Viewers watched as Lord Sugar crowned two winners of The Apprentice on Sunday’s much-anticipated finale.
In the shock twist, the business magnate hired both James White, 26, and Sarah Lynn, 35 after struggling to pick between the two candidates – doubling his £250,000 investment and giving each of them the money to inject into their prospective businesses.
However, fans were quick to slam the 70-year-old’s decision, labeling the double hiring as a ‘total cop out’.
Shocking twist: Viewers watched the business magnate hire both James White, 26, and Sarah Lynn, 35 after struggling to pick between the two candidates on The Apprentice final on Sunday night
Scandal: However, fans were quick to slam the 70-year-old’s decision, labeling the double hiring of Sarah and James (pictured above) as a ‘total cop out’
Many viewers took to Twitter to vent their fury about the shocking plot twist, which occurred for the first time in the show’s 13-season history.
One angry fan wrote: ‘Sorry, what a cop out! It’s not about the money. The real beauty of The Apprentice is watching that devastating feeling that someone gets after being so close to their hopes and dreams and seeing it all fall apart in the finale. Sugar’s gone soft in his old age! #theapprentice’
While another added: ‘The final of The Apprentice has made more angry than I would like to admit, biggest anticlimax ever.’
Another viewer wrote: ‘So shocked and disappointed with The Apprentice final result, I feel I have been cheated.’
Disappointed: Many viewers took to Twitter to vent their fury about the shocking plot twist, which occured for the first time in the show’s 13-season history
While many blasted Lord Sugar’s decision, some fans supported the billionaire.
One viewer wrote: ‘What a final of the @bbcapprentice think @lordsugar made the right decision in choosing both of them and an apprentice first. Good stuff by @james91white and @mrs_sarah_lynn.’
While another added: ‘Great Apprentice final, 2 great winners. Really like both businesses. HOWEVER, can’t help but feel 2 winners is a bit of a cop out and after 12 weeks of watching feel a little hard done by!’
Defending the business magnate: While many blasted Lord Sugar’s decision, some fans supported the billionaire
Speaking to the MailOnline, James revealed: ‘Lord Sugar couldn’t make a decision.
‘It was definitely different for this to be the result, but he felt it was unfair to give it to one and not the other.’
‘I feel amazing about it; I’m so glad we could both win!’
Sarah added: ‘It’s a win/win for us. I never expected this as an outcome but it was such a joy when Lord Sugar said he was going to make this double investment.’
Whether he planned to do this all along is anyone’s guess, but the new champions have their own opinions on the matter.
‘I think it was spontaneous,’ Sarah said. ‘Both services that our companies offer are different, and he’s spoken highly of us both through the process. But no-one expected it.’
Reunited: The Apprentice class of 2017 were brought back to assist the two finalists in putting together their final business plans
Missed the boardroom? The remaining 16 candidates where chosen by either James or Sarah to join their team, in a final bid to win Lord Sugar’s investment
James added: ‘I’ve got my own agenda and if he wants to invest in both of us then that’s fantastic.’
James will be using his investment to build on his Birmingham-based IT recruitment company, while Sarah will develop of confectionery company.
In the final, the pair recruited fired candidates to help them launch their businesses, battling against each other for what they thought was one single place as Lord Sugar’s partner.
‘We’re close, but we were very much aware that we were each other’s competition. We each wanted to do that little bit better than the other one,’ Sarah explained.
Getting creative: James came up with some unique ideas to promote his IT company
Under the sea: Charles seemed to be channelling the little mermaid playing the musical lobster in James’ advert
Hilarious: Lord Sugar joked that Sarah’s advert for her confectionary advert made the pair look like ‘Dick Van Dyke and Mary Poppins’
‘We knew we were going to give each other a tough time – it’s not personal,’ added James. ‘I of course went into the final boardroom saying why my business was better than hers. But we just pointed out each other’s flaws. We still had respect for each other.’
Sarah explained that Lord Sugar found it unfair to rule one of the two out of the opportunity.
‘All I feel is happiness,’ she said. ‘I’m so excited to be part of this Apprentice first.’
Final pitch: The finalists presented their business plans to Lord Sugar in the prestigious City Hall, along with a panel of industry experts
It may be a first, but will it be a last?
James put the result down to the fact that the latest season was the 13th year of the show and that ‘it’s been one of the strongest years’ – suggesting that it’s a one off.
‘I hope the public enjoy the result,’ he said. ‘There’s bound to be haters who don’t like this twist, but from my point of view, I’m over the moon.’
Tense: As they sat around the perfectly curved desk, tensions were high as James and Sarah prepared to make their final pitch
Why me? It seemed the lobster provided some use in James’ pitch, as he used Charles’ get-up to show how his company would stand out
In the final at London’s City Hall, both Sarah and James had to pitch their business plans to Lord Sugar and his panel of industry experts, aiming to prove they have the potential to turn their businesses into big profit brands.
In the final boardroom, Lord Sugar appeared undecided as he grilled both candidates before asking for final guidance from his advisors Karren Brady and Claude Littner, saying: ‘It is quite obvious that there are two fantastically skilled people there. Sarah is very eloquent, she knows her business inside out, although why she hasn’t done the commercial website properly, I don’t get.
Sounds sweet! Meanwhile Sarah argued that she would be an ideal business partner due to her previous expertise on the industry
Sweet feeling: Sarah also showed the final result of her marketing pitch, channelling Mary Poppins (?) with a vintage-feel campaign
Unsure: Lord Sugar appeared to struggle to make his final decision, with advisor Karren Brady adding: ‘James is more risky. Sarah is an expert in her field; she spotted a gap in the market’
I give up! In the end Lord Sugar decided to put his backing behind both candidates, with both receiving a £250,000 investment
‘With James, a very, very crowded market, but he has proved that he can do it when he worked for someone.’
Claude said: ‘I think you have got a problem because, as it’s turned out, I think they’re both investable. With Sarah, I think you’ve got slow and steady, but with James I think you’ve got someone who’s going to go out and really go for it.’
Karren added: ‘But James is more risky. Sarah is an expert in her field; she spotted a gap in the market. She has all the skills an entrepreneur needs, but I mean, I don’t envy you.’
Double victory: Lord Sugar eventually decided he could not choose between the pair and awarded them both the investment
Thrilled: The pair were delighted to both be receiving the investment, hugging as Lord Sugar delivered the news
After hearing impassioned closing arguments from each candidate, Lord Sugar made his final decision: ‘This particular year, I’m going to double my investment… I’m going to start a business with both of you!’
Lord Sugar told the BBC: ‘This is a historic moment I suppose, in the thirteen years we’ve been doing this. And it’s really because of what I said in the episode. I couldn’t make a decision, it had to be both of them! They were two genuinely great experts in their field and I’m looking forward to going into business with them.
‘I was torn; I just couldn’t choose between one of the other. The only fair thing to do was to choose them both. Thing is, it’s now going to cost me half a million pounds.’
Both Sarah, James and Lord Sugar will be taking a break for Christmas before they discuss their new ventures further in 2018.
Over the moon: James and Sarah will both be moving forward with their business ventures in 2018, after a break for the festive season
Cheers to that! As they toasted to future business success, James and Sarah both revealed how happy they were to be joint winners