‘Celebrity Apprentice’: Winner John Rich Discusses Def Leppard Gaffe, Star Jones Hitting on Him, and Donald Trump In A Cowboy Hat
Country music was totally representing when John Rich, from Big & Rich fame, won this season of Celebrity Apprentice. What makes this so cool is what an advocate John is for a place near and dear to us: St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. John raised a ton of money for the St. Jude and got the victory.
In the end, there could only be one, and although Donald Trump promised to “do something a little different,” he picked the person most people expected he would pick, John Rich, as his Celebrity Apprentice champion. The country crooner chatted with EW.com about his experience on the show, being hit on by Star Jones, burying the hatchet with Busey, and his “hardest task of all,” which had nothing to do with 7UP. Read on after the jump for the full Q&A.
There was a little bit of controversy over you raising $275,000 on what was not a fund-raising task. Marlee seemed taken back by that in the Boardroom.
Well, here’s the thing: I knew that there was some more money out there, and because the finale task was not a fund-raising task I thought to myself, just because it’s not a fund-raising task doesn’t mean I can’t keep accepting money from people. You know, you make the finale and you’re talking about huge exposure, and a huge moment on television, so I kept making calls to the donors and one company that I called was Dollar General who has been a big supporter of country music and St. Jude for a long time, and they had wanted to make a donation earlier but couldn’t get it all done in time because they put such time constraints on you. I called them up and said, “Listen, I made the final two. Are you guys still good for that donation?” And they said yes and they came in there with $250,000, and I don’t know how you leave that on the table. You’re talking about the kids at St. Jude. Anybody that has a problem with that, they just have a problem. You can’t have a problem with that.
Part of being successful is picking the right team of people around you. I thought from the start that you picked a much stronger team with Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and Star. You agree?
Absolutely. Mark, Star, Lil Jon — these people are, in my opinion, all-stars from the season, and I definitely felt like I had an advantage having that kind of brain power. You have the best calculator and strategist on the show in Star Jones, and Lil Jon is obviously the best marketer, and Mark McGrath is like a popcorn machine, just constant energy and different ideas coming out of him. And I agree with you that having a great team around me definitely helped us get that win.
You had a bit of a Spinal Tap moment when you introduced Def Leppard 20 minutes early. Was that your biggest gaffe of the season?
It was a hiccup for sure. I said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Def Leppard!” And there was no Def Leppard. And it really wasn’t their fault. I had just gotten ahead of the time and had a little lapse there for a second. But like I said, if you get a lemon, you make lemonade. So I just grabbed my guitar, which allowed me to open for Def Leppard, which is something that’s pretty cool. I don’t know if I would have ever had the opportunity to open for Def Leppard.