is a total hack, especially compared to Criss Angel
. Although the three-time Magician of the Year winner has never romanced Fiona Apple
, he's seduced celebrities such as Mandy Moore
, Rob Zombie
's Jonathan Davis
— not to mention Goth-guy-loving gals — with his fantastical illusions, feats of endurance, adorable "Noo Yawk" accent and sexy Marilyn Manson
-style wardrobe (thankfully accessorized by a much hotter face and body than the shock rocker). Last year marked the debut of his riveting A&E reality show Criss Angel: Mindfreak
, the first magic series in more than 40 years. Whether levitating strangers, setting himself on fire or singing the show's hard-core theme song (which he also cowrote), Angel left viewers screaming, "How the &#*% did he do that?" The second season, premiering tonight at 10 pm/ET, promises "unprecedented" stunts. We're guessing that means no drowning himself alive.
TVGuide.com: You have a great theatricality, but you're not pretentious the way some other magicians are.
Criss Angel: Thanks. I like to say that I'm confident but not conceited.
TVGuide.com: In order to do what you do, you've got to be sure of yourself.
Angel: Absolutely. We live in a technological age where people have cell phones with cameras. If I'm not on top of my game and I can't do my stuff legitimately, I'm going to be exposed on the Internet.
TVGuide.com: Can you give us an idea of the kinds of tricks you'll be doing on Mindfreak this season?
Angel: This season far exceeds anything I've ever done in my career. In the premiere episode I float from one building to another — in the daytime, in front of bystanders. Later in the season I'm going to walk on water, make a 9,000-pound elephant vanish and attempt a monumental motorcycle jump.
TVGuide.com: Somehow I can easily picture you on a motorcycle.
Angel: I'm into them and I trained for over a month to do a jump that's 100-feet long. When you consider that Evel Knievel's best jump was 160 feet, 100's not so shabby for a guy who's never really done it professionally. And in the midst of that jump, I'm going to create an illusion twist that's going to blow people's minds.
TVGuide.com: You seem to love freaking people out.
Angel: Some people watch my show and dismiss it as trick photography. Let me tell you: Everything you see on my series, I can or do perform live. That is the protocol that I must live up to in picking and creating material. I try to blur the line between reality and illusion. A lot of what I do is real, but a lot of it is completely fake. I leave it up to the audience to determine what is what.
TVGuide.com: So you're not one of those magicians who claim to have legitimate supernatural powers?
Angel: So-called "real" magic is all bulls---. People like John Edward, who says he talks to the dead, or Uri Geller, who claims to bend silverware.... It's a bunch of crap. They're using old techniques of cold reading, manipulation and slight of hand, all things that I practice. I'm able to create the appearance of supernatural phenomenon, but it's just the appearance. When I say that a lot of what I do is real, I mean that when I stuck fishhooks through my flesh and hung 1,000 feet above the Valley of Fire last season, I really did it. It wasn't a trick.
TVGuide.com: A few years back, I seem to remember you challenging David Blaine to a "magic-off." Are you two enemies?
Angel: The truth of the matter is, David is a good guy. He actually came to see me when I submerged myself in water for 24 hours in Times Square as part of my first television special back in 2002. He learned a lot from my demonstration. Why he chose to do something I already did successfully... I don't know.
TVGuide.com: So there is a rivalry?
Angel: I like to think of myself as a general practitioner. I do a television show, a live show and public demonstrations. David is strictly a creation of television — and I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just what he does. I've always said that I'd be happy to go head-to-head with him, and I'll back up that claim anytime, anyplace. But he has yet to take me up on that. I think his biggest fear is me.
TVGuide.com: Some pretty cool celebrities appeared on your show last season, like Rob Zombie and Jonathan Davis. But how do you explain Mandy Moore?
Angel: Hey, I'm going to have Deborah Gibson on this season. And Ice Cube, and Carrot Top. I'm very calculated in doing that. I want to show people that you can amaze all kinds of people, from a street-smart guy like Ice Cube — who will never let you get close to him, which makes my job really difficult — to somebody like Deborah, who is his antithesis.
TVGuide.com: Although I realize you're protective of your private life, our readers want to know — OK, fine, I want to know — are you married to that girl JoAnn who appears on the show? Or is she just your girlfriend?
Angel: Honestly, I don't usually talk about this but... let's just say I am single right now. This is the first time I've ever revealed that during an interview, by the way. I hope you appreciate it.