Is Criss Angel's Ego Bigger Than His Talent?

Las Vegas Weekly writer Steve Friess suggests that Cirque du Soleil is "now laying in a bed of nails with one of the most controversial and egotistical figures on the American pop landscape."

Of course, Friess is referring to Criss Angel, the current it-boy for the world of least as far as Angel believes.

Angel, as we reported recently, signed a 10 year deal with Cirque to do a twice-nightly show called "Criss Angel Believe" at the Luxor Hotel. But apparently, Angel's attitude and off-stage demeanor are starting to get him into trouble with the people that he really needs to be sucking up to: the journalists.

Could it be that the rock star persona Angel's been wearing like the latest fashion is finally getting to his head?

Here's how it breaks down:

A few weeks back, Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Norm Clarke mentioned in his column that Angel was trying to persuade one of the judges of the Miss USA pageant into voting for his girlfriend, Miss Nevada Veronica Grabowski. Angel told one of the judges, "I hope you are going to to give my girl high marks," Which made the judge uncomfortable. This apparently got Angel into some hot water, causing pageant owner Donald Trump to say, "We're going to have to look at that."

OK, that doesn't really sound like much hot water, but it was enough to get Angel steamed up, anyway.

So when the pageant took place and his girlfriend didn't make the finals, Angel found Clarke in the hallways and had a heated, nose-to-nose confrontation with the writer saying, "Don't ever write another word about me, or you'll need an eyepatch over your other eye."

This kind of publicity is not something Criss Angel needs to be stirring up months before opening a huge show in Vegas. Not that I am a fan of putting journalists on a pedestal, but Angel is an idiot. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. Especially when its these very journalists that will be telling the millions of money-burning lemmings who visit sin city exactly what shows to spend their rapidly devaluing dollars on.

In the LV Weekly article, Steve Friess wonders why the Cirque folks haven't done anything in the way of damage control over their new superstar divo:

The Cirque suits in Montreal must be sweating, but they also failed to either make a public statement condemning Angel’s threats or force him to apologize. They’re powerless, it seems, and thus it’s only a matter of time before they helplessly watch their enormous investment be hijacked by a man not given to respecting much of anyone.


This Cirque-Angel deal is reminiscent of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to hold the 2008 summer games in China. It seemed like a good idea at the time, what with the potential of expanding the brand to a huge new audience and all the promises of good behavior. Like the IOC, though, the closer Cirque gets to opening day the less influence the company has and the more of a mess it could be confronting.

In a world where there is usually no such thing as bad publicity, is Angel shooting himself in the foot for being so outspoken? Do stories of a bitchy, pseudo-superstar illusionist help to sell tickets, or does this kind of behavior end up hurting the profits for a show in a city filled with hundreds of other entertainment possibilities?

"Criss Angel Believe" opens at the Luxor Las Vegas on Sept 12th, so its entirely possible that we are going to hear more from this "primo uomo" in the months to come.

Bottom line: Angel needs to remember that popularity is fleeting and a magician is (with all due respect for those in the art) - on the evolutionary ladder of entertainers - one rung up from a mime.


Susie said...

It seems so many of these celeb's get the big head from fame. They seem to forget their fans are who got them there, and they begin to think they are larger than life.

Then their antics are glorified in the media and more people want to be like them.

Rachel S said...


GrandmasterB said...

I like Criss Angel, but I agree...he's a bit full of himself. His magic seems a bit hokey too

Emmett Jones said...

Criss Angel is an egotistical ass.
and I agree with grandmasterb, his magic does seem quite hokey at times.

The Judge said...

At the risk of breaking the code I've been sworn to, the REAL secret to magic is that its all about the presentation. That is something that Criss is actually very good at: the presentation aspect.

A lot of his magic is actually very basic stuff (at least what he was doing on his TV show). He uses a lot of camera tricks and some very old techniques to help make the tricks stronger, but its still very simple stuff.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Criss Angel is an idiot. But so, apparently is the writer of this article. Haven't you ever heard of "no publicity is bad publicity?"
After all, Criss Angel acting up GOT THIS STORY WRITTEN ABOUT HIM, right?
Just the fact this story exists, is evidence that what he is doing, is being rewarded.
Has bad behavior and acting up cause people like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears to evaporate from the scene?
No, it only perpetuates the curiosity, and Angel knows this. I think he'd intentionally doing this.

The Judge said...

"I think he'd intentionally doing this."

Well said, my anonymous, gramitically-challenged, fanboy.

While I do agree that "no publicity is bad publicity," you also have to admit that pissing off the people that you are relying on to write about how wonderful your dime-store magic tricks are, and how well you've been able to con people into thinking you are a legitimate magician with even a modicum of raw talent, hidden with a lot of Cirque du Soleil smoke and mirrors, is traditionally known as "biting the hand that feeds you."

Angel needs these journalists to tell people that his show is worth watching. If instead, these influential writers say that his show isnt worth it and that visitors to Vegas should spend their money on Danny Gans or Lance Burton, or Penn and Teller instead, it means that Cirque could lose money on the deal, which has the potential to wreck Angel's chances of working with the Cirque folks anytime in the future.

Of course, with a 10 year contract, Angel is pretty much Cirque's bitch at this point, so maybe a little bad publicity will only help him. We dont know.

Magico said...

Cris Angel is a showman in the mold of P.T. Barnum. His success is based on publicity, good and bad. Name a star without a big ego and you will see a person with a small financial contract.

I feel that the author of the article knows very little about the Art of Magic or he would know that like all true artisrts the Magician practices daily for years to perfect his skills.

Like all entertainers there are many imitators that discredit the true artist. The comment about magicians is ill-informed and certainly detrimental to the subject of the article.

The writer in belittling mimes and magicians ignores the fact that the most popular form of entertainment in Las Vegas is the art of magic.

The Judge said...

I dont really talk about the art of magic much on this site because its not about me or my side interests and this site is not about magic. Its about entertainment, and the nonsense that goes along with it. Sometimes those similar interests converge, and in the case of Mr. Angel here, I feel compelled and qualified to offer my expert opinion on the schmuck.

I was going to SAM meetings before I could even walk. I've hung out with the likes of Blackstone, Penn and Teller, Zakarta, and about a hundred other people you've probably never heard of. I've been a regular visitor to the Magic Castle and have a fondness for close-up coin work, though I am also a fan of large stage illusions, when they can be done with style. I hate card tricks but love a good three card Monte routine and absolutely love bizarre magic that can make people truly uncomfortable.

In short, I happen to know a thing or two about magic.

I have no problem with Angel and his ability to perform magic. The parlour tricks he's showed on his TV show were quite nifty. Its clear that he has practiced enough that the illusions and tricks look smooth. That is not the point.

What I was referring to is the fact that the tricks Angel does are usually rudimentary, simple in execution and disguised by a lot of quick editing, CGI effects, screaming rock music and stooges in the crowd. Most everything I have seen him do can be purchased at the magic shop in Ceasar's Forum in vegas without much difficulty.

What I was referring to was the fact that Criss Angel thinks that he can schmooze a judge at some dumb-ass beauty pageant just because he's schtupping some bimbette in the contest.

I have a big problem with "celebrities" using their celebrity status to try to gain an advantage over the regular public, and I have a big problem with swelled headed arrogant pseudo rock stars thinking they have some kind of privilege because they do a few card tricks on camera.

And as far as drawing similarities between Angel and PT Barnum is like comparing apples and comequats. Barnum was an entrepreneur, a businessman extrordinaire and at the very core, a con man. Angel is only a cheap carny attraction. Something to be wowed by while waiting in line for the famed egress. He is an after-school special in the world of magic and I dont give a damn about how many awards he may have won that say otherwise.

And if you want to talk about stars with small egos, let's talk about Dolly Parton, William H. Macy, Drew Carrey, George Clooney, Drew Barrymore, and many, many others.

And I'm sorry, but mimes are one of the lowest forms of entertainment in existence. I dare you to prove me wrong.

The Denver Magician said...

To say he is an idiot, in my opinion... is somewhat naive.

I don't imagine he'll be winning the PR award for brilliance any time soon... but he did have the number one cable program for quite some time.

Honestly... that means an awful lot.

Mind you... I am no fan :)

The Judge said...

OK, perhaps "idiot" isnt the most correct word for him.

Arrogant, self-centered, two-bit, hack trickster. A novice-class douche bag who knows how to buy a few gags out of a catalog, play the persona of a rock-star and make a small fortune.

Yeah. That's a bit more descriptive.

Bonju Patten said...

Pardon me, but no one deserves a billion dollar contract to perform magic tricks. Our society is nuts. They reward the trickster but not the hero. And, Angel thinks he is the judge and jury over people for whom he believes are not telling the truth like spiritual mediums. It's all a lot of white wash but in the end we all know that journalists build guys like angel up and then they tear them down and have a lot of fun doing it.

Besides, the way Angel has treated his "wife" is horrible and if he gets billions I hope so does his long suffering mind you beautiful wife.

Remember the trojan horse - beware of greeks bearing gifts. LOL

Anonymous said...


chelsea. said...

just because criss angel said that doesn't mean that he meant it. he might have just been mad because his girl friend didn't win.

you also cant trust what the journalist said because they can twist your words to make it seem like you said some thing but really you said something else.

nothing on this earth can make me stop believing in criss angel.
i love you criss!

The Judge said...

Well you gotta believe in something, but I cant get behind Criss. He's an actor playing the part. Not anything more than that.

As for the press turning your words on you, I can understand your point, but still, you have to admit that trying to sway the judges to vote for your girlfriend (the flavor of the week, apparently) and then getting irate when the little tramp doesnt place is just bad form. Not the kind of publicity that Angel needs. What he REALLY needs is to be bitch-slapped by Penn and Teller, but that I guess wont happen.

Anonymous said...

Criss Angel(what a crap name) is a tossbag and deserves every bit of negative press he can get. Someone would have to pay me a lot of money to go see his show. You might as well just had him the money and give him a hj while your at it.

The last thing this planet needs is another self-absorbed celebrity who is offering nothing to the public but a farce of show and an imposter pretending to be a rock star. Wanker.

Dev said...

Some of these comments are so funny. I've seen Criss Angel's show and yeah, he does show a big ego and maybe some of his tricks are a little "hokey". But the fact is the guy has become very famous through a lot of work and dedication to what he does. Who WOULDN'T get a big head when you've got 50,000 people coming out to watch you do a stunt. He has put his life in danger on multiple occasions to put on a show for people. And it makes them happy, it brings people joy to see something out of the ordinary. For me, if I was a millionaire I'd probably have a huge confidence boost too. I don't see anything wrong with it, everyone makes mistakes and Criss is no different. He's a human being and thus, not perfect. There have been many other so called "celebrities" that have been given money and fame with little to NO talent. This guy has given back to his fans and worked hard coming up with new stunts and tricks to bring to the public.

I mean, really.

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