Who has made it through to The Apprentice final?

The contest for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment will be a battle between cakes and novelty gifts after three more Apprentice candidates were dispatched of.

The business magnate fired online fashion entrepreneur Jessica Cunningham, 29, after being unsure about her plans to pay television celebrities to wear her brand of clothes.

Also exiting after 11 weeks of gruelling challenges were children’s clothes company owner Frances Bishop, 25, and Grainne McCoy, 31, who runs her own make-up studio.

Cake company owner Alana Spencer, 24, and novelty gift business owner Courtney Wood, 29, will compete for Lord Sugar’s investment in Sunday night’s finale.

Jessica told the Press Association she was “gutted” to be leaving the show but said she had “absolutely loved” the 11 weeks of competition.

“It has been the best experience of my life to date, except from having children,” she said.

“I think everyone has got to see the real Jessica – I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I am happy with how I have come across.”

The self-described “female version of Jim Carrey”, added that she was “overwhelmed with everyone’s support”.

The five candidates were interrogated by business experts Claude Littmer, Mike Souter, Linda Plant and Claudine Collins on Thursday night’s episode.

They were then called into the boardroom where Lord Sugar quickly dispatched of Grainne McCoy, 31, who runs her own make-up studio, telling her he “just can’t see” the concept of her business.

He praised Jessica’s personality and “great sales ability” but told her the business plan was “a very, very risky idea”.

Lord Sugar took the unusual step of confirming to Alana she would be in the show’s final before turning to Courtney and Frances.

He told the pair it was a “tough” decision, before firing Frances who had lost eight of the 10 tasks during the series.

Frances told the Press Association that being eliminated so close to the final had “summed up” her experience.

“It was so close. It could have gone either way I think. He spent a long time debating between us, perhaps on a different day it could have been another outcome,” she said.

Grainne said she regretted not having her business plan “up to scratch” but added she still believed in becoming “the next Gok Wan in the make-up world”.

In Sunday’s finale Alana and Courtney will be joined by a number of their former Apprentice colleagues as they are tasked with launching their business by creating a brand and unveiling their campaign.

They will pitch their plans to 200 industry experts including Lord Sugar before learning of their fate in the boardroom.

The Apprentice Final airs at 9pm on Sunday December 18.

More in this Section

The Script edge ahead in race to top UK album chartsThe Script edge ahead in race to top UK album charts

Kristin Scott Thomas to receive award for outstanding contribution to filmKristin Scott Thomas to receive award for outstanding contribution to film

Netflix shares first look at second series of Sex EducationNetflix shares first look at second series of Sex Education

New TV programme reveals which quiz show contestants are cleverestNew TV programme reveals which quiz show contestants are cleverest


Lifestyle

Helen O’Callaghan on the dangers of products high in caffeine.The dangers of energy drinks full of sugar

When bride-to-be Alma Clohessy enlisted her mother Rita’s help in planning her wedding, they made the most of every precious moment together.Wedding of the Week: 'It was the best, yet most emotional day of my life'

As you may be aware, new rules around motor insurance documentation have been introduced. The rules are aimed at improving transparency for consumers but a broker is warning they may have unintended consequences and could cause some confusion among policy holders.Drive a hard bargain for better car insurance

When Peter Ryan lost 90% of his vision in his early 20s, his readjustment was emotionally painful, but maturing, says Helen O’CallaghanA new way of seeing the world: Peter Ryan talks about losing 90% of his sight in his early 20s

More From The Irish Examiner