Viewers of last night’s ‘The Apprentice’ were left wondering exactly how Jessica Cunningham was still in the boardroom and her team-mate Natalie Hughes was fired, after what was possibly the weakest performance in the show’s history.
For the second week’s task, both teams had been required to devise and manage an advertising campaign for a pair of jeans, something that sent Nebular team leader into an epic meltdown on day one, with Karren Brady having to step in and advise her to step outside, collect herself - while her teammates plotted how best to ignore her instructions.
Neither Nebular nor the boys’ team Titan were at remotely organised - the girls forgetting the jeans, the boys failing to deliver an interactive ad - and in a shock first for the show, Lord Sugar decided that neither team had actually won the task. A pity as this was his favourite week, as he kept reminding us.
He called both teams “not so much Mad Men, more demented dimwits” and sent them both home without a treat in sight.
He ranted: “I am not putting my name to either of those advertising campaigns. They’re useless, both totally, absolutely useless. I feel so angry that not one of you geniuses came through and ran this thing properly.
“There’s no winner here. It’s never happened before on this particular task.”
This meant someone from both teams was in the firing line, with Karthik looking particularly vulnerable after falling out happily with everyone, including his team-mates Mukai and JD, and with Lord Sugar who termed him “a loose cannon”.
Somehow, Jessica - despite having to be reminded to “take a breath” again by Karren - lived to see another day, perhaps because she breathlessly told Lord Sugar she wanted to be his business partner “more than anybody else”.
Instead, it was Natalie Hughes who got the wrong end of his firing finger, for basically not doing very much, good or bad.
Lord Sugar told her:
“For a potential business partner of mine, Natalie, you’ve been a bit quiet, you’ve not been pushing yourself forward. It is regretful that this is only the second week but Natalie, you’re fired.”
The lesson other candidates can take away from Natalie’s exit over that of either Jessica or Karthik? It doesn’t matter what you say to your colleagues or in the boardroom, as long as you say SOMETHING. If that’s the criteria, then we have two of our final candidates already. Watch this space.