I was pretty surprised that the Donald fired Chris last night. And I think it bodes well for this show. One big problem with last season was that it was too much of a Survivor-esque popularity contest. Markus is a complete fool, but he wasn't the main reason why Excel lost last night. I couldn't agree more with the Donald's decision. Still, it was a hard one to make. Chris is a good leader and, unlike Markus, he's sane.

As George pointed out, Excel lost the challenge on the terrace, as they high fived each other, assuming they'd win because they're men. Disgusting! I found it very interesting that they were actually led down the wrong path by the Lamborghini executive, who emphasized the "rebirth" concept. From what I could gleen, it didn't seem like the women met with Lamborghini...did I miss something? If they had lost, the Donald would have pointed out that they commited the cardinal sin of not meeting with the client. In this case, that wound up being a good thing, but I was still pretty surprised that the ladies missed that part.

Alla was the clear standout on the ladies' team last night. I was a little dubious as I watched her directing the video, her feathers fluttering madly as she made grand swooping gestures over the car engine. The ladies' presentation was a tad dramatic, if not laughable. And, in the end, the promo seemed like more of a rough draft than a finished product. But it was much more dynamic than the guys' video.

I'm not a huge Kristi fan, especially after her poor performance as PM last week, but she had a right to complain that Marshawn wasn't pulling her weight. The print boards were such a minor component of the task. Marshawn should have simply checked in on the print group to make sure things were going in the right direction, then switched gears to help Kristi and Alla work on the video.

So far, I'm rooting for Alla. She seems determined, mature, and driven. I can see a clear difference between Alla, an entrepreneur, and the other contestants who don't own their own companies. Markus will probably get the boot next week. Sure, he was the only one who didn't like the Green with Envy poster, but he shouldn't have blurted that out at the presentation. We all know that the Donald hates traitors. Also, his Smooth as Silk idea was so cheesy! Sometimes, "counterintuitive" is just a code word for silly.

That said, I think there's a real danger to voting off anyone who doesn't "fit in" with the team. As Excel proved last night, having a bunch of yes men agreeing with your every word is the last thing a manager needs. There has to be a balance between total agreement and constant bickering.

Although the tasks are pretty lame, and the same old stuff as last season, I feel like this show is coming into its own. The right people are being fired, which will hopefully put an end to the popularity contests. The Donald has been spot on. I loved his tux and the way he slapped the table before making his famous firing gesture. George and Carolyn have been great, too, especially compared to Martha's lame sidekicks. I'm looking forward to next week.