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Rich avoided the 'craziness' on 'Apprentice'

After a season that stood out for drama and star-studded feuds, the final challenge on the “Celebrity Apprentice” pitted the two most mild-mannered stars against one another. The showdown between singer John Rich and actress Marlee Matlin ended in a quiet victory the man in the cowboy hat, and that’s just how he wanted it.

Country superstar John Rich, winner of "The Celebrity Apprentice" 2011, says he feels that he succeeded in the reality TV competition while making no enemies and winning a record windfall for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

During a Monday morning visit to TODAY, Rich explained why he believes he beat the competition, and how he did it without getting dragged into the drama.

“‘Body of work’ is what we were calling it, because it is such a grind—‘Celebrity Apprentice’ goes and goes and goes and goes and goes,” Rich said of the strategy that allowed him to win the game, even though he was behind in the last battle. “The whole challenge is, ‘Can you really be at it the whole time?’ And I tried to be that way.”

Another part of Rich’s approach that proved important was his decision to be a likable guy regardless of all the gameplay.

“My goal was try to win and never have anybody say a bad word about me,” he recalled. “I wanted to go into it like that, and I succeeded. It was great. I made friends with everybody on the cast.”

That was no small feat considering all of the personal conflicts that popped up over the course of the competition. According to Rich, he was able to avoid all of that by keeping his eyes on the real prize.

“I’m better when I’m playing on behalf of something bigger than myself, without a doubt,” the country crooner said. “Because there were a lot of times I wanted to engage the craziness or become part of the drama. I went, ‘I’d really like to go say that to him or her.’ And then I went, ‘You know what? I’m not going to do it.’ Cause you’re there for your charity. You’re not there for yourself.”

Rich earned $1.3 million for his charity, St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  

Miss Rich’s winning moment? Watch boardroom boss Donald Trump make the call.

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