Dolly Parton Celebrated on Social Media After Thrilling Thanksgiving NFL Halftime Show Performance

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton performs during halftime of the NFL's Thanksgiving football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders on Nov. 23, 2023, in Arlington, TX. Photo: AP Photo/Julio Cortez/Canadian Press

Six minutes. That’s how long Dolly Parton had to perform during the halftime show of Thursday’s Thanksgiving football game in Dallas, between the hometown Cowboys and visiting Washington Commanders. And, as one might expect, the 77-year-old music legend tore the house down.

Outfitted in the iconic Dallas Cowboys cheerleader uniform, Parton performed her classics Jolene and 9 to 5 before pivoting to a cover of Queen’s We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions, which is the latest single from the newly-minted Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s collaborative cover album, Rockstar.

The halftime show, performed in support of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive, drew rave reviews from fans who took to social media to celebrate all things Dolly.

With this memorable performance in the books, arts and culture writer Kim Hughes takes a deeper look at Dolly Parton’s new Rockstar album.


From Dollywood to Dollyrock


Trailblazer Dolly Parton is at it again, this time hopping genres in a move that is turning the established tradition of “rock stars going country” on its head. Acts from Hootie & the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker to rapper Kid Rock have made the shift, but few have done the reverse. On the recently-released album Rockstar, the 77-year-old doyenne of twang shelves the proverbial Stetson for guitar-goosed scorchers: there are 21 covers of the most BIC-lighter-worthy anthems, plus nine originals, all of them backed by a small army of cred-boosting marquee guests. They include members of Judas Priest, Blondie, Heart, Bon Jovi, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac and the Doobie Brothers; plus, Elton John, Sting, Pat Benatar and Sheryl Crow, with many artists performing on the very songs they made famous.

The country crooner made her foray into the canon in 2022, when the singer-songwriter was nominated for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Though she initially demurred, Parton — a sterling combination of aw-shucks graciousness and towering smarts — then announced her intention to record a rock ’n’ roll album to justify her inclusion. And so, here we are.

While Parton’s many guests are a huge selling point, Rockstar’s contents aren’t bad either, even if the world wasn’t necessarily chomping at the bit for new versions of burnished chestnuts like Stairway to Heaven, We Are the Champions and Purple Rain.

Elsewhere, Parton’s still-strong, inimitable voice imbues her god child Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and the Beatles’ Let It Be with heft. That Parton cut the latter track opposite Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr suggests she is beyond fearless and completely bulletproof against even a hint of novelty. — Kim Hughes