Criss Angel Teases 'Grand Illusions' on 'Magic With the Stars,' Says Contests Are 'True Champions' (Exclusive)

The weekend, The CW will debut Criss Angel's Magic With the Stars, a brand new celebrity competition series that finds actors like Corbin Bleu and Miles Brown facing off in jaw-dropping feats. Ahead of the big premiere, PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with Angel himself, and he teased some of the "grand illusions" viewers can expect to see on the show. The world-renowned magician also praised the show's contests, saying that each of them are "true champions."

We first asked Angel where the idea for Magic With the Stars came from, and he explained that he hatched it during the COVID-19 pandemic "that devastated our world." He said, "For me, it was a choice about being positive or living in a negative space and that's not who I am. So I chose the positive road. I wanted to create something that would put light, love, and positivity and engage people and show people that anything is possible. And Magic With the Stars does just that."

Angel went on to reveal what fans will see when the show airs, as filmed from the Criss Angel Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Las Vegas. "Not only are you going to see the most revolutionary illusions of my career, which I've been performing on stage here in MINDFREAK for almost two decades," he said, "but you're going to see celebrities in three different categories of magic — grand illusion, closeup magic, [and] mentalism — come together, learn my craft in a very short amount of time, then go head-to-head in front of 1,500 people on my stage at Planet Hollywood."

Angel is not only supplying the illusion blueprints, but he'll also be a judge, along with "award-winning comedian Loni Love and Lance Burton, Master Magician, and all hosted by the hilarious Eddie Griffin." He continued, And it's just a show unlike anything. You're going to see Miles Brown (Black-ish) and Corbin Bleu (High School Musical)... attempt what has been held as the greatest illusion of all time by the largest magic publication Vanish, my levitation."

Elaborating on the two contestants featured in the show's premiere episode, Angel said, "They're going to fly and levitate in full light 20, 30 feet above the ground and right there in front of the audience, in front of the cameras, nowhere to hide. And we're going to see, "Can they pull that off? Are they going to reveal it? Are they going to fall? Who's going to win?" These are the things that to me during COVID intrigued my mind. And I knew it was a show that would be very interesting, something that would be unique. CW realized and acknowledged that, and we did a deal, and here we are this Saturday, it's going down."

In a sneak peek clip, Miles is shown executing the levitation, and we can confirm that it is absolutely amazing to see. Maybe equally as notable, however, is the look of joy and pride on Angel's face when the 17-year-old pulls off what should be completely impossible. When we asked Angel about the moment, he again beamed, sharing, "Miles is a kid that I've known for a long time and have worked with, when he was much younger. And he was a big fan. He had my magic kits and when he had the opportunity to come on and he was like, 'I'm going to learn what?' Because he used to watch me do it."

Angel added, "And for everybody, I'm like a proud papa. Like it's my kid. I've trusted a celebrity with my guarded secrets, which are my children, and they perform it and make me so proud because many of them do it way beyond what I thought they were capable of. And it just goes to show you the level of talent that we have on the show. And Miles and Corbin Bleu are just two examples of that and what they do with the illusions that I taught them and the closeup magic that they learned."

Interestingly, Angel revealed that pulling off magic tricks wasn't actually the hardest part of the show for some of the contestants. "Everybody comes from a different background, he said. "So you got someone like Frankie Muniz, from the show Malcolm in the Middle, comes on. This guy's used to learning scripts. And you would think that he's good in front of an audience, that he's comfortable. He did not want to be in front of an audience. He doesn't like speaking in front of an audience. And he knows how to learn things, but he didn't like that component of it. So he had to overcome that and figure that out. And he did an incredible job."

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"Lolo Jones, an Olympian, you would think she'd be the most... confident competitor because she was on the U.S. Team," he added. "And here she was very insecure with performing this metamorphosis illusion. And Frankie who was competing against her was more comfortable. But you would assume it would be the opposite. But yet when it comes down to showtime, they both get on stage like true champions and perform like it's no one's business."

Before wrapping up, Angel said, "that's what makes this so fun, because on the show you get to see the process that magicians never let you see. We take the curtain, we pull it back, and you as a viewer get to see the process of learning, rehearsing, practicing, what they're thinking, what they're going through, until game day." Criss Angel's Magic With the Stars premieres Saturday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. ET/7p.m. CT, on The CW.