Dolly Parton Shares Hilarious (But Totally Wrong) Self-Burn After Kelly Clarkson Called Her An Icon

Promo for Dolly Parton's Magic Mountain Christmas.
(Image credit: NBC)

There’s no denying that Dolly Parton is an absolute legend. She’s a country music singer and songwriter, actress and philanthropist who’s been blazing trails in the entertainment industry for over 50 years. The recipient of nearly 200 awards from her song, stage and screen career was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, and given her decades of entertaining fans globally, it’s no surprise that she had an A+ response to Kelly Clarkson calling her an icon — even if that response was 100% incorrect.

Dolly Parton appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show on December 1, where the host lauded Parton for her induction, pointing out how she was a pioneer for women, who had “opened the doors for so many of us to be able to be vulnerable as songwriters.” When Kelly Clarkson asked if it felt weird to be labeled an “icon,” Parton responded: 

Well I always think of myself more as an eyesore than an icon.

False, ma’am. Absolutely false. No eyesores to be seen. The response drew some surprised laughter from Kelly Clarkson and her audience, and even though Dolly Parton was clearly joking, she remained humble as she explained her hesitation to accept an invitation into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her career has primarily been in country music, after all, but she came to realize the honor was about more than that. In Parton's words: 

To me, I’d always thought about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being for people to spend their life in rock music like country music, and we don’t see Led Zeppelin in the Country Music Hall of Fame. So when they first said that, I thought, well you know, I don’t know that I belong there, and I didn’t want to take votes from other people that had spent their life [in rock music]. But then later I saw that it was for people, also, that have influenced other people, and I did say that I would accept it gracefully and humbly, and I did, and I was very honored.

Dolly Parton may be a country music legend, with hits including “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors” and “9 to 5” — (which has a cool story behind it) — but there’s no doubt she’s influenced other areas of music, not to mention the world at large. To go with her 11 Grammy Awards, she’s earned a Primetime Emmy and been nominated for two Academy Awards and a Tony. You can hear her talk about her latest Hall of Fame honor (and her crazy self-deprecating joke) here: 

Outside of the entertainment industry is a whole other story unto itself. Jeff Bezos awarded her with $100 million in November as part of his Courage and Civility Award for her philanthropy. She has supported literacy through charities like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library; earlier this year she donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center for pediatric infectious disease research; and during the pandemic she also donated $1 million to vaccine research. On top of her charity work, she also announced early this year that she would cover 100% of her Dollywood employees’ college expenses.

Dolly Parton has also become a fixture around the holidays, and in addition to her 2020 Netflix Christmas movie, Christmas on the Square, you check out the icon on Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas at 8 p.m. ET December 1 on NBC, or with a Peacock subscription

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.