Armed with the worst chippie I have ever had I welcomed the new series of the Apprentice tonight, it was a classic. Another series of terrible decisions and catfights galore, this episode had plenty and all with an unexpected outcome in the end.
Having followed the Apprentice since the start of its run I would like to call myself a mini expert who enjoys predicting what the show has in stall for us, ultimately the task is to guess who out of the incompetent are fired. In the unfortunate circumstance Bilyana, Gabrielle and Katie were placed in the firing line. Gabrielle, our resident architect (woo, the first of our bunch), lead the terribly named group Sterling. She showed passion and dedication during the task but ultimately her lack of strategy and management skills let her down. Bilyana was the resident sorority girl, she reminded me a lot of Melody from Series 7 because they both shared the same passion of loving to talk about their achievements in the most annoying way. She was brought into the boardroom for supposedly grating on others and taking the team on a wild-goose chase outside London Zoo. Finally we have Katie, the quiet competitor who seemed a bit too quiet but supposedly it was her way of blowing people out of the water (as seen on her profile page).
Out of this trio I had firm belief that Katie would be the perfect candidate to fire after Lord Sugar's constant reminder that he didn't want anybody to hide. If not Gabrielle was responsible for the lack of coordination on the day (however much it pains me to see an architect be fired first). But in fact Bilyana was the first contestant sent packing, I was rather shocked. The reason she left was not because of her abilities nor because she annoyed others it was because she didn't listen to Lord Sugar, not knowing when to shut up is one of the worst sins to have, as seen in previous contestants like Paloma Series 6. But it was also because I think Lord Sugar concluded that if given the chance Bilyana is the type to happily stab anyone in the back to get to where she wants, as is how I interpreted Lord Sugar's last few comments on Bilyana. However Bilyana is what makes great TV, the way she was portrayed this episode did not give any indication that she would be the first sent packing and I was ready to see many a catfight between her and the other strong-headed women, such a missed opportunity.
This episode followed quite the same recipe to past episodes of the Apprentice ultimately the better design, Team Sterling's, lost to the better salespeople Team Phoenix (who the hell came up with these names?) Sterling had a much more interesting concept but sadly in a one day task like this minimising your target audience immediately means you've lost a lot of potential customers whilst Phoenix really were capable of selling to any passersby, especially tourists. Besides that I think there was very little separating the two teams. Both had rather weak PMs but in a task like this they might as well be invisible because it's almost all about selling. Nick's laughable plot of selling small teddy bears for £15 to unsuspecting passersby was a shocking move remedied later by "Shadow PM" Stephen. For the girls the decision to move to London Zoo might have seemed a great idea but it meant competition with existing merchandise; trying to catch a big sale here would have been much more difficult and required much more strategy than at Greenwich Market. They also spent a lot of time travelling there thus losing a lot of trade. This led to Bilyana uprooting the girls somewhere else, ultimately this was not why the team failed and thus not the reason why Lord Sugar fired her because whilst she made a navigation error she made the right decision to move the girls on if they were failing to sell in the zoo.
However what ceases to amaze me was how the boys managed to shift their dodgy bags. What was even more distressing to see was when the girls' sub team tried to flog their merchandise to a store owner. Many a time we have seen rather bemused store owners happily buying the candidates remaining stock but this store owner was having none of it and was instead left rather harassed to the extent the girls were giving a telling off by what I expect to be the husband. It was simply chaotic in there, Bilyana's nature of holding on was annoying but this was exacerbated when Jenna and Katie also felt the need to raise their voice.
All in all the episode was amusing but ultimately I felt very few came out of it looking good. Out of the remaining 15 Jade has left the biggest impression, both positively and negatively - I love the way she speaks! Whilst Jane and Maria are also looking like good competition however it's near eliminated candidate Katie who intrigues me, for some odd reason I believe she'll have a redemption ala Helen Series 7 and show us she's not as meek as we'd expect. None of the guys really showed up today, at least not 'Boris Johnson' lookalike Nick. If anyone out of the boys seemed to have a brain it was Duane. Obviously I'm going to support the architect Gabrielle but I've still to find someone I truly like. However still disappointed that Lord Sugar let Bilyana go, I think she had potential not only as a winner but also as great TV.
NB. Does anyone think Jane looks and sounds a bit like Catherine Tate