Did the Right Person Win Celebrity Apprentice?

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Entertainment May. 23, 2011 AT 10:30AM
Did the Right Person Win Celebrity Apprentice? Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

And Donald Trump's newest Celebrity Apprentice is...

Country crooner John Rich took top honors on Sunday's Celebrity Apprentice finale, beating out Marlee Matlin for this year's title and $250,000 for his favorite charity.

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While the pair remained on a level playing field during the competition, Rich developed a slight edge when he raised additional funds for his charity, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, going into the final task, where he and Matlin had to conceptualize ad designs and host an event touting 7Up's retro campaign.

In the final challenge, Matlin -- who showcased the 1970s by hosting a performance by the Harlem Globetrotters -- strongly impressed Trump and 7Up executives by personally escorting them around the event. Rich, on the other hand, endured a few setbacks during his 80s-themed event, which featured a mini Def Leppard concert. In addition to keeping the audience waiting for the concert to begin, Rich failed to personally greet Trump at the start of his event, a key factor the judging panel didn't take lightly.

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One of Trump's advisors, his pregnant daughter Ivanka, thought the finale could have been anyone's game.

"It could have been a coin toss for who won," she told Us Weekly after Rich's win. "[John and Marlee] played the game so well, with such integrity [and] we didn't have a villain in the finals. It wasn't about gamesmanship. It was really just about heart and passion and fundraising and John Rich is very deserving of it, but Marlee really gave him a run."

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As Rich celebrates raising $1.3 million for St. Jude's, tell Us: Did the right contestant win Celebrity Apprentice?

By Allison Corneau for UsMagazine.com. For more Channel Surfing, click here.

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