Dolly Parton Rocks University of Tennessee Colors at Football Game

Dolly Parton just put Us all to shame with her game day outfit.

Parton, 77, made a surprise appearance at the University of Tennessee’s Saturday, November 18, football game in Knoxville against the University of Georgia’s collegiate team. She stepped onto the field to deliver a pep talk to the crowd in an orange-and-white number.

The legendary singer chose a sparkly orange jumpsuit with silver stars running down the side, which coordinated with her white motorcycle jacket. Her look, which perfectly matched the Volunteers’ team colors and the name of her Rockstar album, was completed with a pair of orange hoop earrings.

Parton took the Neyland Stadium field in between the first and second quarter of the football game, escorted by retired NFL star Peyton Manning. After dropping her words of wisdom, she sang a portion of the Osborne Brothers’ “Rocky Top.”

Many fans, including Bachelor Nation’s Carly Waddell, were shocked and thrilled by Parton’s appearance.

Dolly Parton speaks to the crowd between the first and second quarter at Neyland Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Eakin Howard/Getty Images

“Dolly FREAKIN Parton,” Waddell, 38, wrote via Instagram Story on Sunday, November 19, sharing zoomed-in footage from her place in the stands. “I’ve never seen Dolly in person and y’all know I LOVEEEEE her. So this was SO GREAT. Well, til [Tennessee] lost.”

The Vols lost to the Georgia Bulldogs 38-10, but Parton’s appearance — in conjunction with the release of her Rockstar album that came out on Friday, November 17 — remained a highlight to all.

“Well, it was great, only I couldn’t hear because my sound went out and the stadium was so loud, but I was so honored to be here,” Parton gushed to CBS Sports sideline reporter Jenny Dell on Saturday. “They put me in that dang Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and I figured, I’ve got to do something to earn that.”

Parton, who hails from Tennessee, added: “It’s just so good to be home, always.”

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Parton’s LP Rockstar, in which she recorded covers of many iconic tunes, marked her shift from country to rock music. She was inspired to release the album after she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

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Dolly Parton is escorted by Peyton Manning at Neyland Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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“There are more people out there that spent their whole life in rock and roll that I felt deserved it more than me,” Parton said on the Friday episode of Apple Music 1. “I thought, ‘Well, I didn’t understand all the reasons they give it to you,’ but I still say, ‘If you’re going to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you need to earn it,’ which is what prompted me to go ahead and do the rock ’n’ roll album.”

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She continued: “I think it’s some of my best work, but timing is everything. I’ve often talked about doing it but, at my age, chances are I would not have done it. When they wanted to put me in the Hall of Fame, I didn’t want to go. They put me in anyway, so then I’m like my daddy, I don’t want nothing that I don’t earn. That’s when I thought, ‘Well, it’s now or never.’”

Parton further revealed to Apple Music DJ Zane Lowe that her husband of 50 years, Carl Dean, flipped over Rockstar. 

I played him the whole album and he said, which to me was the greatest compliment in the world, he said, ‘You know, it’s pretty good,’” she gushed. “That would be like anybody else saying, ‘Oh, that’s best I ever heard. That’s just so fantastic.’ But for Carl to really say, ‘You know, that’s pretty good.’”

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