Singer Elle King took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry for a Dolly Parton tribute on Friday, admitting to the crowd she was hammered before botching the words to a Parton song. The expletive-laden performance, which occurred on Parton’s birthday, was criticized by audience members and prompted an apology from the venue.
On X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, the famed Nashville music venue replied to an angry audience member who complained about King. “Hi Judas, we deeply regret and apologize for the language that was used during last night’s second Opry performance,” the tweet reads.
The user they were replying to wrote back: “It was such a disappointment to spend $300 on tickets for a show where one of the artists ruined an entire night. I mean it’s The Opry, the greatest country venue in the world. That performance was like lackluster karaoke performer wasted out of their minds. Awful.”
Videos on social media show King, whose real name is Tanner Elle Schneider and is the daughter of comic and actor Rob Schneider, flubbing the lyrics to Parton’s song “Marry Me.”
“Don’t tell Dolly,” she says mid-song. “Holy s***, don’t tell Dolly.”
“You bought tickets to this s***,” she said when the song ended. You ain’t getting your money back.” She continued to curse and spoke to a heckler in the crowd before addressing the audience. “Hi, my name is Elle King and I’m f***ing hammered.”
The Dolly-themed night, held at the Opry’s Rhyman Auditorium on Jan. 19 – Parton’s 78th birthday – also featured Ashley Monroe and Terri Clark. Ahead of the show, the Opry announced singer Lauren Alaina would no longer be able to perform.
Their apology tweet, which was threaded below the announcement about Alaina, received several replies from angry audience members. “I’ve been going to the Opry for probably 50 years and I can not for the life of me think of a more disrespectful and horrible performance at the Opry. Your apology not accepted by me,” one person wrote.
“Y’all shouldn’t have to apologize for #ElleKing antics. She shld apolgize to the fabulous #DollyParton for making Dolly’s bday a circus by mocking her and the audience,” another wrote. “The Opry has so much wonderful history and so well respected. She needs to be banned for life!”
In a 2022 interview with the San Diego Tribune, King – who is known for her edgier persona – spoke about performing drunk versus sober. “You know, now that I have done performances in both ways, they are different,” she said. “They don’t call it ‘liquid courage’ for nothing. I mean, how many jobs do you show up for and there are bottles of liquor on the table for you (in your dressing room)? There are not a lot.”
She admitted that she likes to drink and sing but said she doesn’t want to get as drunk as she used to. “It’s easier for me to say: ‘Yeah, I want to drink and party and (then) go on stage,'” she said. “I get nervous before I go on stage, (so) I have couple of drinks (first). Drinking makes me less nervous about hitting the notes when I sing. If I don’t make them, it won’t sting as much.”
King, who welcomed a son in 2021, said she puts “being a mother way, way, way above having a good time.”
CBS News has reached out to representatives for King and is awaiting response.