So, that's why it's titled 'Mindfreak'


Illusionist Criss Angel, the star of the "Mindfreak" reality show, freaked out Friday after his girlfriend, Miss Nevada USA Veronica Grabowski, didn't make the finals of the Miss USA pageant.

Shortly after Grabowski was eliminated, Angel was seen flashing a middle finger during a NBC telecast when a roving cameraman attempted a celebrity-in-the-crowd shot at Planet Hollywood Resort's main theater.

Angel was still fuming after the pageant when he threatened this columnist in an F-bomb-laced tirade that ended with Angel, after being restrained, saying, "Don't ever write another word about me, or you'll need an eyepatch over your other eye."

Although he didn't specifically mention it during the loud altercation outside the pageant's VIP party on the hotel's mezzanine, Angel was still angry about my reporting in Friday's column.

In an interview Thursday with Vegas Confidential, Sandy Mecca, a preliminary judge and wife of Planet Hollywood Resort CEO Mike Mecca, mentioned that Angel had brought up his girlfriend in reference to the pageant on Tuesday. Angel told Mecca, "I hope you're going to give my girl high marks."

Mecca's two-day judging duties had ended on Sunday, but the comment made her uncomfortable and she and her husband separated from Angel before entering the hotel.

Angel's publicist, Steve Flynn, said Friday that Angel was "absolutely joking around."

Donald Trump, who owns Miss Universe, the umbrella group for Miss USA, told me Friday that he was disturbed by Angel's encounter with a judge and added, "We're going to have to look at that."

Angel's blowup happened shortly after the pageant ended. Angel, his two brothers and a bodyguard ran down a corridor to catch up to this writer near the entrance of a VIP post-pageant party.

"You're a (bleeping) idiot," screamed Angel, who kept repeating it. He added that he wanted nothing to do with me or this column in the future.

Angel, who starts rehearsals this week on Cirque du Soleil's $100 million magic production at Luxor, has a 10-year contract.

When he repeated his no-contact edict at nose-to-nose range, my response was, "I will try to get over it."

Flynn stepped between us and led Angel away, as he delivered his parting shot: the eyepatch threat.

"Good one, Criss," I told him. "Never heard that one before."

"It was an emotional night for everyone," Flynn said Saturday.

SIGHTINGS

At the Miss USA 2008 after-party Friday at Privé nightclub (Planet Hollywood Resort): Paul McCartney's ex, Heather Mills, Penthouse magazine owner Marc Bell, publicist Elliot Mintz, actress Kelly Carlson, "Project Runway" season four winner Christian Siriano, "Dancing with the Stars" alum Joey Fatone, celebrity hair stylist Ken Paves, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, model Caroline D'Amore, Joe Jackson (father of pop music icon Michael Jackson), "Project Runway" season two alum Nick Verreos, joined by his sister, Rita Verreos ("Survivor: Fiji"). ... At The Bank nightclub (Bellagio) on Friday: actor/comedian Eddie Murphy, celebrating his 47th birthday with a big cake; celebrity chef Bobby Flay, San Diego Chargers standout/Miss USA judge Shawne Merriman and actor/comedian Arsenio Hall. ... Actor Wilmer Valderrama, having lunch with friends Saturday at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars).

THE PUNCH LINE

"This week in San Diego, a group of openly gay Republicans are holding their national convention. The gay convention is just like the regular convention, except instead of superdelegates, they have super-fabulous-delegates." -- Conan O'Brien

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.