On Friday, January 19th, Music City celebrated Dolly Parton’s 78th birthday with “Opry Goes Dolly” at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. The Opry stage is one of the most respected and revered in country music, however, that sentiment seemed to have been lost on alternative country artist Elle King.
The singer took the stage visibly intoxicated and introduced herself on the mic saying:
“Hi, my name is Elle King and I’m f***ing hammered.”
While on stage, Elle King continued with slurred and profanity-laced dialogue before attempting to sing Dolly’s 2001 hit, “Marry Me.” She was not able to remember the lyrics in her inebriated state, and instead, changed the lyrics to:
“I don’t give a s***” and “I don’t know the lyrics to these things in this f-ing town … Don’t tell Dolly ‘cause it’s her birthday.”
Shortly after the event, videos of Elle King’s performance began to circulate the internet and fans began to respond. Many called her performance “disrespectful” and “a disgrace” to both Dolly Parton and the Grand Ole Opry.
The @opry is one of the few pure things left in this world. Elle King did one of the most disrespectful things you can do to that stage.
— Christopher Harkey (@ccharkey17) January 21, 2024
elle king. how disrespectful. not only to dolly, but to every single person who has walked on that stage. i seriously cannot even believe it.
— michaela ⚡️ (@michaelafaitht) January 21, 2024
The backlash even prompted the Grand Ole Opry to issue an apology in response to one online complaint.
Hi Judas, we deeply regret and apologize for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance.
— Grand Ole Opry (@opry) January 20, 2024
Today (Jan 24) Billy Bob’s Texas, an award-winning country bar in Ft. Worth, Texas, announced that they have rescheduled the Elle King concert originally planned for this Friday, January 26th. The event was pushed back nearly eight months, with the new date being September 21st. The establishment did not give a reason for the date change, and they are offering a refund to those who originally purchased tickets.
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Billy Bob’s Texas is known as the “world’s largest honky tonk” and has hosted some of the biggest stars in country music and classic rock from Alabama to ZZ Top.
Elle King has yet to comment on the situation.
See a clip from Elle King’s Grand Ole Opry performance in the video below (Viewer discretion is advised due to profanity).