Who will win The Apprentice 2017?
- Credit: BBC
Two candidates remain in Lord Sugar's search for a new apprentice. But really, the winner of this series is Claude Littner on a Segway - once seen, never forgotten
Just who will the finger of fate point at this weekend as Sir Alan Sugar picks his thirteenth apprentice?
James White and Sarah Lynn have survived the show's notoriously evil interview and CV-picking-apart stage in order to win their place in the final ahead of Elizabeth McKenna (bonkers), Joanna Jarjue (angry) and Michaela Wain (awful glasses) – and this is despite the revelation that James was once fired for gross misconduct.
'It just adds to my character,' James told interviewer Linda Platt, seemingly without irony, before adding, even more worryingly, 'I think I've got a natural aura of infectiousness.' Time to employ the anti-bacterial handwash.
Elizabeth's interview was fairly toe-curling: Linda described her as 'exceptionally aggressive', to which she replied 'would you like me to go out and restart because it just appears that the tone here is getting a bit confrontational'. And Joanne was in tears – again – when Claude told her that he was 'astounded you've got to this stage'.
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With Elizabeth and Joanne despatched first, Lord Sugar asked for advice from Karren and Claude before he made his final choice.
When they came back in, he said: 'It's difficult for me, genuinely difficult, to have three very good candidates this year. But at the end of the day there's got to be two finalists. Sarah, you've got a business already, albeit that it's not been exploited to the full I feel, and I struggle in understanding that.
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'The sensitivity I have with you, Michaela, is that our business could start going a little bit downhill and you might lose interest because you've got interest in other businesses – it's human nature. James, you haven't been in business before on your own and I've got people either side of you that have, and you've got a very, very optimistic business plan. Your proposition is quite hard for me to envisage. But Michaela, this business has got to be 100 per cent with me and I don't want you being de-focused somewhere else. So whether I am right or wrong, Michaela – you're fired!'
In tonight's final, White and Lynn will be tasked with project managing the departed candidates in a bid to win the last, most important challenge. The winner will receive a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar, plus his business guidance. But really, we all know that the true winner of The Apprentice 2017 is Claude Littner on a Segway. So here he is.
* The Apprentice continues tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.
Who are the finalists?
Where's he from? James is from Colchester in Essex but moved to Birmingham four years ago after graduating from Keele University. Before he joined The Apprentice series he was earning £200,000 a year and generating £1 million in profit annually for his IT recruitment company but he recently left to start his own company, Right Time Recruitment.
What does he do? James runs his own IT recruitment business. So he presumably recruits people to work in IT. Don't question me on this, I switched off at 'IT'.
Is he modest? Hugely. Not only has he appeared on the catwalk during the tasks, he also rates himself as 'a nine out of 10', adding 'I'll be a 10 as soon as I get back into the shape I want to be in. I'd say I'm a very good looking guy.'
What else does he say? 'People are shocked to see me sometimes because I look quite young. They fully expect me to be in a boy band.'
Will he win? James is the bookmaker's favourite at 4/6. He's also his own favourite, along with his mirror.
Where's she from? She's from London. Where the streets are paved with gold.
What does she do? Sarah runs a confectionary company called Sweets in the City which delivers sweets UK-wide and offers sweets for corporate events.
What's her tactic? 'Just be myself'. This would be the opposite of my tactic.
What else does she say? She compared Sir Alan to a lemon sherbert in her audition: 'He is bright and firm and crunchy on the outside but I think in the middle there's a bit of fizz and bang.' Even worse, she compared herself to Margaret Thatcher: 'I'm tough, I'm a lady that's not for turning, like she was.' Lord Sugar is famously left wing.
Will she win? Well, my husband tipped her from the first episode and he's got the last two Apprentice winners right. He also really likes sweets, which has tipped the balance.