The Apprentice hopeful Sophie Lau has become the latest casualty of the boardroom. The Malaysia-born restauranteur was fired by Lord Sugar after the girls suffered a crushing defeat in episode three, which saw the two teams tasked with designing their own multifunctional flat-pack furniture.
Team Evolve, headed up by recruitment manager Natalie Panayi, 30, eventually settled on the 'TidySidey', a portable storage unit, tray and stool. Meanwhile, team Endeavour, led by Jordan Poulton, 26, designed the 'Foldo', a table that turns into a chair.
There was no contest when it came to the winner of the task. The girls sold just 174 units of the TidySidey, while Endeavour secured a total order of 3,216 units.
Lord Sugar was particularly impressed by the boys' design, which had been conceived by company director Alex Mills, 22.
"Alex, this is one of the very best products I have seen in all the years that I have been in this boardroom," he told the delighted Welshman. "Very, very good indeed."
He then turned his attention to the girls, who have so far failed to win a single task. "Ladies, this is getting very disappointing. It doesn't matter how good your pitch, your product sucks. It's like going into war with a peashooter."
It feel to project manager Natalie — a trained jazz singer — to bring two of her team mates back into the boardroom, and she chose make-up brand owner Uzma Yakoob, 32, and Sophie, 22.
Lord Sugar had stern words for all three ladies, and for a time it seemed Natalie would be the one heading out the door. "Natalie, this was a disaster, an unforgivable disaster," he said as he prepared to announce his decision.
But Sophie's failure to shine was ultimately her undoing. Criticised by Lord Sugar for "hiding" on the task, during which she took on a market research role, she became the third contestant to leave the boardroom.
"I've come to the conclusion that out of the three of you here today, and this may be unfair, but my gut feeling tells me that, Sophie, you're fired," the business magnate said.
Reflecting on her time in the show as she made her exit in a black cab, Sophie confessed she did feel hard done by. "I honestly did what the Project Manager wanted me to do, and I did try," said the Bristol-based candidate, who started running her own restaurant aged 19 while studying as a student.
"It's just we've got a lot of stubborn characters, a lot of bitchiness going on, and I like to keep my dignity and my class."
There are 13 candidates remaining in The Apprentice. Jaz Ampaw-Farr, 41, was the first candidate to hear the infamous words "You're Fired" after failing to impress in a challenge to sell a variety of imported goods from the back of a container.
Last week, Tim Stillwell, 23, became the second hopeful to leave the competition after heading up the girls' team in a task to create and sell a new flavour of beer.