The Apprentice 2012: Week three verdict - Bellissimo!

Belllliiisssiimmo! Rampant sauciness on week three of ‘The Apprentice’ as the men were truly separated from the boys.

Following two weeks of miserable performances from the girls of Team Sterling, Lord Sugar was quick to level the playing field, sending Katie over to Team Phoenix and Duane and Nick over to join the girls.

It appeared as though Lord Sugar was sending the two stand-out guys in the competition (standing out hardly being a difficult thing to do among this lot) to save the girls and test the grit of the other boys. As things turned out this seemed to be exactly the case.

[Related story: Young Apprentice semi finalist gives his thoughts of this weeks Apprentice]

Quick to stamp his manly authority, Duane put himself forward as project manager, selling himself as the potential saviour of the five remaining girls of Team Sterling. Surprisingly the girls didn’t rip him to shreds for the vaguely condescending way he went about this, choosing instead to make him leader.

Fellow team transferee Katie took charge of the boys, quickly mentioning that her application for the show said she believes “men can be manipulated”. As it turns out she did little manipulating and in fact little of anything else.

The task was to make a new condiment, which instantly had me thinking at least one of them would get confused and start thinking they’d been tasked with inventing new condoms. That’s probably an indication of how stupid most of the candidates have come across in the series so far. They completely understood the task though – Phoenix went with a Mediterranean sauce while Sterling settled on making chutney.

Upon making their logo, Katie went from one bad idea to an even worse one. “We’ve stumbled across magic here,” she said, as a logo of a red pepper on a white background apparently made within three minutes on Microsoft Paint was shown on screen. Sterling made something far more respectable.

The most tragic misuse of Adobe InDesign since I was at university

To get an idea of the quality of their product the teams went to a potential buyer. It went wrong for everyone. First Phoenix had a spelling mistake in their product’s name (you say Bellissimo, they say Belissimo)  and Sterling decided to turn up and pitch their product without actually having any of the  chutney on hand. At this point it looked like Phoenix were well ahead though.

Production began and Duane’s team managed to produce all their required stock while Katie’s production team, headed by former professional wrestler Ricky Martin, were left with 1/5 of their target number of stock unmade.

Having failed to make enough product, the Mediterranean sauce Bellissimo (well, technically still Belissimo) had to raise the asking price to an ungodly £3.99, which even in a world where everyone has infinite money would be a hard sell. The slightly annoying Stephen and the quite annoying Ricky did well selling the product at reduced prices however.

*Nick Hewer Face*

Their sub-team, headed by quiet man Michael, ended up being the problem after he refused to cave in and sell a good chunk of his product for a price only a few pence short of their lower threshold. Azhar would eventually wrestle control from him for the next pitch.

In the boardroom the results revealed a huge win for Team Sterling, headed by Duane. They sold 607 bottles to Phoenix’s 305 bottles and the difference in their profits was just as drastic. Katie’s team were dejected and individually readied for a bloody war in the Loser’s Café as the winners went off to Silverstone, where Duane chased the women about, spraying them with… Champagne.

In the boardroom the blame seemed to be spread out quite equally among the group but it was head of the disappointing sub-team Michael and the head of the disappointing production team Ricky who the manager of the disappointing team brought back in with her. Blame could be spread out evenly here but it always seemed that Ricky would be safe in contrast to the quiet Michael and the three-time loser Katie.

Michael decided to fight his corner by bringing out his small-beginnings to whack his competitors over the head with. “I didn’t have a higher education”, “I wasn’t born with the silver spoon in my mouth”, he said before Lord Sugar basically told him to shut up and not play that game. It was perhaps the biggest display of hypocrisy television has ever seen, but also may well have been why Sugar sent Michael packing.

Goodbye Michael, you'll always be remembered for.... err... oh who am I kidding?

At the start Sugar took the two most impressive boys and put them with the girls. As leader, Duane could have done better but he did get the result in the end, Nick on the sub-team did very well, particularly in his handling of the pitch sans actual product. Meanwhile, the boys left behind floundered, seemingly shaken by the presence of a girl in their ranks.

This episode was an entertaining one that also set out some clear favourites in the race for Sugar’s investment. Unfortunately there are only two of them so far and it doesn’t look like anyone else will stand out further down the line, which doesn’t bode well for the end of the series.

Quote of the show: “The chutney-maker has spoken”

Next week: The contestants take a load of rubbish and try to turn it into something worthwhile. An apt metaphor.