Miranda Lambert Recalls Being Afraid She’d Catch Her Hair On Fire During Debut CMA Awards Performance Of “Kerosene”

Miranda Lambert country Music
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With the CMA’s right around the corner, we’ve been taking a look back at some of the greatest moments on the show throughout the years.

From Alan Jackson walking out in the middle of a Beyonce performance, to Shania flirting her way to the stage during a performance of “Any Man Of Mine,” and of course, one of my personal favorite’s, the time Sturgill Simpson busked outside of Bridgestone Arena during the show with his Grammy trophy on display, there’s been some memorable shows, to say the least.

And today, I want to talk about Miranda Lambert’s very first appearance on the CMA stage back in 2005.

She’s the most nominated female act in the history of the show, the the third-most nominated artist of all time, and she has a grand total of 14 CMA awards under her belt. She also currently holds the record for most wins for Female Vocalist of the Year at seven.

But this specific CMA performance is really what put her on the map in mainstream country music.

She came out absolutely guns blazing and lit the stage on fire (pun very much intended), jumping around with some incredible pyro behind her and putting it all out there in terms of who she was as an artist from the jump.

As a result, she completely shook up the industry at a time when there really weren’t a whole out woman at the forefront of the genre.

In the mainstream genre that even still sometimes seemingly tends to discourage women from displaying those types of emotions and sentiments so openly, it took guts for her to get up on that stage and sing a song about lighting her ex’s shit on fire and threatening to kill him as her official introduction to the genre.

She recalled being “terrified” ahead of the performance, though, on an episode of Essentials Radio on Apple Music Country last year, saying she was mostly worried about the budget.

Seeing as it was the first time she had performed at a major awards show, Miranda thought she might have to pay the label back for all of the expensive pyro, and at the time, certainly couldn’t afford maybe more than a firework:

“I was terrified. And I remember I was so worried about the budget because there was so much fire and it’s expensive and I was like, ‘Am I going to have to pay this back to the label? Is this going on my tab?’

I was all panicked… I don’t know why for some reason I was worried about that, but it was also my first CMA to ever attend, which I used to watch CMA and ACMs and have a legal pad and write down all the nominees and circle the ones I wanted to win.”

She continued, saying Nashville Star was the biggest thing she’d done in front of a live audience up until that point, and even that was just for TV, not in front of real-life people.

Miranda also pointed out how much fake hair and hairspray she had going on, adding that it was also in the back of her mind that she could potentially catch her hair on fire.

Like any good manager, her longtime manager Marion Kraft told her it would at least be “even more press” should that occur on live TV:

“And I mean, I was in it. There I am on this stage at Madison Square Garden, never done anything like that before.

I mean, ‘Nashville Star’ was the biggest thing I had done as far as an audience goes, but it was a TV audience. It wasn’t in real person so I was so scared and…

I had all this weave, a million pounds of hair and hairspray because that’s what you do in country music. And I was like, ‘What if I catch my hair on fire?’ My manager’s like, ‘It’ll be even more press.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.'”


When you watch this video back now, it’s easy to see how badly the industry needed someone like her and why she resonated so deeply with so many people, especially young women.

A co-write with Steve Earle, it was the third single and title-track to her debut album and peaked at #15 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. It was also her first Top 20 country hit and led to her very first Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

If this ain’t what it means to bring the house down, I sure as shit don’t know what is:

This year’s 57th annual show will air live on ABC on November 8th live at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, and will once again be hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning.

You can see the full list of nominees HERE and performers HERE.

And yes, we will be live-tweeting the entire thing.



A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock