Today, Miranda Lambert is one of country music's most beloved superstars, with a bevy of hit songs and trophies under her belt and a massive, fierce fanbase behind her. Back at the beginning of her career, however, Lambert was a teenager from Texas trying out for a televised singing contest.

That's right -- though few fans remember her early days as an on-screen hopeful, Lambert came of age during the early 2000s reality TV boom, back when American Idol had just skyrocketed into the national mainstream. Lambert never competed on Idol, but as some of her diehard fans know, the singer participated in the first season of the USA Network's Nashville Star in 2003. She ultimately came in third place, though the judges prophetically praised her songwriting, saying that her knack for imagery was "just what country needs right now."

However, Lambert's stint on Nashville Star wasn't the first time she graced the ranks of a talent contest. According to a 2007 article in the Washington Post, the singer heard a radio advertisement for what was at the time known as the True Value Country Showdown (now simply the Country Showdown) when she was 16 years old, and told her parents that she wanted to enter. She didn't win, but she did receive enough encouragement from the experience to go to Nashville and record a demo.

Unfortunately, that demo didn't go quite as planned: Lambert walked away from the experience crushed, describing the songs she cut as "awful" and "cheesy," and feeling as if she had wasted the hefty fee it cost her family for her to book studio time.

"I cried in the studio," Lambert told the Post in 2007. "My dad spent $6,000 to do those demos, and we didn't have $6,000 at all. It was terrible. But he says it was a cheap lesson because I learned in three hours what I wanted to do."

Lambert has stated that she wasn't yet ready to make an album when she was a teenager; in hindsight, it's probably for the best that she never made it to the top of the televised contests she entered. Instead, she continued to hone her sound and figure out what kind of music she wanted to make, ultimately exploding onto the country music scene with her platinum, hit-packed debut album, Kerosene, in 2005.

To learn more about the singer's history with televised singing competitions -- as well as the feud she had with one particular megastar over whether or not shows such as Idol and Nashville Star could produce true talent -- press play above to watch this week's episode of The Secret History of Country Music, from The Boot's partner site, Taste of Country.

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