The Apprentice: Week 5: Students disappointed by Duane’s dismissal flag-up flaws in the firing format

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In week 5, students warmed-up for the fitness task with more predictions. They got their adrenaline pumping with frustration and amusement at the candidates’ carry-on, and cooled-down with reflections and scrutiny of the fifth victim, of one of Lord Sugar’s boardroom beat-downs…

The Student Room warmed up for episode 5 with another ’round’ of predictions on The Apprentice 2012 thread.

‘I predict:

- Ricky brings up being a boxer at least twice;

- one of the teams will develop a regime advised against by experts (a la Everydog);

- equipment fails to work or gets broken;

- advertising material that looks like one of those dance-exercise videos washed up celebrities were all into making a few years ago;

- I would say people look like morons, but that happens every time so… Just the top four.’

In episode 5, ‘Keep Fit’, Lord Sugar put the candidates through their paces by challenging them to develop, and brand, new fitness class concepts to pitch to selected gyms in the hope of selling the rights to run them.

Round 5 Feedback

  • Leadership

Health Clubs Sales Manager, Stephen, showed he had the training to take the strain as project manager for Team Phoenix, while Ricky Martin flexed his muscles and successfully wrestled Jenna out of the leadership of Team Sterling.

‘Ricky Martin, championship wrestler. That’s a name and title I’d never thought I’d see together.’

  • Fit for purpose

‘I think you’d rather forget Swing-a-Ling…’

‘Beat Battle? Makes it sound too war-like, I wouldn’t want to take part in that.’

Initially students were reluctant to commit to either teams’ routine, viewing both as more suitable for kids than as an adult workout. There was also some dispute about whether there was really much difference between the concepts.

‘Yes, it’s so unique both teams are basically doing the same thing…’

‘Are they? Martial arts workout and an 80s dance theme workout? Don’t seem very similar to me.’

During the video production, posts also anticipated disaster in the discrepancy between the martial arts theme and the prevalence of dance moves in the routine, in addition to Duane’s directorial dictatorship.

‘Pfft, stepping away from your punches. That’s no martial art. Ricky’s not going to be happy.’

‘Duane needs to approach his team members differently’

  • The Boardroom Battle

‘This task was bad. A win completely by accident.’

Despite the boardroom revelation of Team Phoenix’s victory, there was a sense that neither team had really reached their potential in this task, and that if anything, ‘Beat Battle’ had been the victim of a ‘Groove Train’ robbery. Even Stephen’s expertise appeared flawed in his failure to account for the space requirements of the additional equipment.

‘Where would we keep them all?’ Credit to Tom there.’

‘Duane’s right, they were cheated. They should have won, and would have if someone in the third gym hadn’t done some of their marketing for them. They essentially got scouted and won because of that, not because of their ideas or marketing.’

When it came to facing the music, most students objectively predicted a showdown between the members of Duane’s video production sub-team.

‘I think Duane is going back into the boardroom, along with … Maybe Nick, I think it’ll come out that he didn’t do a whole lot. Laura maybe for making it so dance-y.’

Others let their emotions influence their decision and expressed a mixture of hopes and fears about which of the remaining members of Team Sterling had had their last dance.

‘Based on who I find most annoying, I want Jenna to go. Her voice kills my soul.’

‘I think Gabby might go.’    /    ’Not Gabrielle, please.’    /    ’phewwwwwww, Gabby is safe.’

Ultimately, Ricky flanked himself with Duane and Laura and students anticipated it would be one of the latter two to go.

‘Duane to go I reckon’

‘It’s not Laura’s fault… Surely it’s more down to the editing?’

‘No, I don’t think Ricky should go – he made it clear that the martial arts was a big factor, Laura made it that dance-y.’

  • Feedback

‘Wrong person…’


‘Joke and shambles of an episode. Duane shouldn’t have gone’

One thing that did have the majority of students dancing to the same tune was their shared disapproval of Duane’s dismissal.

‘but Duane gave the girls their first victory…that’s gotta count for something’

Irrespective of those who predicted his departure, students were overwhelmingly disappointed and viewed him as a strong candidate who had offered and was likely to continue to offer a lot to the process.

‘…the Lord said he took into account past weeks? I’ve watched every other week and Duane has impressed whilst Ricky has done nothing.’

There was also growing antipathy towards Ricky because of his behaviour despite his name having endeared him to student viewers in the earlier stages.

Ricky is a slimy little weasel, but he’s good at what he does. Duane was unlucky. He was one of the few which have really stood out.’

In addition to the negative responses to Duane’s exit, some students criticised the format of the show which they hold responsible for the early exit of many of the big characters this series.

‘I think this series is the worst yet, because this has happened so many times – teams winning purely on chance and LS having to find any reason to fire someone.’

‘Disappointed with the result, There are a lot of people who should have gone ages ago still here out of pure luck.’