What's the most important thing that audiences should've learned from BeLIEve? "Is that illusion by definition is not real. It's not real," he explained. "When people say it's fake, yes, of course it's fake. It's not supposed to be real."
Perhaps what confuses some people is that Criss doesn't perform just illusions, but demonstrations that are devoid of any such deception, many of which we've gotten to see this season. "What I do as an artist is I blur the line," he continued. "Hanging upside down in a straightjacket with a fifty-pound weight is no illusion. It's not fake whatsoever. It's completely and utterly real. There's no trick to it."
We got a major shock earlier this season with 'Lord of Illusions,' where just moments after Criss walked away from the demonstration, a sword that would've impaled him released on its own. "Movie magic can be very dangerous, but bringing it to life in a real world setting is even more exponentially dangerous," he reflected. "When I did that, it was crazy. I was twenty seconds, fifteen seconds away from being literally impaled.
"Some of it came easier than others," he said. "I have to be thankful that the worst thing that happened to me from the entire season is that I have to have shoulder surgery because of the straightjacket in Times Square. The fact that I lived through [the season] and didn't get permanently maimed, it's really remarkable. I would've liked to not have to go through surgery, but it is something that's part and parcel."
Even with all the shocks and surprises that made it on the air, we still didn't see everything. "We have a lot of stuff. I have another probably fifteen, twenty different demonstrations that I shot that I didn't have room for," Criss revealed.
Did he feel like he received the reaction from audiences that he wanted with this series? "The response from the public has been amazing," he said. "People that were fans of Mindfreak watched it, and I think they've seen a transformation and a growth. You build new fans, and you have your old fans."
Speaking of those existing fans, they deserve some recognition here, too. "The Loyals are really, I'm so blessed to have this group of people that support my art, because they're from all over the world, all different walks of life, all different backgrounds and they're just wonderful," he continued. "It's good to be out there producing some positivity and strength within each other and looking at each other as somebody that is an asset and somebody that we want to build up. I love the fact that Loyals are, globally, typically pretty positive and pretty supportive.
"I think what you put out there in the world is what you receive. If you put positive things out there and you try to be positive and put out a good message, a message of hope and strength and the power to believe, then that's what follows you," he continued. "I always try to put something out there that's positive. I'm not special, I'm not different, I'm just like everybody out there. I try to lead by example."