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Shocking Elimination / The Apprentice

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US version:

     Season 2 
  • Arguably Brad; while giving up the immunity was stupid, it's just downright absurd to fire him for it, since it was unprecedented and Brad was one of the stronger contestants in Apex.
  • Stacie J., when Trump fell for Apex claims that she's crazy just because of her shaking a Magic 8 Ball over any task contribution.
  • Pamela was forced by Trump to switch to Apex as the PM when they were on a losing streak, and was fired for losing the task, despite losing by a small margin (by $10). Though she did admittedly dig her own grave in the final boardroom by refusing to acknowledge that she had messed up with the team's pricing; had she actually done so, odds are that Stacy R., who looked near-certain to be fired going into the boardroom, would have gone instead.
  • Andy, due to not wanting to argue with the remaining 2 contestants, which Trump saw as not having any fight due to him being a debate champion.

     Season 3 
  • Angie. Her reason of firing in her final task was flubbing at the presentation. Which was really minor compared to Chris, who failed at doing the only job in the task, keep hold of the company credit card.

     Season 4 
  • The infamous 4-way firing of Josh, Jennifer M., James, and Mark. It was the first time more than one person was fired in the same week, so seeing that many people go at once was a surprise, even if each one had a good reason on their own to be fired.
  • Marshawn's firing wasn't that surprising in the context of the episode itself, seeing how she backed out of the team's presentation less than 20 minutes beforehand and then brazenly lied about it to Trump in the boardroom. It was more of a shock in the overall context of the season though, as she and Randal were until that point widely considered the two clear frontrunners.

     The Apprentice: Martha Stewart 
  • Amanda in Week 9. Marcela had just lost as project manager for the second time after completely ignoring the suggestions of her team-mates, then brought Ryan back into the boardroom solely to spare her friend Leslie from possible firing. However, Martha latched onto Amanda's comment that she "didn't support" Marcela (by which she almost certainly meant that she didn't agree with the decisions she was making), accused her of deliberately undermining Marcela's project manager role, and then fired her for it.

     Season 5 
  • Andrea. True, she had produced a poor brochure and didn't mention her bulk sales skills until it was way too late to matter... but then team leader Allie should have been around to supervise the brochure (she got stuck on Ellis Island due to a screw-up when the team was doing research), and never even considered the possibility of selling to businesses. More importantly, prior to that task Andrea had done nothing but turn in one awesome performance after another, and this was the first time she had done anything wrong.
  • Roxann's dual-firing with Allie after the final regular task of Season 5. No-one at all complained about Allie's firing (the only shocking thing about it being that she had lasted so long in the competition), but many felt that Roxann's firing was unfair, given that she had been a far stronger candidate than Allie throughout the season, and every single thing that caused their team to lose was Allie's fault. It was widely theorized that Trump had already decided that Sean and Lee were going to be the two finalists, and just decided to ditch Roxann to save time on an interview week.

     Season 6 (Los Angeles) 
  • Derek. He was doing fine, both in terms of the season and the episode, when he suddenly called himself "white trash." He claimed he was joking, but Trump wasn't able to believe him, and he fired him for it.

     Celebrity Apprentice 2 (Season 8) 
  • Tom Green in Celebrity Season 2. Sure, he came up late and very drunk despite being the PM, but at least it was more better than Dennis Rodman, who contributed nothing in that task.
  • The double elimination of Khloe Kardashian and Tionne Watkins. Prior to their firing, both of them got 1 win as project manager each. In their final boardroom, they were eliminated over Melissa Rivers and Clint Black, who did worse. What seals the deals is that both of their reason for being fired is nothing related to their contribution of the task. For Tionne, it was because she volunteer to go to the boardroom. For Khloe, it was because she had a DUI, that she had a year ago. Ironically, had Trump just fired Khloe for being ineffectual and invisible throughout the season, chances are very few people would have complained.

     Season 10 
  • Anand's Non-Gameplay Elimination at the start of Week 9. In the first eight weeks had had been one of the most consistently strong candidates in the group. Then, Trump suddenly dragged all the candidates into the boardroom prior to the task announcement, revealed that Anand had attempted to cheat in an earlier task by trying to get his friends to pose as customers and buy from his team, and then fired him. While it's not surprising that Anand was fired for a rule breach, it was so out of the blue that even the other contestants were left totally stunned.

UK Version:

     Series 1 
  • Miriam; she had been a strong candidate through the series, was the best-performing member of her team, and her colleagues Tim and Paul were responsible for choosing the poorly-selling products and production errors during the broadcast. Sir Alan's decision to fire Miriam came out of the blue, shocking not only the viewers but the other candidates; he was shown afterwards wondering if he'd made a mistake, and later apologised to Miriam for firing her.

     Series 2 
  • Karen; she led her team to a crushing victory on the first task, and even though they nearly got into serious trouble for selling overripe food, it was noted they would still have won by a decent amount even if they had bought all their produce at full-price. Two weeks later, she was casually fired because Sir Alan "didn't need another corporate lawyer," despite the fact she hadn't really done anything wrong on the task. The firing was so out of the blue that it ended up being re-filmed to make it look like she was being fired for being too soft, an equally spurious reason.
  • The following episode may also count, as Sir Alan fired Alexa despite the fact it was Syed who had been responsible for blowing the budget by ordering 100 chickens — though for his part, Syed strongly defended himself in the boardroom, while Alexa just sat there with a deer-in-the-headlights expression. Sir Alan admitted he wanted to fire both of them, and partly for this reason, multiple firings were permitted in subsequent series (which they weren't in the first two).

     Series 3 
  • Jadine. Not so much in terms of the actual task, as she had contributed next to nothing (though it should be said that team leader Tre got off lightly for several major blunders), but she had been seen as one of the favourites for much of the series due to her strong-willed personality, even if she had a Hair-Trigger Temper. Then in Week 9 she suddenly fell apart because she was missing her daughter, causing Sugar to reluctantly fire her.
  • Naomi the following week. Despite Simon's part in the infamous trampoline incident the same week, and Tre doing a horrible job of presenting, Sugar fired her for choosing bad products. Admittedly she'd never been overly impressive in the prior weeks, while Simon and Tre had moments of greatness, but Sugar never seemed to think it might be Simon's fault for doing a spectacularly awful job of selling the products.

     Series 4 
  • Shazia. For the most part she'd done a decent job organizing the team, while project manager Jenny was too busy bragging about her sales skills (instead of actually demonstrating them) and behaving like a huge Jerkass toward Lucinda and Sara. Lord Sugar fired her anyway because she'd lost a few items of clothing.
  • Raef. He had screwed up pretty badly on that particular task, but prior to that he had been a popular and strong performer and most viewers had expected he would be spared in place of Michael, who it was agreed was completely useless and now in his third consecutive appearance in the boardroom. On You're Fired!, Adrian Chiles went as far as to call Michael an "odious little twat". Michael was finally fired in the next episode.

     Series 5 
  • Maj. While James and Ben were more to blame for the spectacularly lopsided defeat, Sir Alan was reluctant to fire either of them. Ben had designed a horrible product and not listened to the instructions given by James, but he was the only person on the design team who had actually made any effort, while James' only real mistake was not supervising the design team to make sure his instructions were carried out. Maj was then fired for failing to contribute to the tasks; it should be noted that Nick Hewer disagreed with the decision.

     Series 6 
  • Liz. Although she had lost her way in recent weeks, she had shown to be very good at sales. On the other hand, Stuart had constantly irritated both viewers and the other candidates with his cocky attitude and he was mediocre at best on the tasks. But Lord Sugar was impressed with the fact Stuart ran a telecoms business and decided to give him another chance. The following episode, Lord Sugar was furious to discover that Stuart had in fact lied about the size of his business on his CV. He fired Stuart and openly regretted the decision he had made the previous week.

     Series 7 
  • Vincent was a mild example. His leadership was actually pretty competent, with the team only really losing because they didn't pick a specific target audience for their dog food. However, he then committed a fatal mistake by not bringing Jim, who advocated that decision, into the final boardroom. Ellie was fired for having stayed in the background on all the tasks so far, only for Lord Sugar to then fire Vincent as well. What made this all the more shocking was that it was the first multiple-firing in several years, with the previous two only having taken place due to exceptional circumstances (Ifti committing Suicide by Cop in Series 3, and then Jenny trying to bribe a shop in order to sabotage the other team in Series 4).
  • Glenn. In the final boardroom with him that episode was project manager Jim, who Sugar flat-out said had only avoided being fired two episodes prior because then-project manager Vincent was too spineless to bring him back. Also in the boardroom was Susan, who despite Sugar clearly having a soft spot for, had been accused of not contributing for the second week in a row. Sugar had more reason to fire either of them than Glenn... but got rid of him anyway solely because he believed an engineer had no place trying to run a business. He even implied that Glenn would have been fired as early as the second task, if not for him happening to be in the same boardroom as the completely useless Alex.

     Series 8 
  • Jenna was a borderline example. Though it's true she directed a laughably awful commercial which single-handedly cost her team a task they would easily have won, many viewers (and the whole You're Fired panel) thought her team-mate Stephen was more at fault for letting her direct the bad commercial without contributing anything, as well as generally being an obnoxious jerk, and that at the very least it should have been a double-firing with both of them exiting.

     Series 9 
  • Neil, albeit a self-inflicted example. He was considered the best candidate from that year's bunch, albeit just ahead of three very strong fellow candidates in Leah, Luisa and Francesca, but dealt his chances a fatal blow by presenting quite possibly the second-worst business plan ever seen on the show.note  Sugar gave him a chance to present another one, but he refused to do so and was immediately fired (though Sugar subsequently said he would have been fired even if he did submit a better plan, since the three women had all submitted excellent plans on their first attempt).
  • Alex in Series 9, if in part because Myles was the one who directly led to his team's defeat. The latter was the one who chose the Deadly Dinners theme, who inspired the former not to listen to market research and basically caused the product marketing to fall apart, yet somehow survived the boardroom afterwards (at least until the next episode's defeat rolled around)

     Series 10 
  • Lauren. While her pitching style left a lot to be desired, the failure of the product (a soft drink aimed at the American market) was largely put down to the poor branding. Which Lauren had nothing to do with, being a part of the New York team managing the television advert and pitching.
  • Katie. While she certainly did mess up on the last regular task by creating a horrible-tasting saffron trifle that would never have been even remotely profitable, an even more disastrous error considering that she wanted to create a chain of healthy eating restaurants, prior to that task she was one of two candidates (the other being Roisin) who were considered the overwhelming favourites to win that year. Many felt that her team-mate Mark should have been fired instead for his generally inferior track record, poor branding work on the trifle and giving a laughably awful pitch to a major supermarket, and that Katie should have been given a chance to create a new business plan for the following week's interview round.
  • Roisin herself in the following episode, in much the same manner as Neil from the previous year. She proposed a business plan that wasn't actually that unique and worse still, wanted to use up the entire £250,000 investment in just two months. This, along with the fact that she made it clear in the boardroom that she was still absolutely dedicated to that particular plan, got her fired.
  • To a lesser extent, Solomon's firing in the same episode. He was considered a pretty capable candidate and was commended by Claude Littner for having the most mature CV handed in to him throughout the show's running, but offered up a business plan that looked as if it had been written by a small child, resulting in a firing only slightly less stinging than Stuart's legendary dismissal back in Season 6.

     Series 11 
  • Ruth. She was considered one of the early favourites due to her strong sales on the first task and being the only person on her team who had a clue in the advertising task that followed, but in the fourth task she suddenly fell apart, sold nothing and got fired.
  • Scott in a later episode, who despite being on the winning team for that week, eliminated himself by choosing to leave the process.

     Series 12 
  • Aleksandra; she had been a middle-of-the-road performer in the first three tasks, and then suddenly quit the show at the start of the fourth task, claiming that she was missing her family too much to continue.
  • Karthik, who was fired before being given the chance to bring anyone back into the boardroom. The firing was so quick, in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, that it left many viewers wondering whether it actually happened.
  • Trishna; for much of the season she had been one of the better performers despite having an argumentative personality, and was one of the favourites to win after a victory as project manager on the penultimate task. The following week she got a firing that, while not totally unjustified (she insisted on adding a colouring to the team's gin that the potential buyers hated), was still shocking considering that team leader Grainne had lost her phone, gotten drunk early in the task, and then exploded at team-mate Frances when she tried to give some legitimate advice.
    • YMMV example as Trishna was clearly hung over during a pitch causing loud interference in the background, contradicts Frances about changing the colouring of the gin and then dieing it orange as mentioned before.

     Series 13 
  • Siobhan; in this case, it was the fact that her team even lost in the first place that was contentious, as many felt that judging the task purely on profit was unfair, and that the winner should have been determined partly (if not solely) on customer satisfaction, which her team almost certainly did better on than the others.note  Aside from that, some believed that Joanna should have gone over Siobhan, as she had contributed next to nothing on all four tasks until that point (though to be fair, Joanna would go on to deliver arguably the best project manager performance of the season thus far the following week).
  • Sarah-Jayne; not that she was an especially good project manager in Week 6, but it was widely felt that either Andrew, who had sold their tour of Bruges with Blatant Lies and generally acted like an unprofessional dolt throughout the task, or Charles, who had proved consistently weak on all the tasks to date and was in the final boardroom for the second time so far, were more deserving of the chop.
  • Sajan the following week. He definitely made his fair share of mistakes when directing the TV advert and letting himself be browbeaten by Elizabeth when it came to editing it, but his share of blame for the task could be seen as minimal next to James's lack of leadership, Joanna's trademark negativity and Elizabeth's overbearing personality- the latter so much so that after James had chosen Sajan and Joanna for the final boardroom, Lord Sugar actually bent the rules of the game and added Elizabeth to the final boardroom as well, only to not fire her and give Sajan the boot instead. Needless to say, on his appearance on You're Fired, the panel and audience were nearly unanimous in agreeing that Sajan should not have been fired.
  • Michaela in the interview round. While her performance throughout the process hadn't been flawless by any means, she seemed to be one of the strongest of the final five candidates, only for Lord Sugar to give her the chop because he was worried that she had too many other businesses. While Sugar has fired other candidates in the interview round for the same reasons (including Richard in Series 11), many still felt that Michaela more deserved to be in the final.

    Series 14 
  • Rick; he'd been pretty anonymous during his time on the show, but Kurran had been one of the most consistently useless candidates seen on the series for many years. However, Kurran pulled the "make me a project manager and I'll prove myself" gambit, and Lord Sugar let the axe fall on Rick instead. In addition to this, project manager Jackie had chosen to bring in Kurran and Kayode for the final boardroom, only for Lord Sugar to bring the entire losing team back. Adding insult to injury, Kurran flopped spectacularly as project manager the next week, and was fired.
  • Kayode. Early in the series he was considered one of the strongest candidates, leading his team to victory in Week 1 and selling the most out of his team in Weeks 3 and 4. While he did become a Broken Ace from Week 5 onwards, many still felt that Tom should have been fired instead, for failing at a gardening task despite being a tree surgeon and failing twice as a project manager showing a lack of leadership.
  • Jasmine. Again, she was felt to be one of the strongest candidates. In Week 8, while she lost as project manager for the second time, she sold the most out of her team while Tom, who had only just avoided being fired the previous week, sold nothing whatsoever and did not contribute much. Needless to say, many thought Tom should have been fired instead of Jasmine, who was fired over Tom for being too corporate while Tom had his own business. Once again, to add insult to injury, in the next week Tom lost as project manager for the third time, leading to Lord Sugar firing him immediately once the results were announced.
  • Sarah Ann. She had been one of the most consistent of the candidates who were still in by this stage, while Camilla had just lost badly as project manager, and made the cardinal mistake of sending a less-qualified team member (Sarah Ann) to do a job that she herself should have done, with Daniel also having had a major hand in coming up with the branding that the retailers hated. Despite this, Sarah Ann was fired for screwing up a job that by Lord Sugar's own statements she should never have been given in the first place.

    Series 15 
  • Riyonn. While he hadn't done much during his time on the show, Jemelin had been an absolutely abysmal project manager that week, and Ryan-Mark had displayed some incredibly two-faced behaviour in forcing the project manager's role on Jemelin and then going back and forth on whether or not she had been a good project manager in the boardroom. Instead, Riyonn was fired, with Sugar just giving a vague reason as to how he hadn't been convinced that Riyonn could run a business.


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