In November 2005, Miranda Lambert was a little known 22-year-old singer from East Texas, struggling to turn her time on Nashville Star into a country music career. As a nominee for the Horizon Award, she was allowed to perform her new single on Nashville's biggest stage — actually, the show was held in New York City that year — and viewers came away asking, "Who was that?" She didn't win the award, but she won the night.

"Kerosene" was the third single from Lambert's debut album of the same name. Credited to Lambert and Steve Earle, it became her first major hit, reaching No. 15 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Her performance of the track at the awards show proved to be a pivotal moment in the rising star's career.

"I was terrified to get on that stage," Lambert recalls (quote via Sounds Like Nashville). "It was the year that it was at Madison Square Garden, so not only was my first time in New York City to perform but it was the CMAs and everybody I ever loved was sitting in the crowd, not to mention, you know, the television aspect of it. It was sort of my first time to say, ‘Hey, here’s who I am as an artist’ and so I felt like a lot was riding on that performance."

She overcame another fear to give the memorable performance.

"And we had fire, like, these huge firewalls, and I was afraid my hair was gonna catch on fire,” she relates. "You know, it was just like a million things going through my mind…but, now I definitely know that, the feeling of the butterflies is because I cared so much because I knew it was important."

What started as flickering fires around Lambert's feet burst into a full inferno by the song's conclusion. She totally gave in to the emotions of the song, overcoming any inhibitions she may have had. Once in a while, an awards show performance can launch a career to new heights. This performance put Lambert on the map as country music's new bad girl.

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