There’s a new colonel in town! Reba McEntire has been named the first woman to play KFC’s iconic ambassador (and founder) Colonel Harland Sanders.
“I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken,” the country superstar, 62, said in a press release. “It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs. I’ve held a lot of roles in my life — sort of like the Colonel himself — but this is certainly the most unique one yet.”
McEntire stars in a new commercial for the fast-food chain’s Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken, which launches in participating U.S. restaurants on Monday, January 29, one day after the singer’s ad makes its TV debut.
The commercial shows the Queen of Country donning a gray wig and white suit like Sanders, singing to an audience and trying to convince them that she is the founder himself. “Please ignore any likeness to famous country singer,” she sings. “I’m definitely not a woman.”
KFC’s new Smokey Mountain BBQ offering blends two of America’s favorite things: fried chicken and BBQ sauce. “We’re super excited about this,” the chain’s senior corporate chef Bob Das tells Us Weekly exclusively. “It’s kind of a combination of all the regions of BBQ. We call it the BBQ belt. We’re using the sweetness of Kansas City, the vinegar notes of the Carolinas and then we’re using the Memphis dry rubs to bring out those textures and flavors to bring crunch.”
Das believes the colonel would be proud of the new sauce. “It’s another great recipe and he’s what we call the original celebrity chef,” he tells Us. “With all the great recipes that he’s created in the past, I think this is another one he would be very happy with.”
As for McEntire? Das says, “We think [she’s] probably our best colonel yet!”
With reporting from Marc Lupo