As ever on The Apprentice, the NBC biz-reality show that The Other Charlotte and I follow as avidly as cats in front of the aquarium, Manhattan mogul Donald Trump showed himself to be an acute judge of character. The man’s hair is a hoot, and his taste in interior design–office furnishings and the like–suggests, as one weblog wag put it, that he’s got the same interior decorator as Saddam Hussein, but Trump knows exactly who’s the weakest each week among the overdressed eager beavers competing for a $250,000-a-year job as his sidekick. He always makes the right call.

Last night, Trump uttered his trademark (literally–or so he’d like you to think) “You’re fired!” to Troy McClain. I like Troy; he’s got only a high-school education, but his good ol’ boy cornpone masks genuine shrewdness and ambition. Nonetheless, Troy was, as Trump put it, a “loose cannon.” Given this week’s task of renting out the 90,000-square-foot penthouse in NYC’s Trump Tower for the most money in a single day, Troy, acting as project manager for his three-man team, Protege, set his bid floor too low at $35,000 an evening, then started lying to prospective customers–always a mistake–about the size of bids he said his team had received. Protege finally managed to get a firm bid for the penthouse for $35,001–more than $5,000 less than the $40,800 bid its rival, Versacorp, raked in. So Trump axed Troy.

Not that winner Versacorp, now down to just two members, had a better strategy. Nick Warnock was the project manager, but the gorgeous, aggressive, scruples-free Amy Henry, the sole female among last night’s five remaining contestants, quickly horned into Nick’s act with some bid-fibbing of her own, claiming to customers that she’d secured a bid for $40,000. That sent most customers skedaddling until sheer luck saved Versacorp two minutes before its time ran out, and a customer who had walked out came back and signed up to pay the $40,800.         

Nick, who is sweet on Amy, and Amy, who is not at all sweet on Nick but pretends to be, got to fly on Trump’s private jet down to his Palm Beach spread, Mar Lago, as their prize, along with their family members for chaperones (Trump thinks the two might be having an affair, but he doesn’t know as much as we do about Amy.)

My predictions for the next contestants to be fired: Kwame Jackson, Troy’s sidekick until Troy took the down elevator last night, and, yes, Nick, in either order. Amy will eat Nick alive. She’s already made it clear in Trump’s boardroom that it’s Bill whom she considers the smartest and most fearsome of her rivals. You read it here first: It will be Bill and Amy at the bitter end. Count on Trump to make the right calls as usual.

As for Troy, well, he took his punishment like a man–unlike Katrina Campins of last week’s firing, who whined all the way to the airport in the taxi, not about losing out on a $250,000-a-year job but about how underhanded Amy was.

Oh, and Omarosa Manigault-Stalworth, everyone’s favorite wicked witch, will somehow be back on the show next week! I can’t wait.