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Dolly Parton Got Smoky With Garth Brooks At 2023 ACM Awards

12 May 2023 | 4:55 pm | Ellie Robinson

The co-hosts joked that Parton was Brooks’ “hall pass”

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Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks co-hosted this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards), but they weren’t just announcing the suite of winners and performers: at a few key moments during the ceremony – which wrapped up just hours ago in Texas – the pair flirted a little more than you’d expect from casual colleagues.

Prior to the event, Brooks praised Parton as a country music legend, saying of her impact in a promotional video: “When you talk about who’s the greatest of all time – the GOAT – that’s Dolly Parton. She’s timeless. She’s ageless, and her talent just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.” 

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This year’s event marked Parton’s second time hosting the ACM Awards – she hosted last year as well, alongside Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett – while Brooks was completely new to the role. During their opening monologue together, the pair made raunchy jokes about how the show served as Brooks’ “first time”, leaning heavily into the double entendre. 

As reported by Taste Of Country, Parton jokingly labelled Brooks “Tarzan” when she stumbled, and quipped that she’d heard Brooks had named Parton as his “hall pass” (the person he’d be allowed to sleep with and not have it constitute “cheating”, agreed upon by his wife, Trisha Yearwood). Not only that, Parton also joked that she’d been named as Yearwood’s “hall pass” as well, hypothesising that “GOAT”, in Brooks’ usage, actually stood for “Garth organise a threesome”.

In a pre-show interview with Taste Of Country, Parton proudly declared that she was “absolutely” going to go off-script with her monologue. “We really don’t need [a script],” she said. “It’s nice to have guidelines, because you gotta know who is coming up next or if you’ve gotta go to commercial. But as far as us needing anything else in between, I’m sure we’ll wing it pretty good.”

The biggest winners at this year’s ACM Awards included HARDY, Cole Swindell, Morgan Wallen and Lainey Wilson – see the full breakdown here.