The Apprentice: Meet this year's Sugar (Hill) Gang

Alex "I'm a maverick" Epstein looks like he tanked up on amphetamine before his audition. All that frantic gesticulating could have someone's eye out. And, pardon Smarta's cycnicsm, but anyone who claims to be a "universally liked… people person" rarely is. Case and point: Epstein has the all the charm of a bout of salmonella.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Raleigh Addington is an intensely likeable fellow. Maybe it's because of his stammer. He delivers his lines with all the panache of a shy, ADD-ridden kid in a school play. And he's not far off being a kid at only 22. "People always compare me to Boris Johnson," he says. Any similarity is purely superficial, dear heart. Can't see you speaking Latin.

Chris Bates says he's "extremely funny". He's not. There's so little inflection or character in his voice that Smarta wonders if he is, in fact, an alien. He got his job in investment banking "at the height of the recession." Smarta tip: Stick to banking, Bates.

Chris Farrell is a little bit frightening. He joined the Royal Marines at 16 and became a sniper. Yes, a sniper. Farrell says he's at his best under pressure (gulp) and likes working to targets - preferably moving, breathing targets? "I don't show a lot of emotion," he says. Alrite, Leon.

Where to start with Jamie Lester? He sounds like he's swallowed a self-help manual and has been shitting out half-digested maxims ever since. "You have to break eggs to make an omelette… Never look back… You get what you're given in life…" Hopefully, in Lester's case, this involves getting fired.

DR Shibby Robati is a practising surgeon. I reckon he's inhaled a bit too much nitrous oxide. "I want to deal with the prime minister and other entrepreneurial giants." Hear that, Cameron? You're an entrepreneur. Who knew? Smarta tip: When backed into a corner, Robati won't hesitate to stick the knife in. Ba dum psch.

Did you actually just come out with the line, "People like me intimidate me," Stuart Baggs? Baggs is, hands down, the worst of a mediocre bunch. "I couldn't live a more interesting life - even when I'm sleeping," he says. Um. Okay. That just plain doesn't make sense. Here's another gem: "I'm alive. Lots of other people are dead." Smarta tip: IQ in single digits.

Smarta favourite: Joanna Riley. Yes, she's an entrepreneur - we never promised to comment without bias. She runs her own cleaning business and, unlike the rest of the Apprentice pack, has a no-nonsense, capable air about her. "Don't complicate business," she says. "Keep it simple." Smarta tip: We like her, and we think Lord Sugar will too.

"Entrepreneurial, off-the-wall" Joy Stephanicki doesn't fit well into the "corporate monkey suit brigade". Er… are you sure you want this job? That said, she seems both sane and smart - an unlikely combination for reality TV. But she is easily intimidated by attractive women. Smarta tip: Watch Stephanicki quiver with fear before the gorgeous and gruff Karren Brady.

Dan Harris and Stephanicki should hang out. Harris is terrified of attractive business women too. He says they make him sweat. Thanks for sharing. Harris is an entrepreneur too, apparently, but is looking for a mentor and leader. He believes he has the personality traits to win The Apprentice. "Ego-drive" and "Ego-strength". Sounds like a lot of ego, mate. Smarta tip: Suralan's ego vs Harris' ego: this show ain't big enough for the both of them.

Laura Moore can't walk into a room without making at least three friends. Smarta can all but guarantee she'll leave The Apprentice with none. Moore is a management accountant by trade and claims to have brought in £0.5m of business during her career. She's also "a man in a woman's body" who is intimidated by no one. Let's see if a tongue-lashing from Sugar will dent her confidence.

Liz Locke seems like a nice sort of girl. The pretty, unassuming façade might hide a steely, well, hide, but we doubt it. This one's a team player: "I don't want to be pushing people out of the way." Probably a secret serial backstabber. Smarta tip: She'll strike up a romance with a fellow contender by the end of the third week.

Step up Melissa Cohen, AKA "The battering ram". She confesses to being "slightly insane" and Smarta believes her. That laugh has all the hallmarks of a textbook loon. Smarta tip: Cohen might actually be a lot more on the ball than she seems. Could be a dark horse in the running.

Paloma Vivanco has passion galore. We know this because she used the word three times in 30 seconds. Joking aside, she's got guts this one. She set up her first business at 21 - it failed by the time she was 22, but she hasn't let this dent her confidence: "I'm a hyper achiever. Everything I do is a success," she says. Apart from the example you just gave, then?

Sandeesh Samra likes Alan Sugar's ears - they look a bit like her dad's, she says. And she 'nose' she can be a bit "challenging". But she's got her eyes on the prize. On the face of it, then, Samra's bound to get a-head.

Great name, Stella English. "I'm an unpredictable, crazy risk-taker," she says. Are you married to Johnny by any chance? Still, don't mind this one. For all of her bonkers, we are tempted to believe English when she says, "If I want something, I get it." Plus, she owns a red Lotus, and Smarta wants to borrow it...


Series six of The Apprentice premieres on Wednesday 6 October at 9pm on BBC One. For all the latest Apprentice news and scoops, stay glued to the Smarta blog.

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