Wearing a short and sparkly black frock with a plunging neckline that had camera operators on high alert for a wardrobe malfunction, Jessica Simpson made her Grand Ole Opry debut Saturday night.
Performing “Come On Over,” the first single from her new country album, Do You Know, before a nearly-sold out house that included her parents, her grandparents, aunts and uncles “…from all over Texas,” she told Nan Kelley, host of Opry Live, felt “like a homecoming to me.”
“I can’t believe I am here!” Simpson, 28, said.
Audience members, it seemed, couldn’t believe her costume choice. “I think she should have put some clothes on,” one viewer said. While another one responded to how she liked Simpson’s performance with: “I loved that new girl, Crystal [Shawanda] – and she was dressed appropriately.”
Front-row fan Mandy, who was chosen by GAC out of the audience as “Jessica’s biggest fan” and given the chance to go backstage for a meet and greet, gushed,”I think everything she does is perfect. I love her!”
Also helping make Simpson feel at home at the 83-year-old institution was country legend Loretta Lynn, who watched Simpson’s emotional performances of “Remember That” and “Sippin’ on History” from the wings before taking the stage herself.
Though Simpson, Patty Loveless and newcomer Crystal Shawanda were warmly received, it was Lynn who brought the entire audience to its feet before she sang a single note of her classics “Fist City,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “The Pill.”
During Lynn’s feisty performance, Simpson took photos of her long-time hero and visited with her at length in a private office backstage, where Lynn advised the younger star not to read her own press. “Just keep doing what you’re doing honey and you’ll be fine!”
Opry Live will be re-broadcast through Wednesday on GAC. Simpson performs on Good Morning America‘s Fall Concert Series Tuesday morning, and on The View and Late Show with David Letterman Thursday.