Video Review: Sia “Cheap Thrills”

In a small box, lit a dark night lilac, three dancers are in a line, their bodies bent to match each other. One by one, they spring up and move their heads. As they dance, Sia, is in shadow, to the left of them.

The light turns on, showing Maddie Ziegler, her hair in a half-black, half-platinum blonde wig cut into a bob, along with two male dancers, wearing a nude leotard. Ziegler hops over on of the male dancers and Sia can be seen in a white dress, obscured, wearing a big, white bow on her head. In a line, they put their fingers over each other’s eyes and Ziegler’s exclaims “oh!”

The light becomes blinding as they jump around, putting their forming glasses over their eyes with their hands. Then, it returns to the opening silhouette. Ziegler does a leg kick while the other dances bend down, letting the attention go to her move.

When the light turns on again, they continue their routine and Ziegler sticks her tongue out. Then, as the light gets blinding, they jump and form a layered line, sticking their arms out from side to side, shaking their heads.

They hop over to Sia, forming a line behind her. Each one puts their hands over their eyes, including Sia and flash their hands open. With her hands over eyes, she “oohs” in amazement. They hop to back Sia, whose wig can be seen and the camera reaches as far as the microphone.

The dark night lilac light returns and they perform the routine the silhouette. The light turns on as they performing a hand chopping move and Ziegler lets her eyes pop out.

As the screen fades to black, Ziegler twists her head, swirling her tongue and rolling her eyes.


Rating: 5/5

While Sia’s choice not to be seen can be viewed as a gimmick, it does allow for more adventurous and creative ideas. Playing around with an unconventional narrative is a must. With the video, every angle and light change has a purpose.

The dancing in the video seems to be for a dance rehearsal of some sort. It could be for a little known dance company, trying to build its name. The size of the box stands for the auditorium, which is empty. The choice of silhouettes is as mainstream as it gets, its bid to be commercial and accessible.

The harsh lighting at times give the impression of the sacrifice to even be on the stage: less things to buy in the store, eating ramen every night, taking on a second job. It knocks the glamour previously shown, shaking it into reality.

Amidst the metaphor is Ziegler’s animated expressions, bringing a physicality to the lyrics. When she (and the dancers) put their hands around their eyes, it does turn 3-dimensional, becoming an extension of the lyrics.

Directors: Sia & Daniel Askill Year: 2016


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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit & 45 Magazine.

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