KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Neyland Stadium had a special guest Saturday when the University of Tennessee hosted the University of Georgia in a key Southeastern Conference college football game.
Country music superstar Dolly Parton walked onto a stage in the south end zone of the Volunteers’ stadium in Knoxville between the first and second quarters and led the crowd in a spirited rendition of “Rocky Top,” the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
Parton, 77, was escorted to the stage by another Tennessee legend, former Vols quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Wearing sparkly orange pants and a white jacket, the singer, who grew up in eastern Tennessee, said she was excited to perform, according to WBIR-TV.
“It’s good to be home,” Parton said. “And Peyton Manning, I will always love you.”
The 11-time Grammy Award winner -- which includes a lifetime achievement award --was joined by the UT choir but was plagued by some technical issues, according to the newspaper.
“I couldn’t hear because my sound went out and the stadium was so loud,” Parton during the CBS Sports telecast.
Despite the technical difficulties, Parton’s appearance was a big hit among the orange-and-white faithful, who were trailing the top-ranked Bulldogs 10-7 after one quarter. Smokey the mascot danced to Parton’s side and the “Pride of the Southland” band played the Vols’ fight song, USA Today reported.
Parton’s performance was a warmup for her halftime show on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, when the Cowboys host the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium, CBS Sports reported.
Parton’s singing fired up the crowd, but Georgia (11-0) prevailed in the game, handing Tennessee (7-4) a 38-10 defeat.
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