Celebrity Apprentice: Finalists Piers & Trace Speak!

Celebrity Apprentice: Finalists Piers & Trace Speak!
Justin Stephens/NBC

03/21/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Celebrity Apprentice is down to the final two! British tabloid editor (and America's Got Talent judge) Piers Morgan, and country music star Trace Adkins have used their business acumen and boardroom battle tactics to impress boss Donald Trump each week to get to get to the final boardroom, where one will be hired and one will be fired. With one week to go before The Donald makes his decision, PEOPLE caught up with the two very different contestants by phone to ask them about their chances of winning, how they got to the finals and how the show has changed them. --Mark Dagostino


Are you surprised to be one of the final two?I am very surprised. When I think back to day one, I look around the room and I didn't recognize half of these who were American celebrities, and they sure didn't recognize me. It was quite clear that there would be a lot of friction amongst the thespians in the group, who are used to having an entourage telling them how wonderful they are all the time, and me, who was telling them about their limitations in life.

Speaking of friction, are you and Omarosa good friends now?She's been emailing me, but I'm not interested at all in having any contact with her again in my life. I'd never heard of her until I came out here. Her only claim to fame is that she is the most unpleasant creature ever unleashed on American TV.

So, you're not going to be pen pals any time soon?I've got an idea for a reality show, which I've suggested to Donald Trump: Celebrity Executions. And Omorosa would have to participate. You choose 10 very annoying, pointless celebrities from reality TV world, and they all scrap it out in challenges. The last one left gets executed on national TV. That would be great! Can you imagine the ratings?

How has the show changed your profile in America?I'm in various cities, doing America's Got Talent auditions at the moment, and it's massively different than what I'm used to. It's been endless coming up and saying things like, "I'm so glad you killed Omarosa." I've gone from being this pantomime villain on America's Got Talent to a national hero purely because I got rid of Omarosa! So I'm quite pleased about that.

What do Americans feel about your, um, frankness?People see it over here as being ruthless and tough. People in Britain don't see it that way at all. I'll go out to dinner with Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsey, and we have a laugh about the way the Americans conceive us to be so vile, because compared to some of the we know in Britain we're actually quite nice.

Who do you think will win Celebrity Apprentice?We'll see what happens. You've got Trace, a classic all-American cowboy who played a very gracious game. He's a good guy. But I personally believe in the end, this is a business game, and the winner should be the person who has displayed the best overall business skills -- winning challenges, pulling in big celebrities, helping the charities. If you add all that up then you have a pretty compelling argument that it should be me.


Are you surprised you are one of the final two?You know, I guess, a little. I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't go into this thing with any preconceived ideas or any delusions that I would win the thing. I just did my best.

Why did you sign on for this in the first place?I actually turned them down when they called me the first time or two. It was really when it was put to me that this was strictly about charity and what an opportunity it would be for me to raise awareness of something I care a lot about. His daughter suffers from food allergies, and his charity is the Food Allergy Network.

What was your strategy to keep winning?Just keep my head down and let them kill each other off. And maybe come up with a decent idea or two every now and then.

What was the most difficult task?I really had a strong dislike for any of the tasks that required going into your Rolodex and begging for money. It's not something I dig doing. That's what got Piers to the finals. That's all that got him here, his ability to call in markers. I don't do business that way. Piers, I guess he's got a lot of who owe him money, I don't know.

Who do you think will win Celebrity Apprentice?It just depends on how they're going to judge the thing, and where they're going to put the most weight. If it's strictly on the money, then I'll probably lose.

Do you have a whole new fan base now?I've had a lot more recognize me. I've been at Disneyworld the last two or three days and getting stopped by in the parking lot. I'm hearing the Apprentice thing a lot. Actually I had a lady in the park today stop me and started crying because she has a kid who has food allergies. So that was a cool thing. This show was a great idea, whoever came up with it.

Justin Stephens/NBC

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