Dolly Parton voiced her support for Elle King after the latter stirred up controversy last month with a seemingly inebriated performance at a special Grand Ole Opry show celebrating Parton’s 78th birthday.
“Elle is a really great artist, she’s a great girl,” Parton said in her first interview about the incident on Extra. “She’s been going through a lot of hard things lately, and she just had a little too much to drink. So let’s forgive that and forget it and move on, cause she felt worse than anybody ever could.”
During the concert, King appeared to forget the lyrics while performing Parton’s song “Marry Me.”
“I don’t know the lyrics to these things in this fucking town,” she said. “Don’t tell Dolly cause it’s her birthday.”
In videos posted to TikTok, King’s bandmates tried to get her back on track by suggesting she play one of her own songs instead. “I can barely play another person’s song, let me see if I can play one of mine,” she replied.
Additionally, at one point, King seemed to admit she was inebriated, telling the crowd, “Hi, my name is Elle King and I’m fucking hammered.”
The concert, as is typical for the Grand Ole Opry, was broadcast live on 650 AM WSM, and the station reportedly received a number of complaints about King’s performance. In response to an upset fan on Twitter, the Grand Ole Opry said, “We deeply regret and apologize for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance.”
Even before the Grand Ole Opry show, fans had raised concerns about King, with some suggesting she was drunk onstage while performing at a New Year’s Eve show in Nashville. King has since postponed a bunch of scheduled tour dates for February, though she’s yet to release any kind of public statement. She’s currently scheduled to return to the stage on March 1 for an appearance at Tempe, Arizona’s baseball-themed Extra Innings Fest.
Music Country – Rolling Stone