The Apprentice: The final five candidates deconstructed

A couple of days ago, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation by two strangers walking in front of me.

A couple of days ago, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation by two strangers walking in front of me. ‘Isn’t it amazing how deluded are all the candidates in ‘The Apprentice?’ was what one of them said. And I think this sentence summarises what pretty much everyone following the show has been thinking since week one.

In week ten of Lord Sugar’s process, we see the remaining candidates much less enthusiastic, struggling to open their eyes in the early hours of the day and genuinely distressed by the fact that the next task might not be their cup of tea. Shouldn’t it be the other way round though? If they were all so confident of their ‘business’ abilities in the beginning of the show, then what is going on now, when they need to be as flawless as possible? They run around like headless chicken, as Lord Sugar said, (his quips are probably the only clever thing that we hear on the show). When they struggle to do simple calculations, they all look like kids that cant tie their shoelaces and are about to throw a tantrum. 

However, there is one of them who isn’t revealing a lot of his anxiety and insecurities. Out of the whole bunch, Adam is probably the one who deserves to win the competition more than anyone else. He is always genuine and is the only one who doesn’t hide his ignorance under layers of business jargon. After all, the best business (according to my understandings) is done with enthusiasm, common sense and honesty. 

Even though Adam’s goofiness alone makes him a trustworthy businessman, I believe he has got a strong competitor in the face of Tom. Apart from the obvious fact that he is quite attractive, Tom knows what he is doing. In the beginning he came across as someone really confident and erudite, but with each week he starts to show how much pressure has influenced him. The fact that he pretty much cried when he found out he was losing control of the art task, diminished a lot of his appeal. It’s really sweet that he gets bright red and is on the edge of tears every time Lord Sugar talks to him in the boardroom, but let’s face it – that is not the level confidence and emotional charge that you would want to see in your business partner.

When it comes to Jade and Nick, they made fools out of themselves this week. It was such a disgrace when Jade said she could only calculate round numbers. I could do that as well and so does everyone. In fact, most of the tasks we would all be able to perform. The only thing required is, as the restaurant owner said to Jade and Nick, – ‘a sense of intelligence and understanding’. And although Nick has been hiding from the spotlight for a while, I think both him and Jade lack those two senses and have been looking a bit perplexed for the past couple of weeks.

Ricky, however, is one of those characters that make you wonder if he really is as sharp as he seems or he is just lucky. Either way, he has done well so far. He shuns away from the dramatic arguments and at least tries not to pull the ‘I-am-so-horrified-of-getting-fired’ face.

After ten weeks of a lot of silent nodding, misconceptions and tons of pointless and unrelated business terminology, the candidates look like someone has squeezed out their energy and enthusiasm. Apart form Adam, I think that hardly anyone will defeat the pressure of not being in their ‘comfort zone’.  We’ve heard that phrase (or it’s variations) from almost every candidate, so many times, that it makes us, the viewers, think: ‘You know what, if I was in your place, I wouldn’t be in my comfort zone either, but I would still be able to, at least try, and react adequately and with a sense of intelligence and understanding.’