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Trace Adkins Talks ‘Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars’

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Trace Adkins (Photo: Christopher Polk)

Who's ready for another season of Celebrity Apprentice...and, better yet, one composed of some of the most colorful former contestants? Trace Adkins--who competed in Season 7 and lost to Piers Morgan--admits that he didn't think he'd ever put himself through "anything like that" again, citing the rigors and pressure of the show's schedule. However, it took a worthy cause to put the deep-voiced country star back in the Trump vehicle for yet another round, which starts March 3 on NBC.

Back in 2011, Adkins's Nashville-area residence caught fire and was destroyed as a result of a random electrical misfire. The singer was out of town and his wife was running errands when the blaze struck; luckily his children, pets, and houseguests who were visiting at the time all got out safely. American Red Cross volunteers were among the first on the scene to help the family through the traumatic experience until Adkins could arrive home.

Adkins, who hadn't realized the scope of the Red Cross's efforts prior to the catastrophe, was profoundly grateful and has pledged to help them in return however he can. First off, he's chosen the organization as his charity on this season's All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. He's also partnered with the Hard Rock franchise to support American Red Cross month with the sale of a limited-edition pin designed to raise funds for the organization. He appeared at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood on Wednesday to unveil the fundraiser and discuss his dedication to the cause.

We had the opportunity to talk to Adkins about his upcoming appearance on Apprentice, and true to form, he gave us the straight scoop with absolutely no B.S.--and few words wasted! Be sure to tune in to the season premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

Our Country: Being on Apprentice is, by all accounts, an incredibly grueling experience--long hours, lots of pressure. What made you decide to join the cast for a second time?

Absolutely, it is everything that everybody else has told you. It is an exercise in restraint, it's time consuming...it's trying. I didn't think I'd ever do anything like that again. I felt that I owed a debt to the American Red Cross for them being on the scene when my house burned in June 2011--I wasn't there. And when this came along, I thought, here's an opportunity for me to try to get some money.

I spoke to John Rich after he won the 2011 season, and he mentioned it was probably the hardest thing he'd ever done...that the show kept him going almost 24 hours a day--barely any downtime, or even sleep time.

Yeah, that's pretty much right. They get you up before daylight, and you stop closer to midnight probably.

Given that, did you ever just think "Okay, I want to support the Red Cross, but maybe I'll just throw a benefit concert instead of putting myself through this again"?

Yeah, yeah. You know, the hardest day I ever had in the entertainment business, was not as hard as the easiest day I had working in an oil field, so it's all relative.

You were a fan favorite the last time you appeared and placed second. Obviously you know the results by now, but going in, did you think your strong showing last time gave you a considerable edge?

I didn't really go to thinking that, because everybody else that's on the show this time has been on it before. So, there aren't any rookies here, everyone's played the game, and some of these people did as good as I did. So I knew the competition was going to be pretty stiff.

A lot of people seemed surprised that you lost to Piers Morgan.

Well, I wasn't surprised. Piers raised a lot more money than I did. I thought the outcome was appropriate.

Going back to the rigors of being on the show. You mentioned last time you were on, there were a lot of people you just didn't like.

I don't know if I would say "dislike." That's not necessarily how I felt.

Um, I believe the exact word was "abhor."

Oh well, yeah...there were a couple of those. As far as that's concerned, yeah, I felt the experience was a little more pleasant.

Did your experience on the past season make it easier this time around?

I think it made it easier to me--some of the other folks that played this time, I heard them say several times that this season was harder than the season they'd been on. But I didn't think it was harder than the season I'd been on.

You noted last time that you were careful to keep yourself out of all the drama and mudslinging. Did you take the same approach this season, or did you find yourself getting a little more heated than last time?

I stayed above the fray again. I refused to get sucked into it and play those games. I don't have to, and I didn't.

You join two other country stars in prominent roles on reality TV right now--Blake Shelton and Keith Urban, both of whom have received criticism for their participation in reality shows. You're on a different type of reality show, obviously, but have you heard any of the same? People saying negative things?

Oh they probably have. But I don't look at that stuff. The same approach I take on the Apprentice--staying above the fray and not getting down in the mud--I take the same approach with my critics. I really don't pay them any attention. Unless I live with them, I don't care what their critiques are.

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