Jessica Simpson Can't Handle "9 to 5"
Tue, 05 Dec 2006 16:00:47
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At last, Ashlee can say she isn't the only Simpson sister to embarrass herself with a shoddy performance. Her big sister Jessica required two takes to muddle her way through a rendition of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" at the 29th Annual Kennedy Center Honors while performing as part of a tribute to Parton, one of this year's honorees. Fortunately for the "A Public Affair" singer, her performance was taped, so TV audiences will see the better of her two attempts later this month -- although she still reportedly flubbed a lyric even on her second try.
According to various eyewitness reports, Simpson's first stab at "9 to 5," during the show's regular taping, was a complete mess, which she barely got through. By the time she finished the song, Simpson was nearly in tears, and a stunned audience forgot to applaud as the singer looked up at Dolly Parton sitting in the balcony and said, "Dolly, you make me so nervous, I can't even sing the words right." Rather than perform an Ashlee-style two-step, Jessica simply left the stage as a video tribute to Parton started rolling.
Her second take was recorded after the regular show had finished taping, and was done with the assistance of cue cards.
Although the most obvious explanation for the slipshod performance is that Simpson was simply under-rehearsed, that didn't stop the half-baked explanations from flying. According to Simpson's publicist, she was "overcome with emotion." According to the supermarket tabloid Star, she was distracted because her strapless gown started to slip and she was fearful of a "wardrobe malfunction." Which, considering that other attendees besides Parton included the President and First Lady George W. and Laura Bush, would be a good reason for a nice girl from Texas to freak out.
Whatever the reason, Simpson's performance was a lowlight in an otherwise well-executed medley of Parton favorites that also featured Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss and Shania Twain. Reuters reported that Parton looked "surprised and thrilled" by the other performers but "significantly less impressed" by Simpson. Still, Parton was reportedly gracious enough to give Simpson a hug backstage after the show.
"Jessica has adored Dolly for her whole life," a rep for Simpson told USA Today. "She wanted the song to be perfect and she was upset with herself when it wasn't."
The Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS on Dec. 26th at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The other honorees include Steven Spielberg, Motown great Smokey Robinson, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and conductor Zubin Mehta.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff