06/01/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Apprentice Anyone

Wondered why anyone would stand on line in a cattle call for the "Apprentice." Still not sure I know, but a lot of realty show hopefuls did just that today. An estimated 500 "Trump change" lined Fifth Avenue outside Trump Tower for a chance to be fired before millions. Similar auditions are also being held in other cities including Las Vegas, Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

"I'm an actress and a model, but advertising is slow these days," said Annalisa Delcane who dressed for success in a suit and pearls. Being hired not fired guarantees a contestant
employment with The Donald for a year. The job comes with a six-figure salary.

However, the wannabe's have to make it through several layers of casting to even get on the NBC reality show. "We're looking for people who are qualified to work for Donald Trump but for whatever reason they're negatively affected by the recession, said Scott Salyers, the supervising cast producer at Mark-Burnett Productions, creators of "The Apprentice.
"The tagline on the show is Donald Trump puts America back to work," Salyers added.

"So, you're looking for unemployed people"? I queried.

"Yes and no. Maybe people stuck in their jobs and they should have gotten the promotion they were promised three years ago, or they just graduated from Wharton and they can't find a job, or they're going back to work because their wife or husband just got laid off," replied Salyers.

"I was laid off from my job as a college aide," piped up Trishana Jones, who sported braces on her teeth.

"I was let go from my job in February. I was doing financial analysis for a non-profit,"
offered Idowu Odeosu, who described herself as Nigerian-American.

Yes, there was a crosscurrent of culture, gender, ethnicity and an undercurrent of desperation because so many already suspected they would be also-rans.

"I love the camera and I love what I do and I love people, so it's pretty easy to just be
who I am," quipped David, a Manhattan real estate broker who had more swagger than
most of the well-mannered mob.

"I'm the last in line and they save the best for last," postured Eric Graves of the Bronx, a contractor who admitted to two previous audition attempts.

Success and stardom are elusive things. Thousands are expected to apply either in person or by emailing: Fewer than twenty will be chosen and only one will get to hear the words, "You're hired." But hey, it's a recession and many aren't used to hearing that anyway.

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