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The man who had the plan.

SOMEWHERE, in some gleaming silver spire piercing London's skyline, Sir Alan Lord Sugar is crying bitter hedgehog tears.

"I can't do it anymore, Nick," he sobs, head in hands, to his grimacing confidant.

"How much more bladdy manny am I going to pour into this load of old toot?" He might be wondering why he decided to shortlist his candidates for a pounds 250,000 business partnership and put them through an 11-week selection process before having a good look at their business plans.

Dragon's Den would have sent this lot packing in five minutes. The Apprentice wasted almost three months on them.

Now Sugar's stuck with a man named Ricky Martin, who also calls himself "The Hype", "Witness The Fitness", "The Best Business Partner On The Planet" and, last but not least, "Thor".

Ricky both nauseated and mesmerised Sugar's trusted colleagues, but appeared oddly to have the only sensible business plan in the grimly funny interviews.

The rest foundered. Nick always had a slightly pained expression anyway, from the pressure his immense hair was putting on his brain.

Wine expert Tom went in looking like a confident winner, but emerged a quivering war-ravaged husk.

Jade was told: "It's a pretty grubby business you're proposing." What is it - a brothel? No, worse. It's a call centre.

* * * The Voice limped to its conclusion with a carnival of self-indulgence and gushing praise.

The performance of Vince - the string-vested goblin lovechild of Billy Idol and Pat Butcher - was "life-changing", according to Tom Jones (it was not life-changing.) Danny looked like he was listening to the voice of God as Bo sang Nothing Compares 2 U, and Tyler drew inexplicable rapture from the audience and beyond-the-grave endorsements from Michael Jackson, as channelled by the preposterous Will.i.am.

Leanne had to win. She had the only powerful voice. She didn't sing, more show off her 'range' with wibbly-wobbly vocal gymnastics obliterating any semblance of a tune. But it's something. She's hired.

TOMORROW:
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 4, 2012
Words:328
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