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Monday
May232011

Donald Trump Names 'The Celebrity Apprentice' On Live Finale

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump named country star John Rich the champion of this season's Celebrity Apprentice during a live reveal Sunday night in New York City. Trump's decision came in the last seconds of a two-hour show.

In the last task assigned to the two finalists -- designing original ad campaigns for 7Up Retro -- Team Marlee and Team John Rich each ran into roadblocks, with Marlee Matlin's team tangled in a contract dispute with deep-voiced 1970's 7Up pitchman Jeffrey Holder, and John Rich dealing with static from Def Leppard's manager. Holder eventually showed up and Team Marlee's soda commercial was soon in the can. Def Leppard's sticking point -- the use of a kick drum to get the crowd going -- was settled as well, paving the way for the '80s icons to play Rich's launch event.

Team Marlee's presentation featured the debut of their commercial, which featured stock 1970s-outfitted characters and a performance for the soda company execs and others by the Harlem Globetrotters. Team John Rich's presentation featured an ad boasting appearance by former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. However, Rich's unveil event ran aground when he announced Def Leppard fifteen minutes before they agreed to play, leaving an empty stage and everyone -- including Trump -- waiting. Thinking on his feet, the country star grabbed his guitar and started playing, even improvising a song about the real estate mogul. The awkward gap successfully filled, Def Leppard took the stage and performed "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Rock of Ages."

Trump met with the soda company's execs, who told Trump both the disco-themed can designed by Team Marlee, and the '80s zebra-striped can John Rich's team created are being rolled out nationally. Both teams assembled in the boardroom and assessed one another's performance when, to Matlin's shock, John Rich made the surprising announcement he'd generated an additional $275,000 for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at his final event, even though it wasn't a fundraising task.

The remainder of the show was dedicated to the live reveal. Matlin spoke about the barriers she overcame both in life as a hearing-impaired person, while Rich said his "body of work" on the show bested Matlin's.

Trump agreed with son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka that both finalists could not have performed better, and although there are no losers, he still needed to pick one winner -- and he chose John Rich.  The country singer not only earns bragging rights as Trump's latest Celebrity Apprentice, but also won a $250,000 check for his charity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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