Why Dolly Parton Didn’t Appear on the ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Episode Honoring Her on the Runway

Dolly Parton is widely considered a gay icon, yet the singer has never appeared on one of the biggest LGBTQ+ shows to grace TV screens, RuPaul’s Drag Race. A recent episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars featured a runway challenge centered around Parton’s fashion looks over the years, and it wasn’t the first time the show highlighted her work. But the country music legend still did not delight fans by appearing on the show. Here’s why Parton has never been on RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Dolly Parton performs on stage with a guitar.
Dolly Parton | Rick Kern/FilmMagic

On June 17, a new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars aired. Each episode of the show includes a main stage challenge, involving acting, dancing, sewing, or another skill related to drag entertainment, and a runway challenge. Season 7 is the long-awaited season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars featuring only winners from previous seasons as contestants. 

On season 7, episode 6 of the Emmy-winning show, famous drag queens like Jinkx Monsoon, Raja Gemini, and Monét X Change competed in a runway challenge centered around country music star Dolly Parton’s fashion looks over the years. 

It is not uncommon for stars to appear on episodes in which their legacies are honored. But, surprisingly, Parton did not make a cameo on the program. Instead, Swedish pop singer Tove Lo served as the episode’s guest judge.  

Michelle Visage explained why Dolly Parton didn’t appear on the episode of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ honoring her on the runway

In case fans were wondering why Dolly Parton did not appear on the episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars honoring her on the runway, RuPaul’s best friend and show judge shared the answer. Michelle Visage told Huffington Post in May 2021 that they have asked the “Jolene” singer to come on the show multiple times. 

“Just to let everybody know we have asked Dolly Parton for 11, 12, 13 years,” Visage said. “At the end of the day it’s scheduling, and it’s a very long day for these people.”

She continued to say that Parton isn’t the only megastar they have been trying unsuccessfully to get on the show. “To just calm everybody down we do ask Cher, we do ask Madonna, we do ask Liza, we do ask Dolly, we ask everybody, and scheduling is always the conflict,” Visage shared. “It took years to get Gaga, but we got her.”

Although Parton has not been on the show in person, she did appear in a video message during an episode of RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race in which contestants worked on a challenge inspired by the film 9 to 5.

The ‘Jolene’ singer shaded the drag superstar in the past 

Fans wondering why Dolly Parton hasn’t been on RuPaul’s Drag Race might be surprised to learn that the singer once shaded RuPaul in an interview.

The drag superstar interviewed Parton for Marie Claire in December 2020. After sharing an anecdote about making breakfast for her husband, RuPaul asked if the “9 to 5” singer wears her high heels while cooking. 

“I always wear my high heels. Don’t you?” Parton asked. 

“No. That’s the thing: There are similarities in what we do, but I take all that stuff off,” RuPaul responded.

“Well, I don’t. I have to always stay ready – street ready, I always say. I have to keep my makeup on and keep my hair done,” said Parton before taking a subtle dig at RuPaul. “Like, when I’m in L.A. – I’ve told you about it – if it’s going to earthquake, if we get an earthquake, I’m not running out in the street looking like you look now.”

But the singer seemed to be joking, and the shade likely has nothing to do with why Parton hasn’t been on the show. 

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