See some of the more creative ways Sia has performed live onstage without showing her face

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December 16, 2015 07:00 PM

How big a wig would you have to get Sia for her 40th birthday?

Born Dec. 18, 1975, the singer-songwriter hits the big 4-0 this week, and she has much to celebrate. Sia has an amazing voice, her seventh studio album is due Jan. 29, and she continues to be a behind-the-scenes music whiz, writing hits for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Britney Spears and more. We’re choosing to celebrate her birthday with the thing she’s best known for: singing onstage while finding a way to hide from the spotlight.

Yep, she’s become quite good at performing with some means to divert your attention away from the fact that she’s the featured talent, whether by bizarrely beautiful wardrobe choices or the use of stand-ins in the form of Maddie Ziegler or other dancers. Here are some of our favorites.

What she sang: “Elastic Heart”
Where she sang it: The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Jan. 31, 2015
How she hid: Well, she wore a giant white cube (in addition to the standard eye-covering blond bangs, of course), all the while flanked by a chorus of Sia-lings who were also wearing their own white cubes. That’ll do it.

What she sang: “Chandelier”
Where she sang it: The Australian TV show Sunrise on April 21, 2015
How she hid: She donned more colors than the rainbow and a festive tinsel headdress fashioned on the spot because she “forgot the actual wig,” as she explained on the show.

What she sang: “Elastic Heart”
Where she sang it: Dancing with the Stars on May 19, 2015
How she hid: She stood in a prop window and distracted you with dueling old and young versions of Derek and Julianne Hough, each performing some very cool synchronized dance moves

What she sang: “Chandelier”
Where she sang it: The Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, 2015
How she hid: For one, her dress practically works like camouflage on this particular set. For another, she’s joined on stage not only by Ziegler but also by Kristen Wiig, who put all her physical comedy prowess toward playing the role real – not as a joke.

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What she sang: “Alive”
Where she sang it: Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7, 2015
How she hid: Beneath a half-dark, half-light wig, coupled with a 9 to 5-esque business suit and an oversized bow in the style of Helga from Hey Arnold!

What she sang: “Fire Meets Gasoline”
Where she sang it: The Peruvian show Yo Soy on Sept. 16, 2015
How she hid: She wore essentially what Uma Thurman wore in Pulp Fiction, but with a tasteful black veil extending down from her bangs.

What she sang: “Big Girls Cry”
Where she sang it: The BBC special Michael McIntyre’s Easter Night at the Coliseum on April 5, 2015
How she hid: Quite simply – after all, it doesn’t always need to be a big production. Sia wore just a sensible black blazer and matching, brimmed hat that would make Diane Keaton proud, plus 360 glorious degrees of face-obscuring fringe.

What she sang: “Chandelier”
Where she sang it: Saturday Night Live on Jan. 17, 2015
How she hid: Ingenious use of a mime. Who was even looking at the wig with that mime there? Why aren’t there more mimes on TV?

What she sang: “Alive”
Where she sang it: The Ellen Show on Dec. 1, 2015
How she hid: In a simple black dress hung on on the wall and obscuring all but her legs.

What she sang: “Big Girls Cry”
Where she sang it: Jimmy Kimmel Live on July 3, 2014
How she hid: She wore a teal and brown leotard, and she’s accompanied by dancers in festive clown garb, all the while facing away from the stage and into a prop mirror scribbled with a caricature of herself. Like one does.

What she sang: “Chandelier”
Where she sang it: Late Night with Seth Meyers on June 9, 2014
How she hid: She switched out Ziegler for a bewigged Lena Dunham doing her best interpretive dance.

What she sang: “Bird Set Free”
Where she sang it: Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7, 2015
How she hid: You could make a joke about Sia’s performance being overshadowed by the controversy over Donald Trump hosting, but the real spotlight-stealer here was yet another new dancer: Japanese artist Mina Nishimura, who described herself in a New York Times interview as a “quirky starfish, which draws attention from only a few certain people.”

What she sang: “Chandelier”
Where she sang it: Logo’s “Trailblazers” TV special on June 26, 2014
How she hid: In numbers! Not only did Sia sing with her back to the audience, but the stage show included a male dancer and the entire NYC Gay Men’s Chorus – and all of them wore the trademark wig.

What she sang: “Day Too Soon”
Where she sang it: SXSW in March 2007
How she hid: She didn’t. And that makes this performance the most surprising of the bunch, perhaps. Good to see you there, Sia!

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