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Grand Ole Opry apologizes for Elle King's showing at Dolly Parton's 78th birthday bash

A collage showing Elle King singing in a hot pink fringe costume on the right and Dolly Parton in a blue and white costume
Elle King, left, slurred her way through one of Dolly Parton's songs Friday, and the Grand Ole Opry, where King performed, ended up apologizing for it. (Getty Images)

Ever been to a show so bad that the venue issued an apology? That seems to be the case for Elle King after she stole the spotlight at Dolly Parton's birthday bash in Nashville on Friday — and not in a good way.

The "Ex's & Oh's" singer appeared to slur her words while performing during the second of the country music legend's 78th birthday tributes at the Grand Ole Opry. King repeatedly said she didn't know the lyrics to one of Parton's songs and at one point admitted she was drunk.

“Hi, my name is Elle King. I’m f— hammered,” the 34-year-old told the audience after she struggled to get through Parton’s 2001 song “Marry Me,” according to a clip shared on TikTok. Several other clips of the cringe-inducing performance made the rounds on social media, showing King improvising the lyrics during the inscrutable delivery.

“I don’t know the lyrics to this thing in this f— town," King said. "Don’t tell Dolly, ’cause it’s her birthday."

King, the daughter of comedian Rob Schneider, also repeatedly swore onstage and joked with the crowd about her performance.

"I’m not even gonna f— lie, y'all bought tickets for this s—? You ain’t getting your money back," she added.

Later, the singer grabbed another instrument and said: "I can barely play another person's song. Let me see if I can play one of mine."

Read more: Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks confess their mutual love for '90s alt-rock god Chris Gaines

Social media users bashed King, calling her "disappointing," accusing her of having "no class" or likening the outing to Bradley Cooper's drunken awards-show scene in the 2018 film "A Star Is Born."

"This feels like drunken karaoke not a professional singer at the Opry! 😳," said one comment on TikTok.

"They need to bring back those big hooks they used to get people off stage in old cartoons," said another.

"Her whole band looked so embarrassed," added another.

"It was tragic to witness this! ... Huge disrespect to Dolly," another user said.

"can you imagine the folks that are they same age as dolly trying to enjoy this😳 my folks would have walked out," wrote another.

"What we dont do is disrespect the QUEEN!" another comment said.

Neither King nor the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has commented on the performance, and representatives for King did not immediately respond Monday to The Times' requests for comment.

However, the Grand Ole Opry had something to say. The storied venue issued an apology to one disappointed concertgoer on X — formerly Twitter. The attendee lamented spending $300 on tickets and accused King of ruining the night "with her horrible, drunk, and profane performance."

"Dolly Parton would’ve been mortified. For our first time at The Opry, it was a shame we all had to witness that," the attendee wrote.

"Hi Judas, we deeply regret and apologize for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance," the venue said.

Representatives for the Opry did not have further comment when reached Monday by The Times.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Parton did not attend the second show. Neither did her sister Stella Parton, who took to X on Monday to defend King, whom she described as "a young singer who embarrassed herself by not respecting the person she was paid to pay tribute to."

“I didn’t see nor hear the Grand Ole Opry birthday tribute to my big sister Dolly over the weekend. But some lil girl by the name of Elle King apparently cussed and insulted some of Dolly’s fans by not knowing a song,” Stella wrote. “She did admit to being ‘hammered’ her word not mine."

"But let me just say this, it wouldn’t be the first time a Hillbilly went on the stage of the Opry ‘hammered’ but I guess it’s ok if you’re a male but good lord don’t ever let a girl behave that way folks! Double f— standard if ya ask me," she added. "So the Opry is apologizing! Lol"

Stella Parton also warned against trying to cover her sister's iconic music without being prepared.

"To any lil ego thinking they can learn the lyrics correctly with a half assed listen to one of Dolly’s song. Surprise! You’ll end up looking as silly as that lil girl. Do your homework people. Memorize the lyrics to Jolene or COMC. My sister loves words. A brilliant word smith," she concluded.

Criticism of King comes weeks after she made a similar admission about being drunk during "New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash." The singer-songwriter, who has said she needs "liquid courage" before performing, told the audience that "I live what I sing" when she performed "Drunk (And I Don’t Want to Go Home)."

Terri Clark, Tigirlily Gold, Ashley Monroe, Dailey and Vincent and others took to the stage at the Opry to celebrate Parton, according to the Tennessean.

Parton also celebrated her birthday by releasing four new songs to accompany her 2023 "Rockstar" album.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.