Sia's campaign for '1000 Forms of Fear' has been by far the most interesting promotional concept that a major label artist has come up with in at least ten years. Despite having one of the biggest hits of last year, being featured on soundtracks for two of the highest-profile films around and consistently penning outstanding tracks for what feels like literally every single other person in the industry, Sia has managed to go an entire cycle without showing her face. A feat that would probably have seemed unthinkable before the "Titanium" belter managed to pull it off.
Saturday night was no exception and wearing a rigid, black-lace veil, Sia enlisted regular mini-me Maddie Ziegler and new-girl Denna Thomsen to enact a seemingly similar concept to the controversial video with Maddie and Shia LaBeouf:
The girls are both styled in Maddie's now-signature look, dirty flesh tone leotard plus blond Sia wig, and pull off some insane combat-based modern dance with style and grace. Sia, true to form, spent the entire song facing away from the audience, covered by the veil, focusing on those killer vocals that she always manages to pull out of the bag. The actual performance is open to your interpretation - indeed, part of what makes Sia's visuals so stunning is the lack of clear meaning behind them.
She also popped up later in the show to present a stripped-back, emotive performance of 2014's "Chandelier" with the help of a sad, signing mime. Because of course:
It was maybe less show-stopping than the earlier rendition of "Elastic Heart" and whilst Sia's vocals were on point, her diction was... well, I just wish she'd at least try some of the consonants. The mime was a lovely touch, and it was nice to have a performance were the 'performative' bit was more understated than the actual song giving Sia and her band the chance to shine.
People have a habit of being snarky about Sia's decision to stay faceless for '1000 Forms of Fear', labelling her performances pretentious or meaningless, but honestly anything that's different from the arguably pretty stale field of pop performances has to be a good thing. Plus with pipes like Sia's and her unparalleled lyrical skills, she has the material to back it up. Hopefully some other pop stars aiming for "artsy-fartsy" releases might come up with some equally unique ideas this year...
What do YOU think? Is Sia putting the art in pop? (Sorry Gaga)