The average country artist's career is, for the most part, well orchestrated and carefully plotted. But every once in a while, whether planned for or not, one small step can turn into a big deal.

Sometimes those "big deals" can be mildly controversial, and other times they're hugely unpopular ... but there may be something to the saying that "no publicity is bad publicity."

Click through the gallery above to learn more about some of the riskiest steps taken by country stars and read our assessments of just how those moves have affected their careers.

This list was originally compiled by Stephen L. Betts, and revised by Sterling Whitaker and Christina Vinson.