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John Rich Says ‘Don’t Underestimate the Country Boy’ on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Premiere

John Rich
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Country star John Rich, formerly of Big and Rich fame, is representing the country genre on this season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ and the singer is there for all the right reasons: to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The first thing the confident, black cowboy hat wearing Rich says? “I am not here to get famous. I came here to raise money for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Don’t underestimate the country boy.”

Other contestants this season include LaToya Jackson, Marlee Matlin, Gary Busey, Lisa Rinna, Meat Loaf, Mark McGrath, Lil Jon and David Cassidy, as well as a few reality TV stars. The teams are split by gender, and the men make up Team Backbone. This episode’s task was managing a New York City pizzeria and Rich and crunk rapper Lil Jon were put in charge of creative marketing for their team, along with the always entertaining loose cannon that is Busey.

The ever quotable Rich said that when Busey went into a fire ‘n’ brimstone style rant on how to raise money for their pizzeria, he dubbed the actor a “Pepperoni Profit,” in a riff on the “prophet” concept.

Rich was also playing his guitar and providing entertainment as his teammates were corralling pizza eaters. “John Rich was working that crowd outside like a madman,” said original ‘Survivor’ Richard Hatch, the Backbone team leader and project manager. Rich was certainly singing and playing his patoot off and even referred to their sidewalk marketing initiative as a “Pentecostal carnival,” with Busey shouting, Rich playing and Lil Jon holding up signage.

Hatch did say that Rich brought in donations “like you wouldn’t believe” and as a result, he wasn’t “fired” tonight.

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