Burning Booties & Real Magic

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Burning Booties & Real Magic

After the fundraiser and the brutally close loss, a somber mood permeates our team. For the next task presentation, we’re on the pier in Hermosa Beach where we find out we’re now dealing in protein snacks… NOT beef jerky.

Matt Iseman Selfie

Brooke Burke steps up as project manager and we put together a massive Booty Burn class and I don’t remember much else. I think I was really focused on that class. Also, some of the Ninjas showed up and do what Ninjas do. I struggled to do what they do.

Matt Iseman Pullups

Ultimately, we had an awesome presentation and Team Prima had dancing girls courtesy of the man who sang about Girls, Girls, Girls. Then, in the boardroom, Vince Neil (after winning over $7000,000 for his charity) decided he was ready for Home Sweet Home and fell on his sword. VICTORY!

The Celebrity Apprentice Group

So, that brings us to Hogwarts. This was my moment to shine. Sometimes, you really identify with a product. Sometimes, you go even deeper. And then there’s me and Harry Potter where I was all in.

It’s great when you know something about a brand and a product, better when you’re obsessed. The best is when no one else even knows the difference between a Muggle and a Mudblood.

Harry Potter

And yet this is the one time all season long, where I felt certain I was going home.
It is amazing the roller coaster ride you go on during this show.

The thing I found, is because you’re really completely separated from the other team your imagination wanders as to how good they are actually doing. I knew Carson Crosley was in charge. He might not be the biggest Harry Potter fan, but the man knows how to do a photo shoot. And he knows how to brand.

I on the other hand felt that I might’ve bitten off more than I could chew. Being overly ambitious in the scope of the project and then failing to deliver on it. At that point, there be nobody to blame but me. Which meant a loss and I would certainly be going home.

Harry Potter Group Chat

That night when we were finished and I was talking to the producers, I was prepared to go home. I was planning my departure speech that a strange thing happened during the night. I couldn’t sleep. All I could do was think about the project. Think about how I’d sell it. Because I knew these ads didn’t have to stand on their own. We got to introduce them. We got to introduce them to a crowd of rabid Harry Potter fans. My people. So I knew I had to nail the speech. Convey my passion and sell everything that I wanted to be in the ads but that we might not have gotten in there.

As soon as I walked out on the stage hunched over with a lousy British accent and I heard the crowd’s reaction, I knew I had them. Sometimes you just feel it. You feel them going on the ride with you. At this point, everything in the ads expressed all the excitement I felt. I knew was a real fan they’d feel it too. In Quidditch parlance, I felt like I caught the Golden snitch as soon as the game began.

Matt dressed as Harry Potter

But, then the board room happened. As Rome nervously pacing waiting to enter, Chael came up to me and told me, “Get ready, it’s about to go down in the boardroom.” Chael actually looked nervous. He looked like his heart was racing like he was about to have a fight.

Then Carson took me aside as well, and he warned me things were about to get crazy in the boardroom.

So, we go into the boardroom Schwarzenegger crushes me for being a Harry Potter nerd… and I loved it. The Governor is a ball buster.

Arnold gif

Then, Carson brings up “the Chael incident.” I am completely floored. Chael promised if he went out, he do it in a big way lighting a stogie in making security guards drag him out. But, in the end I think is respect for the governor in the game, caused him just to walk out.

So, Chael gets fired for cheating. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it’d happen. Just a few episodes before, the Governor scolded the women for not moving the Motorcycles in the Kawasaki task, “Sometimes, you gotta take charge and break the rules.” Turns out, the Governor decided this was not one of those times. So, Hasta la Vista, Chael. Honestly, I love the guy. He plays the “Bad Guy” and does it very well. But, off camera and outside the ring, he’s a good dude.

Matt and Chael

And we all relax. I mean, we’ve done the math. We know were getting close to the finale at which point will either have two or four people left. So, with Chael fired, everyone left is safe for the night.

But, then the governor actually starts talking about the project. And he’s really complementing Carson for pulling it together. And now, all my fears return. Did Carson really do the unthinkable? Did he overcome a cheating Chael to still turn in a better project than the guy who already owned his own Harry Potter wand (the Album Dumbledore Elm wand, to be exact)? It be a hell of a story. And it’s the one that I feel is being written right now.

This roller coaster is back. And I feel the ground sinking away beneath my feet.

Then, they show us the work… and we get the reports. The Universal Execs had nothing negative to say. The Magic is real.

Ricky Williams

But, the best moment I had all season was after the boardroom. I’m shooting what are called OTFs (On The Fly interviews): they’re the “talking head” parts where we give our thoughts on what just happened. I’m back in the war room talking about the whole task and the boardroom saying, “I just feel so lucky.” I then hear this voice from above bellowing, “BULLLLLLSHIT! You weren’t lucky. It was SKILL.” Then, he took out a cigar and tossed it down to me from the production catwalk he was on. Then he got a serious look and said, “But don’t get cocky, because tomorrow, I might fire your ass!” Then he strode out laughing his ass off like Conan after he knocked out the camel.

Arnold and Matt

Matt Iseman
Matt Iseman
I'm the host of American Ninja Warrior and I'm squaring off against 15 other celebrities, all representing their favorite charities while vying for the title of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
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