappointed that she is now working for Trump after she was clearly dishonest on more than one occasion, let her personal feelings impact her play & was weak as a leader. However, this points to the “bounce-back” effect that some groups have, regardless of their offenses. I wouldn’t recommend that Kelly, Gene or Liza try to do the same though. But I digress…

    My final two remain the same, Clint & Brandy. I know some may not agree with Brandy as a choice but think about it: She has managed to fly under & over the radar when needed & enough to remain on the show; she was instrumental in taking out at least one person (Mahsa) and she admitted that her strategy was to eliminate strong competition. Yes, she’s been off her game due to the chemistry & relationship between Clint & Steuart, and yes she chose to ride the fence rather than risk elimination by making a poor decision, but she even gambled correctly in that instance. Here are my predictions: Brandy will step it up & be more impressive than Steuart during the executive interviews. Liza is now on her self-constructed hot seat and won’t have enough time to recover and will be one of the two eliminated contestants. Steuart, while excellent with a strong team, just may struggle and be exposed this week. Clint, I believe has sealed his place in the final two.

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed that we are nearing the end-I can’t believe how much I enjoy reading your assessments & writing my own! Maybe I missed my calling…

  • http://Zovalente.wordpress.com Lorenzo

    Good evening Alfred. Interesting analysis. I’ve actually written an in depth analysis of my own via my blog. Feel free to take a look at it when you get some time. The article is titled “The Apprentice Final 4.” However, while I’m here, I must say that I agree with your pick in Liza vs.Clint would be a good showdown. Personally, I would love to see Clint and Liza go head to head for the ultimate prize. Theorectically, I could actually say the same from a logical standpoint. Brandy really hasn’t been that impressive as of late. Steuart is good, but he seems to be missing that edge a leader carries with him. The authority. Liza has been creative, but she has laid low since task 2, as she was fighting an uphill battle against the “blonde brigade” early on. Now that they are gone, she should have no problem getting her ideas pushed through with more authority, because this is it. It’s either now or never for her to do something highly impressive. If not, she’s going home tonight. As for Clint, on my blog, I’ve already stated that he is the front-runner. However, I think the whole “Mahssacre” situation could come back to haunt him. Maybe its just me, but I really think that was a negative in his favor. You know how Trump feels about loyalty and integrity. Clint afterall-did participate in the very same conversation. It takes 2 to Tango. Well, the show is getting ready to airing in Chicago as I type. I just wanted to type this up to you before it aired. If you’d like to read more of my analysis, just click my gravatar. Have an excellent Thanksgiving!

  • http://Zovalente.wordpress.com Lorenzo

    I forgot to add that on a personal note, I’d like to see the overall winner be Steuart or Liza.

  • Cynthia

    Liza makes it to the final 3! We wait until next week to see if it is either her or Brandy who gets fired. All observers thought that Clint out-maneuvered Liza in the negotiations for product and time slot, and yes Clint got the product AND time slot he wanted – but at Liza was smart enough to pick a product that was easier to sell (watch), with a good price point. The reason for Clint’s failure was price point, and to a lesser extent product selection (although if they had sold 10 more bags Clint’s team would have won).

  • Cynthia

    I forgot to add that Clint definitely makes it to the final 2, and Steuart was fired.

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    Sorry for the delay in response. Been focused on vacation, NFL & Thanksgiving, in that order.
    Nichole, I enjoy your assessments as much as I enjoy writing mine. In fact, I truly enjoyed and appreciate the feedback of Calvin Adolph, Baberdashery and others who have followed my performance reviews of The Apprentice 2010. Thanks to each and every one of you, for each and every comment!
    By now, you know that, unless something totally out of left field comes out next week, Clint and Liza are the Final 2, as I predicted. Steuart was fired, for just the reason I thought he’d be: he’s smart, talented and will be very successful in the future, but he’s just not ready yet. (Sorry, Calvin & Lorenzo). I just can’t see Brandy surviving; she’s been literally phoning it in for three tasks; the best thing anyone can say about her is that she is well-spoken (most of the time). Assuming that’s the case and it’s Liza vs. Clint, it is officially anyone’s job to win. Check for my Task 11 Performance Review!

    • http://Zovalente.wordpress.com Lorenzo

      No need to apologize to me on Steuart. I just personally wanted Liza or Steuart to win the overall contest. Logically, you and I shared the same prediction that, that it would be Liza vs. Clint for the final. If Liza loses to Brandy next week for the final 2 selection, I would not only be shocked, but I won’t care who won between Clint and Brandy. Brandy and Clint remain suspect in perspective from their past dealings. It’s really not too difficult to see from the facial expressions, and other sorts of body language in which they both projected during that whole Mahsa showdown. It’s unfortunate, because up until that point, I thought Clint was a stand up guy, but he took the low road and did not own up to precisely what he actually said or did.
      And what’s with Brandy? In episode 11, she sat in the boardroom like the TX9000 from ‘Terminator 3′. Expressionless and lifeless. I’m not sure what’s going on with her. Maybe it’s just her persona, but she really just doesn’t seem to be into this whole contest most of the time. Even during the task, rather than acting like an employee who would like to get ahead, most of the time they continued to show her on camera passing the buck off to Liza for every decision. Interesting how she all of a sudden became insubordinate towards Liza during the presentation, which clearly did NOT pay off. Instead, the timing was off, making the overall presentation appear very sloppy. But, I’m sure with Liza being the PM, she’ll somehow take the blame for that. I will not be writing a review on the final 2 or any recaps on my blog, for it’s not the central purpose of why I contribute to that journal. Nonetheless, I think I will continue to weigh in on the show here further as you continue to compose your summaries. It’s pretty fun. I’ll miss the regular apprentice once it’s gone for good.(after this current season)

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    Thanks, Alfred, for subtly stating that I incorrectly guessed the final two. Though I still feel like Liza will not become the apprentice (for the very discussion that occurred in the boardroom – RACE; once again it reared its ugly head as Trump tried to get Liza to agree that African Americans aren’t as good at sales as whites). I agree that this will be a better head to head competition (provided that Liza makes the final two). After listening to radio and television hosts comment about the Brandy/Bristol incident, this week’s apprentice was a welcome reprieve. I look forward to your Task 11 review.