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 magic...at 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.