Just because they liked her first Nashville single, “Come on Over,” and she looks cute in short shorts and boots, doesn’t necessarily mean country fans are going to invite Jessica Simpson into their world. The former pop star and tabloid fixture learned that lesson the hard way over the weekend, when her live country debut at the Country Thunder festival in Randall, Wisconsin, got the boot.
Dressed in Daisy Dukes, a white button-down shirt and cowboy boots, Simpson was hit with a mixture of boos and cheers as soon as she hit the stage after a set by former “American Idol” contender Kellie Pickler, according to the Kenosha News.
She didn’t let it rattle her, telling the skeptical audience, “I don’t know what your perception is of Jessica Simpson or what tabloid you buy, but I just want you to know that I’m just a girl from Texas; I’m just like you. I’m doing what I love and dating a boy.”
But some fans weren’t buying it, even though that “boy” is Wisconsin native and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
“Just because she’s dating Tony Romo it doesn’t make her country,” Mike Rodriguez, 31, told the paper. “She doesn’t fit in with country, and I’ll have to drink a lot of beer to sit through her concert.”
Another fan, Zach Schlodt, 19, agreed, saying he didn’t think Simpson’s heart was in country and that she was just trend-hopping. “She’s an embarrassment to country music,” he said.
In addition to some songs from her country debut, Do You Know, due in September, Simpson played covers of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” Willie Nelson‘s “On the Road Again” and Shania Twain‘s “Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” Despite the double-down on boot-related songs, though, Simpson appeared to have made a tactical error by also singing one of her old pop hits, “With You.”
“I just don’t hear the country in her; I don’t hear the twang. She’s not good enough to be here,” said Adam Matos, 21. While some of the men didn’t seem to care for Simpson’s down-home makeover, a few of the ladies in the audience offered somewhat less harsh assessments. “I actually like her country songs better. She has a great voice, plus, she’s adorable,” said Mary Grace, 24.
Sensing that the crowd needed a bit more red meat to win them over, Simpson vowed at the end of her set that she has no plans ever to record another pop album. Take that, y’all.