5 Years Ago: Trace Adkins Wins ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Season 6
On May 19, 2013, Trace Adkins won the sixth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, which is also known as All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. The country star qualified to be on the show after finishing second to Piers Morgan in the first season of The Celebrity Apprentice; this time around, however, Adkins beat magician Penn Jillette to earn the victory.
Throughout the show, Adkins and his team, Plan B, participated in a variety of business-oriented events: running a store that sold meatballs, being part of a play geared toward Crystal Light Liquid and creating advertorials. Thanks to a combination of savviness and marketing smarts, Adkins survived elimination.
The finals involved developing a new ice cream flavor for Walgreens' DeLish brand; creating a 60-second ad for said flavor; and then planning and executing an entertainment-packed, fundraising-geared ice cream social. To promote his flavor, Maple Macadamia Mashup, Adkins had the upper hand: his musical talent. He performed "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" during the social — "That's probably the nastiest song that's ever been played at an ice cream social," he quipped afterward — and enlisted ex-contestant Gary Busey to cover Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." Later, Adkins also teamed up with his rival Jillette, who strapped on a bass, and sang "Love Will."
Adkins felt good after the competition: "Going into this last task, I think I delivered the best ice cream, I made the best commercial, I put on the best show, I brought in the biggest celebrities, and I raised the most money," he said on the show before his win was revealed. The powers-that-be agreed, and crowned him the winner.
The hard-fought victory held special meaning for Adkins, since he only decided to do the show again as a way to raise money for the Red Cross, which helped his family immensely after his house burned down.
"The only reason that I would do a reality television show is because this one at least has a shred of nobility because of the charitable aspect of it," Adkins told Entertainment Weekly. "I was ashamed of myself that I didn't know that the Red Cross responded to house fires. I thought they were like grand-scale natural disasters, and that was it. The fact that they were there and took care of my family when I couldn't be there, I just felt like I owed them ...
"I held [producers] off for a month or so, kept telling them, 'No, I'm not ever going [back],'" he added. "The first time I was on Celebrity Apprentice was one of the most stressful periods of my adult life, and I didn't want to come back and do it again. So it took my house burning down to get me to come back."
Adkins' win alone netted $250,000 for the Red Cross. Overall, his appearances raised an eye-popping $1,524,072 — the highest charitable amount ever raised on the show.