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Criss Angel gives Oprah a “mindfreak”

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Criss Angel.
Photo: Tomasz Rossa

When Oprah Winfrey wanted to mystify guests at her 24th season premiere party, she knew just who to call: Criss Angel.

The talk-show queen invited the Luxor headliner to perform as part of the kickoff celebration earlier this week.

“I was very honored to be participating in the kickoff party for her 24th season,” Angel said today, speaking to the Las Vegas Weekly over the phone between rehearsals for his Cirque du Soleil show, Believe.

“It’s a huge honor for me, it’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “She is the queen and the king of television. She’s both.”

The episode will air today at 4 p.m. on Vegas TV, Cox channel 14/25.

Angel appeared on the show amidst a star-studded line-up that also included the Black Eyed Peas, Rascal Flatts, Jennifer Hudson, and James Taylor. Today’s episode was filmed in Chicago in front of 40,000 people on Tuesday.

“It was really a great experience,” Angel said. “Chicago was an amazing city. (Everyone was) very hospitable and (there were) tons of people and excitement.”

Criss Angel walks on (swimming pool) water.

Criss Angel walks on (swimming pool) water.

Those who have seen Believe will recognize the illusion he performed for Winfrey and her audience.

“I just kind of incorporated it into this event,” Angel said of the demonstration he performs 10 times a week during the opening sequence of his Cirque show.

He said the outdoor stage and off-site location made things tough, but the illusion still went off without a hitch.

“It was very challenging but it was very successful – hugely successful – for me,” he said.

“I had a premonition six days before I was there,” he said, explaining how he wrote the three words that came to him during the supposed “premonition” on a piece of paper, folded the paper up, and put it in a box.

The box was brought to Chicago’s so-called Miracle Mile on Tuesday for the kickoff party, where it was eventually hung above the stage.

“There was a web cam on Oprah’s (Web) site that had a shot of it 24/7 to make sure that it wasn’t tampered with,” the Mindfreak magician said.

Three people were involved in Tuesday’s demonstration: Winfrey and two randomly-selected members of the audience.

“I asked Oprah to name any word in the English language, (of) which there are two million, I believe, and she named a word, which was ‘delicious’,” Angel explained. “Then (she) threw out a ball … into the audience … and the person (who caught the ball) was asked to name their first pet’s name.”

Oprah contributor Ali Wentworth selected the third person for the stunt and asked a female fan tell Angel the name of her first kiss.

“Lo and behold, the box was brought down, it was opened up, I … unfolded the paper in front of everybody, and I had all three (words) correct, 100 percent,” Angel said.

The magician said Winfrey couldn’t believe her eyes.

“She was blown away, both on-camera and off-camera,” he said. “She kept on saying, ‘How did he do that? How did he do that?’”

Angel said Winfrey’s questions kept coming even after the cameras stopped rolling.

“She whispered in my ear, ‘How do you do that?’” he laughed – but Angel refused to reveal the secret to the so-called “mindfreak.”

It was not the first time the 41-year-old has appeared on the Winfrey’s popular daytime talk show.

“It was my second time doing her show,” Angel said. “To have Oprah invite you to do her show multiple times is a very cool thing.”

He said the media magnate has asked him to do a full, hour-long show with her, though no dates have been scheduled.

“We’re hoping to realize that,” Angel said, declining to say when that might happen.

Still, he is hopeful that plans will fall into place, and he said that for Winfrey, the doors of his theater at the Luxor are always open.

“I’m hoping that we’re going to get Oprah to … Las Vegas one day,” he said.

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Melissa Arseniuk

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