Criss Angel is often cited as bringing magic back into the mainstream pop culture with his successful A&E series Mindfreak. On October 24, Angel will team with fellow mentalist Uri Geller on NBC’s Phenomenon to assess the skills of 10 performers, some mentalists and some claiming genuine psychic abilities, who have their hopes pointed at securing a piece of Angel’s real estate on the pop culture landscape. Audiences will votes to advance performers, but not before Angel and Geller have a chance to assess the would-be Houdinis. Angel held a press conference today to share his feelings on participating in the show, and to give a preview of how he would be judging the contestants.
Angel displayed a seriously skeptical side from the beginning, having no trouble admitting that everything he does is an illusion, and that he claims absolutely no psychic or truly magical ability. Those who do, though, better watch out. Angel doesn’t take kindly to the likes of ‘performers’ like John Edwards, who use their feats of mentalism to bilk huge appearance fees and take advantage of the grief of their audiences. “In my opinion, all of that stuff is a bunch of garbage.” Angel exclaimed.
Contestants coming to Phenomenon who claim to have real psychic abilities will find a tough critic in Angel. “I’m sure we are going to have people that claim they have supernatural power, and that’s going to be fun to expose them live, and on television.” Angel told reporters on a conference call, which BuddyTV participated in.
The structure of the show will involve contestants demonstrating their abilities then, a la American Idol, Angel and Geller will give their impression of the performance. Audience members then get a chance to vote for who they would like to see come back.
Of course Criss could not escape the halo of his recent association with Britney Spears. Spears’ doomed performance at the VMA was originally to include an illusion by Angel, but it didn’t come to pass. “I spent a lot of time with Britney, to develop what that was going to be, and then realized that her commitment to doing that stuff was not at the level that it needed to be, and she wanted to go in another direction.”
Phenomenon premieres October 24, and runs for five weeks.
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of A&E)