The Saturday Night Live stage isn’t always the friendliest confines for pop singers occupying the musical guest spot. The dancing, the outfits and even the song choices often seem out of place given the intimate, comedy club feel of the studio venue, but on SNL‘s Kevin Hart-hosted episode, Sia managed to deliver an electrifying performance without even moving an inch, sharing a pair of hits off her 1000 Forms of Fear.
First up was Sia’s latest single, “Elastic Heart.” Standing resolutely with her face obscured by a black veiled visor for the entire performance, Sia shifted the spotlight to her two dancers, 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler and an older, similarly dressed doppelgänger that certainly wasn’t Shia LaBeouf. The dancers reenacted the controversial “Elastic Heart” video and its violent, heartbreaking routine, creating a captivating performance that was every bit as viral-worthy as the video itself.
For her second performance of the night, Sia delivered her biggest song to date, the Grammy-nominated “Chandelier.” Even though Ziegler was in the house – the dancer also starred in “Chandelier,” Rolling Stone‘s pick for Best Music Video of 2014 – Sia instead opted for a moodier, more orchestral rendition of the single. To fit the ambiance of this reworked rendition, Sia was accompanied by a mime with melancholy face paint that acted out the lyrics alongside the singer, whose face was still hidden from the camera’s view.
The one knock on Sia’s powerful musical guest spot is that SNL writers didn’t work her visit into one of their sketches. One of the highlights of SNL most recent Halloween episode, and one of the highlights of Season 40 in general, was when cast member Kate McKinnon and guest host Jim Carrey both dressed up like Ziegler in the “Chandelier” video and duked it out on the dance floor.