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Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich

Heading into the Celebrity Apprentice finale last night, it was a tight race between country singer John Rich, 37, and deaf actress Marlee Matlin, 45 (she looks great for 45 no?).

In fact Donald Trump revealed that this was his toughest ruling yet in the history of the show. “I’ve never had to go through something like this… You’ve both been amazing,” said Trump to both finalists before announcing a winner.

Ultimately, John, one-half of the country-music duo Big & Rich, came out on top, beating Marlee to earn a $250,000 check for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Marlee had been competing for the Starkey Hearing Foundation charity.

“Today has been an unbelievable day!” said John after his win. “I got Trump to put on a Stetson hat on national television and now I get to drive down to Memphis with a $250,000 check for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

With the exception of Richard Hatch, who is back in prison for tax evasion (much to the delight of David Cassidy), most of the “fired” contestants returned for the live finale. Though noticeably missing was music legend Dionne Warwick.

Of course the Donald had to revisit the whole Nene Leakes vs everyone Star Jones drama. Nene claimed she had moved on and didn’t hold a grudge, only to yell over Star seconds later while Star attempted to answer a question from Trump.

And right before he made the winner announcement, Trump promised to do something he had never done before. What was that you ask? Well while he hired John, he did not fire Marlee. Rightfully so as there were no losers this season with over $3 million raised for charity– a record for the show.

It was also announced last week that Trump will return for another season of the Celebrity Apprentice.

TELL US – HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS? DID THE RIGHT CONTESTANT WIN?

This season of the Real Housewives of Orange County is quickly coming to an end as the finale is set to air next week.

In the meantime, the 12th episode of the season airs tonight on Bravo at 10/9c. Titled “Fashion Victim,” Peggy orchestrates a surprise trip to Las Vegas with her husband. Also there to spin giddy in Sin City: Tamra and Eddie. Meanwhile, Gretchen corners Slade about the debt-related problems of their relationship. And a fashion show is held, but a medical emergency causes a no-show and mounting drama. A preview clip is below.

Watch What Happens Live – The guests are Kara DioGuardi and Gretchen Rossi. Gretchen will also be giving a live performance of her new single.

Meanwhile, the reunion was filmed this week on Tuesday though we can’t help but wonder how interesting it will be, you know, since most of the issues from this season were basically the rehashing of issues from past seasons. Andy Cohen however promises it will be the best OC reunion to date! “JUST wrapped the OC Reunion. I think it was our best OC reunion in 6 seasons. Really dramatic, tense, powerful, and emotional,” he tweeted. Uh uh.

The ladies seemed exhausted with the filming which took over 11 hours. “Holy shit get me out of here!!!! No more reunion taping PLZ,” tweeted Tamra Barney. “Whoa long ass reunion show yesterday! Quite a crazy and emotional day! All us woman sure can fight!,” tweeted Gretchen the next day. As for Peggy Tanous, she took issue with Bravo inviting Slade Smiley and not her husband Micah. She tweeted, “Shootin reunion. Can you all believe they only invited Slade to film & would not even allow Micah to be here with me. What do you all think?”

Some photos from the reunion below as well as some new photos of Alexis Bellino as posted on her facebook page.

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A new winner will be crowned tonight on Celebrity Apprentice as Marlee Matlin and John Rich go head to head!

And leading up to tonight’s finale, Marlee spoke out on the drama involving her fired former teammates Star Jones and Nene Leakes, making it clear she wasn’t a fan. “Whatever the hoopla was that surrounded the relationship they had and whatever drama came, I didn’t choose to involve it in terms of the way I played the game,” said Marlee in a conference call with the press. “Whatever way they decided to deal with each other isn’t what I am about or the kind of person I am.”

Marlee’s comments would explain why she did not choose Star to join her team for the final task. She continued, “Whatever clash that occurred, for me, it got too old too quick. I just decided to focus on the task; it’s not about who I am. Sometimes it overshadowed the purpose and my aim for being there which was to raise money for charity but I would never let it get in the way.”

Marlee then went on to make it clear that she still respects both women. “But they are both women I respect and I know are very vocal and that’s what is great about them,” she added.

Meanwhile, John Rich also revealed a shocking tidbit while talking to the press, which is that he and rapper Lil Jon were actually friends before the Apprentice – something they both failed to reveal on the show!

According to Jon, he met Lil Jon years ago at an awards show. “I remember shaking hands with him at an awards show,” said John. “It wasn’t like we became best friends or anything because we live in different towns, but anytime I was in Atlanta or LA, because he is back and forth between the two towns, I’d always call him, and every now and then he’d be in Nashville and would call me.”

In fact, John called Lil Jon to inform him about joining the CA cast only to discover Lil Jon would also be appearing on the show. “I actually called when I’d decided I would be on Celebrity Apprentice to tell him I’d be on a TV show and might need him to help me out with a task or donation at some point,” said John. “He started laughing and said, ‘Too late, I’m on the same show!’ We just laughed our heads off. At that point I said, ‘This will be fun.”

So can we expect a music collabo from the ‘Jons?’ That answer is a yes! “We actually did record something together and there is a record coming out now called Rich Rocks, and Lil Jon appears as a guest artist,” explain John. “It’s a really cool thing and I’ve had a huge response from all the country fans that are really liking him too.”

The finale/reunion episode begins tonight at 9/8c. Nene, Garey Busey, and the other fired celebs (excluding Richard Hatch who is back in jail) will all be in attendance!

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TELL US – THOUGHTS ON MARLEE & JOHN’S INTERVIEWS? WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR TO WIN TONIGHT?

Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New York City was all about vaginas, vacations, and Pinot… again. Jill Zarin is hosting an anti-bullying fundraiser, and while guests are paying $200 to attend, the irony of Jill championing this event is priceless. Kelly accidentally sees Sonja’s ladybits, Cindy takes her good friends on a “brunettes only” weekend, New Housewife Pinot Grigio high-jacks Jill’s charity event, and sweet LuAnn just wants everyone to get along, dammit!

The episode begins with LuAnn and Sun-yah meeting for lunch to discuss a girls trip. LuAnn is planning to “break the tension” between the ladies. Since this is a classy restaurant, Sonja, predictably arrives straight from the gym with a fur thrown over her sports bra. Sonja states she wants to go to Italy for Truffle Season (that’s a thing?) because “everyone will be there!” Everyone except the NY Housewives, that is, because LuAnn is just so over Italy and wants to vacation somewhere exotic. Somewhere like Morocco, which is the Paris of the Middle East, didn’t you know? Bravo, desperate to capitalize on a repeat of Scary Island, decides Luann must “invite” all the ladies, but LuAnn has some reservations about Kelly being included because no one wants “Scary Desert” on the horizon. Well, no one but Bravo, because ratings are everything dah-ling, so Kelly is IN!

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While her former Housewives costars continue to bicker on Bravo, Bethenny Frankel continues her attempt at world domination by gracing the latest cover of Forbes magazine.

The issue is fitting for the Bethenny Ever After star as it lists the top 100 most powerful celebrities (Lady Gaga takes the #1 spot from Oprah this year). Bethenny comes in at #42 after earning an estimated $55 million from May 2010 to 2011.

Forbes states Bethenny “represents a new breed of media-savvy entrepreneurs, who see reality television not as an outlet to feed their narcissism, but as airtime to promote their products.” Bethenny admits, “What’s the point of being on TV if you don’t have something to sell?” Below are excerpts from Bethenny’s cover story -

How Much Did Bethenny Earn? – According to Forbes, Bethenny sold her Skinnygirl drink line to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for $100 million and not the widely reported $120 mil. The deal features a multi-year payout. When you add in the sales from her expanding line of Skinnygirl products, sources close to Bethenny reveal she earned an estimated $55 million in the past 12 months (Bethenny refused to confirm the numbers). That amount is huge, especially in comparison to the estimated $700,000 she earned from Bravo for her reality show. Bethenny makes it clear this mega success is all still new to her. “Seriously,” she reveals, “it wasn’t until two years ago that I made more than my assistant.”

Growing Up Bethenny – Growing up on New York’s Long Island as the child of top-ranked horse trainer Bobby Frankel, her childhood was far from a fairytale. Bethenny grew up with multiple divorces, allegations of childhood neglect, 13 different schools, and two cross-country moves. “I had my first drink when I was 7 years old; I was betting at the track by 8,” she recalls. “My father never called me on my birthday. He never congratulated me or told me he was proud,” she says, tearing up. Bethenny would go on to attend NYU, graduating with a degree in communications and psychology.

Can Bethenny Crack a Billion? – Bethenny reveals her goal is to turn the Skinnygirl empire into a billion-dollar business. In addition to selling her Skinnygirl drink line, she also has a number of other “Skinnygirl” products in the works. And despite selling the drink line, Bethenny still retains the rights to use Skinnygirl for anything she wishes. “It would be great for Beam to sell Skinnygirl shot glasses as a complement to the cocktail,” she jokes. “But they can’t. Only I can.” New products in the works include a line of Skinnygirl nutritional supplements, with partner Matt Hesse, which has already seen wholesale orders topping $1 million in the first quarter of 2011. Her shapewear is also predicted to bring in $5 million this year (it makes its QVC debut in August). Also in the works — an online personal-training service, a fourth book and a skin-care line called Skinnygirl Face & Body. She is also contemplating soft drinks, sauces and a children’s clothing line.

“It’s a formula,” says Bethenny of the successful brands she launches with strategic partners. “They’re the expert, the formulator, manufacturer. I’m the marketer, the media person, the face–and we each know our roles.” You can read more on Bethenny’s cover story on Forbes.

Meanwhile, following her second season of BEA, Bethenny reveals she plans to lay low until filming on the third season begins in July. “I have really checked out of my own life a lot,” she told PEOPLE. “I’m laying low. I really hit the wall going 90 miles an hour.” She adds, “We’re starting filming in July for season 3, and I need the hiatus.”

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON BETHENNY’S FORBES ARTICLE? DO YOU THINK SHE CAN CRACK A BILLION?

In today’s somewhat surprising news, 16 and Pregnant star Jordan Ward is pregnant again with her second baby.

The Frankly My Dear blog broke the news yesterday stating that Jordan, 18, and Brian Finder found out 10 weeks ago that they were expecting again — a baby girl due in November. The blog reports the news was a shock to the newlywed couple, as they were still adjusting to teen parenthood. Their son Noah turns 1 in July.

According to the blog, Jordan wants people to know she was not trying to conceive but it happened and now they are making plans for the new addition to the family. Jordan also admits she was not on birth control, adding that she’s aware that would have been the responsible thing to do.

After learning they were expecting a second baby, Brian decided to join the Air Force. He is said to have completed all his testing and will begin Basic Training in July. The air force will offer base housing and full medical insurance for everyone in their family. Jordan is said to be worried about the difficulty of not having Brian around but feels this is best for their family.

Jordan has yet to officially confirm the news on her facebook fanpage, but her twin sister Jessica Ward did post a confirmation on her facebook page yesterday. “okay… so its out, and im super excited!:],” wrote Jessica later adding, “im so happy for them! i know its a shocker to hear me say this, but im so glad jordan found a guy like brian, he is a wonderful father and husband!!!”

Jordan reportedly kept the news quiet because she knew how disappointed people would be. While this news is a bit surprising as well as the admission she was not on birth control, guess one can say that in her defense, she is a married woman? Jordan and Brian tied the knot in January of this year. Two photos below from their wedding day.

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THIS NEWS? ARE YOU SURPRISED?

It was adios to Haley Reinhart on American Idol last night.

Just one week before the finals, the 20-year-old Wheeling, Illinois native was voted off the show leaving teen singers Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina to battle it out in next week’s finale. Haley’s elimination also ensures a country artist will win this year.

After taking a nasty fall during one of her final performances on Wednesday, Hailey still managed to give great performances, even receiving praises from judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and guest mentor Beyonce.

Haley is however taking her elimination in stride. “This is the biggest platform anybody can ask for and I rocked it out and had a blast,” said Haley after being voted off. “It’s only the beginning,” she added. The raspy-voiced singer bid farewell with a performance of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.”

And not only are Scotty, 17, and Lauren, 16, both country artists but they also become the youngest finalists in the history of American Idol!

Also, a record 95 million votes were cast this week, over 15 million more than the previous season. The finale airs next week Tuesday and a new winner will be crowned next Wednesday, so the obvious question is…

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TELL US – WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR TO WIN THIS SEASON? SCOTTY OR LAUREN?

While Monday night’s season premiere of the Real Housewives of New Jersey brought us one of the most dramatic fights in reality TV history, the drama continues off screen for Teresa Giudice and her sister-in-law Melissa Gorga.

In fact the two ladies grace the latest cover of Life & Style magazine under the heading “It’s War!” In the issue, Melissa and her husband Joe Gorga discuss the nasty brawl that took place at their son’s christening, and what led to it as they attempt to explain what viewers did not see.

“I was so upset,” Melissa says. “Teresa’s never given us any respect. She was being fake, just acting nice for the cameras.” Joe adds that Teresa did not want to be at the christening and that she only showed up because she was able to finalize her season 3 contract with Bravo right before the event.

“My sister didn’t even want to be there,” Joe tells Life & Style. “She’d just signed her Housewives contract that morning or the day before because she was mad that we were on the show.” Melissa also attempts to shed some light on what led to the rift. “I think when Joe and I started making a lot of money is when she really lost it,” Melissa says. “She was used to being the biggest and the best, and then when I came in, she felt threatened. She doesn’t want anyone to one up her. Teresa’s fine with you as long as you’re one step below.”

Joe adds that the most hurtful part about everything is when Teresa tried to turn their parents against him and his wife. “Teresa would tell our parents ‘Melissa this,’ ‘Melissa that’ or ‘Joey didn’t do this,’ and my parents have never been the same,” Joe reveals. “Her husband talks about me to them all the time, too.”

Despite all the drama, the Gorgas reveal they are still hopeful all parties can come back together. “Things couldn’t get any worse, so I’m hoping it only gets better post-show. Maybe we can become a family again,” Melissa states. Joe adds,” I have wonderful kids, a beautiful house, the whole package– but I don’t have my family. I’m crying out for my family.”

Also a lot of viewers have wondered why the Gorgas invited Teresa despite the bad blood, and in her first Bravo blog, Melissa answers that question. Below is an excerpt -

I think it is extremely obvious when she comes to the table giving us a kiss and saying congratulations for the second time that it was not the norm. You can read it all over all three of our faces. We really were not speaking to Teresa at the time of the christening, but of course I invited her to come, because we always invite each other to all of the children’s parties. I am always invited to her kids’ parties as well, and I will never miss one.

Melissa also promises in her blog that as the season moves along, we will get more of the “back-story.”

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON JOE & MELISSA’S INTERVIEW? DOES IT CHANGE YOUR VIEW ON THE BRAWL & THEIR ACTIONS? DO YOU BELIEVE TERESA WAS FAKING IT FOR THE CAMERAS?

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