Country singer Miranda Lambert recently paused mid-song during a show in Las Vegas to confront fans who were taking a selfie during the performance, and no one can seem to agree whether or not she was right to do so.
In a video taken at the Sunday night concert, Lambert is seen beginning her ballad “Tin Man” when she suddenly says, “I’m gonna stop right here for a second, I’m sorry. These girls are worried about their selfie and not listening to the song,” referencing a group of friends somewhere in the front section.
“I don’t like it, at all,” she continues, “We’re here to hear some country music tonight…I’m singing some country damn music,” before motioning for them to put their phones away.
The clip quickly went viral, sparking a heated debate about who was in the wrong. Over on TikTok, most commenters thought Lambert was out of line in her chastising and agreed that the harshness did more to ruin the moment than the girls trying to take a photo.
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“Imagine it was their favorite song and they were taking a video and they were excited,” one person wrote.
“They were just making memories,” wrote another.
Another pointed out that even if Lambert were in the right, she could have handled the situation differently, suggesting that “she could have finished her song and just said some blanket statement like ‘let’s try to be in the moment and stay off our phones.’”
One even noted that for folks who “paid upward of $700 to sit up front…they SHOULD be able to take photos.”
It even became a point of focus on “The View,” wherein Whoopi Goldberg defended Lambert against the other hosts, saying that for those willing to pay high prices for front row seats to a show, they should equally be willing to “give respect” by watching someone “do their thing.”
Eventually, one of the women called out by Lambert, Adela Calin, decided to speak up. She assured NBC News that posing for a photo that night took “30 seconds at most” and came from innocent intentions—they had even attempted to capture the image before the show started but couldn’t find proper lighting. They had finally asked a woman behind them to snap a photo when Lambert spotted them.
“We just couldn’t get one good picture,” Calin told NBC. “We were so excited because I think we had the best seats in the whole theater.”
The entire situation reflects a larger exhaustion many people are having with the tech that is now the cornerstone of every aspect of our lives. According to a survey published by Fast Company, an overwhelming number of Americans (including those from Gen Z) long for a pre-plugged-in world, when life didn’t revolve around a 24-hour news cycle, constant content and a barrage of screens. It seems like many would prefer to return to simply being at a concert and trusting that the memories will be made through the feelings felt in the moment, rather than posting something online and then never thinking about it again.
There’s also the recent uptick of concertgoers literally abusing performers by throwing their phones and other objects at them, as with Bebe Rexha and Harry Styles. This is, needless to say, dehumanizing and dangerous, and most likely something that influenced Lambert’s reaction. Even Calin acknowledged this.
— Alex Chavez (@captiv_8_) June 19, 2023
However, Calin added that while she might understand Lambert’s concern, her determination to make her group look “young, immature and vain” was unfair.
“It felt like I was back at school with the teacher scolding me for doing something wrong and telling me to sit down back in my place,” Calin said. “We were just grown women in our 30s to 60s trying to take a picture.”
There isn’t a clear-cut solution to this modern-day dilemma. Selfie-taking is a deeply embedded part of our contemporary culture and like any social trend, there are pros and cons to that. Probably the only thing that we can count on not changing is the value of keeping to kindness while discussing the topic.