A relieved cheer went up over the Quinn household last night as Syed was finally fired from The Apprentice. A few weeks ago I said I expected Sharon and Tuan to be the next ones to be sacked and expressed the concern that Syed would win the thing; in the event I was spot on about the first two but by last week I had changed my mind about Syed. We never saw his redemption as predicted by Heat magazine’s Mark Frith, but up against Ruth and Tuan in last week’s boardroom I thought I could see the writing on the wall. Syed could survive against a nonentity like Taun, but head to head against someone of Ruth’s calibre and I couldn’t see him staying, and that is how events turned out.
Week by week Syed revealed himself to be an empty vessel. His main talent, as far as I could discern, was an incompetence verging on the illegal; by not collecting the right keys when letting a flat, to claiming a car would increase in value when selling to a customer, to forgetting to write the contestant’s names on the backs of raffle tickets he had sold and then considering not entering those tickets into the draw when he realised his mistake (or rather when Ruth pointed it out to him). The only thing that Syed could say in his favour was that he was a good salesman, but even there I found him unconvincing and amateurish; only his ludicrous self-confidence helped him out, forcing him to keep going well past the point where I would have thrown in the towel, and so enabling him to get sales more by persistence and the law of averages than by genuine ability. Such perseverance is valuable, but I think it can only get you so far.
But enough about Syed; I imagine that, beyond a brief stint on the Z-list celebrity circuit we have seen the last of him and we can allow him to get down to honing his “genius”, as he intoned straight faced on last nights “The Apprentice: You’re Fired”. Two weeks left to go on The Apprentice then, and if there is any justice it will be Paul and Ruth in the final. Michelle seems like a little girl, out of her depth and lucky to be there largely by dint of having ended up on the winning side a good few times. Ansell is a bit of a wild card; he quietly gets on with things and doesn’t do much wrong so it depends upon how he does in his interview, but for me the Tulip and the Badger are the standout candidates.
When I first wrote about The Apprentice I was pretty scathing about the lot of them, damning them all and tarring each contestant with the same “business idiot” brush. Now, however, I have a lot more time and respect for Ansell, Ruth and Paul and I would be happy if any of them won, although by rights I think it should be Ruth. So The Apprentice has also been a valuable lesson for me in looking beneath the obvious, beyond my own prejudices and in judging each person as an individual. It has also boosted my readership considerably (although I doubt it will last), thanks to this link and to the numerous people searching Google for “syed apprentice” who have come this way. This post should keep that hit counter ticking along nicely thank you very much; sorry to anyone who feels I have wasted their time.