Arsenio Hall captured the title of "The Celebrity Apprentice" on the finale of Donald Trump's business-themed reality show on Sunday, beating runner-up Clay Aiken, who suffered his second major reality show upset since he lost the title of "American Idol" in 2003.
Previous "fired" contestants, such as Lisa Lampanelli, Dee Snider and Aubrey O'Day, were brought back to the live "Celebrity Apprentice" finale to reminisce about the past fifth season. Aiken, who lost to Ruben Studdard during season 2 of "American Idol," had said he "didn't want to come in second on another TV show."
In the boardroom, he told Trump that his mother was in the audience, adding: "She sat through me losing one time before and I really don't want to have her sit through it again."
"I came in with people not knowing that I could be productive and creative and be a leader and I think that I showed that I can be," Aiken said
The pop singer, who has acquired a massive fanbase since his days on "American Idol" and had also performed on Broadway, sang a duet with Hall on the finale. Backed by a gospel choir, the two performed "Lean On Me."
In the boardroom, Hall, a comedian and actor known for his roles in films such as "Coming To America," who also once headed his own talk show, cited his past experience as a businessman and his covers on publications such as The Wall Street Journal. He told Trump and the other contestants: "I have lived the life of 'The Apprentice.' I just need the title now."
He said it was "very important" to him and addressed Aiken's previous reality show loss, adding: "I want to be No. 1. I know that we've heard about 'Idol' many times. But you know, when I was battling against ["Tonight Show" host] Johnny Carson, I was No. 2. I need to be No. 1."
"Did I tell you that when I was little, they called me 'Skinny Ruben?'" he joked to Aiken.
Aiken had actually raised more funds for charity than Hall. Aiken raised $301,500 for the group he chose to back - the National Inclusion Project, which helps children with disabilities, while Hall raised $167,100 for his charity, the Magic Johnson Foundation, which helps to educate about HIV and AIDS and offers social services for ethnically diverse, urban communities.
Hall is the first black winner of "Celebrity Apprentice" and his prize is a donation of an extra $250,000 to his supported charity. The previous winners are rock star Bret Michaels, country singer John Rich, comedienne Joan Rivers and television personality Piers Morgan.
Aiken responded to his loss on Twitter, saying: "Disappointed with another 2nd place finish?? ;-) Make your voice be heard by making a donation at http://www.inclusionproject.org.
After his win, Hall was congratulated on Twitter by fans and other celebrities such as La Toya Jackson, who also competed on "The Celebrity Apprentice," and Paula Abdul, formerly of "American Idol" and "The X Factor." Hall made a "Coming to America" reference on Monday, saying on his Twitter page: "It's a beautiful day in ZAMUNDA!!!"
"@ApprenticeNBC is a REALity TV show," he added. "@clayaiken is my baby brother for life! AND THAT IS REAL!!!"
Correction: In the May 21 story above, the figures Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall raised were reversed. This version of the article has been updated to reflect the correction.