Dolly Parton breaks silence over disastrous Elle King concert performance

Dolly Parton has implored people to “forgive and forget” after country singer Elle King’s disastrous performance at the Grand Ole Opry last month.

King, 34, was part of a star-studded lineup taking part in a tribute concert for Parton’s 78th birthday on 19 January.

The Grammy-nominated singer, however, faced heavy criticism from her peers and the Queen of Country’s fans after telling the audience she was “hammered” and delivering a sloppy rendition of Parton’s 2001 song, “Marry Me”.

In the aftermath of King’s performance, the Grand Ole Opry – one of the most revered and prestigious music venues in the world – issued an unprecedented apology for King’s performance and expressed “deep regret” for the language she used during the show.

“For our first time at The Opry, it was a shame we all had to witness that,” the statement said.

In a recent interview, Parton broke her silence on the performance, calling the “Exes and Ohs” singer a “great artist”.

“She’s a great girl,” the “Jolene” singer told ExtraTV. “She’s been going through a lot of things lately, and she just had a little too much to drink.”

Parton, famed for her warm persona and history of good deeds, urged others to lead with kindness: “So let’s just forgive that and forget that and move on ‘cause she felt worse than anybody ever could.”

Elle King was criticised for her Dolly Parton tribute performance (Getty)
Elle King was criticised for her Dolly Parton tribute performance (Getty)

Parton herself was not in attendance at the Grand Ole Opry gig, but King’s behaviour had been branded “disrespectful” by fans, while her sister, Stella Parton, accused King of insulting Parton’s fans.

“I didn’t see nor hear the Grand Ole Opry birthday tribute to my big sister Dolly over the weekend,” Stella wrote on X/Twitter on Monday 22 January.

“But some lil girl by the name of Elle King apparently cussed and insulted some of Dolly’s fans by not knowing a song. She did admit to being ‘hammered’ her word not mine.”

King has yet to publicly comment on the incident, but postponed a series of shows six days after the Parton concert.

Deadline reported that King also struggled during her performance on New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash.

Before performing her song “Drunk (And I Don’t Want to Go Home)”, she allegedly remarked: “It’s OK, I live what I sing, y’all.”

King’s representatives did not respond to The Independent’s requests for comment.