Back in May, Sia announced her first tour in five years—an arena tour that boasted Miguel and AlunaGeorge as support acts. That’s an impressive feat for an artist who rarely shows her face, who refused to tour a few years ago, and who existed in relative obscurity when she toured last.
We were pumped for Sia’s tour even without any Dance Moms alums attached to the bill, but on Monday, Maddie Ziegler officially joined Sia’s Nostalgic for the Present trek, and the live run became arguably the most anticipated major tour of the entire year (Adele aside).
Why does Ziegler make such a huge difference? Because she’s that good as a live performer. The 13-year-old’s spectacles alongside Sia on SNL, Ellen and the Grammys helped the Australian singer-songwriter unlock a much wider audience. Ziegler already had a built-in fan base from Dance Moms thanks to her dazzling routines, but her wordless flights across confined stages gave songs like “Chandelier” and “Elastic Heart” visual displays that were burned into our brains.
Sia’s recent festival performances have also revolved around Ziegler’s dramatic moves, albeit through pre-taped footage reenacted by less high-profile dancers onstage, as Sia showcases her vocals. They’re extremely entertaining, but also like watching a movie instead of a live performance. If Ziegler’s contortions happened on a soundstage months ago, what exactly are we clapping for?
Well, that changes with Ziegler officially joining Sia’s headlining tour, and showcasing her gift every night alongside her close collaborator. There will undoubtedly be pre-taped elements—Kristen Wiig is not going on tour with Sia—but Ziegler’s presence transforms a staged affair into a live one, and a great lineup into an indispensable arena experience.
Sia’s Nostalgic for the Present tour kicks off on Aug. 4 in Moscow.