Elle King Speaks Up on Dolly Parton/Opry Incident: ‘Oh No, Was My Human Showing?’

Nearly two months later, Elle King is finally speaking out about the storm she kicked up with her “hammered” tribute to Dolly Parton on the Grand Ole Opry Jan. 19… and it’s not the apology tour some celebs would have embarked upon in the face of a similar controversy.

“Oh no was my human showing,” King posted on her Instagram account Sunday morning. Additionally, she wrote: “To everyone showing me love because I’m human and already talked to Dolly: I love you. To everyone who told me to k*ll myself: I love you too.”

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These messages came alongside a short video showing her running up the stairway at an arena, presumably as part of an exercise routine. The clear message coming through in the video: She’s health-conscious and in excellent shape.

King had postponed the rest of her January and February concerts in the wake of the brouhaha that ensued after she messed up the Parton tribute and cussed her way through the usually staid Opry broadcast. There was speculation that perhaps she would apologize and announce she had taken the six-week time-out from touring to seek treatment, as is the custom of stars caught in embarrassing moments while under the influence. But, in keeping with the outlaw-country image she’s cultivated since crossing over from rock, King has taken on a somewhat more defiant tone than expected, to the extent she’s addressed it at all.

In another Instagram message, posted Saturday after her set at the C2C Festival at London’s O2 stadium, the singer wrote, “I am quite literally drunk and don’t wanna go home” (echoing the title of her No. 1 country duet with Miranda Lambert, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”).

She also obliquely addressed the controversy in an Instagram post earlier in the week, with a photo that showed King bundled up in a fetal position in a heavy coat on a couch backstage, with the sarcastic overlay: “Ppl being mean in my DMs think I’m sitting like this.” Over a second photo of a nearly identical pose, she added, “… when I’m really sitting like this.” The caption to the photos: “If they only knew.” Again, King’s apparent message: She is unabashed, not bowed, following the controversy.

The concern — and, as King indicates, no small amount of scorn — emerged after a calamitous performance at the Opry in which the singer forgot the lyrics to Parton’s “Marry Me” and began singing impromptu lines like “I don’t give a shit” and “I don’t know the lyrics to these things in this fucking town… Don’t tell Dolly ‘cause it’s her birthday.” Speaking to the crowd between songs, she quipped. “Hi, my name is Elle King and I’m fucking hammered.”

There was subsequent speculation among radio columnists that the Grand Ole Opry could be subject to an expensive fine from the FCC for broadcasting profanity over the air. Some country fans in attendance at the live show at the Opry House were vocally angry on social media about King’s performance, leading to a formal apology on X/Twitter to those attendees from the Opry. But thus far there has been no reportage of complaints from radio listeners leading to any FCC investigation.

Parton had expressed forgiveness after the incident and urged fans to do the same, telling Extra in January, “Elle is really a great artist. She’s a great girl, and she’s been going through a lot of hard things lately. And she just had a little too much to drink, so let’s just forgive that and forget it and move on, ’cause she felt worse than anyone ever could.”

After her time-out from touring, King reemerged with a new look as she played the Extra Innings Festival in Arizona earlier this month (pictured above). She also performed without incident as an opener for Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show at San Diego’s Petco Park before heading to Europe for a series of shows.

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