Call it finger-lickin’ good casting.
Country singer Reba McEntire is the latest celebrity to channel KFC founder Colonel Sanders in a new series of ads for the fried chicken chain, making her the first female and first musician to play the fast-food mascot.
“I’m Colonel Sanders, the same as always,” she sings in one cheeky commercial. “I’m definitely not a woman!”
In another spot, McEntire’s Colonel reveals that he was actually in full drag as the country singer.
Rocking the Colonel’s signature facial hair, the 62-year-old Grammy winner puts her own fringed and sparkly spin on his iconic white suit, giving the look “a little bit of the country music flair,” she tells the Associated Press.
“I thought the transformation was really funny,” continues McEntire, who will appear in the ads through April. “I got a big kick out of it.”
A KFC representative says the company tapped McEntire as a spokesperson to promote the chain’s new Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken in part because of her own Southern roots and charm—not as a political statement related to the #TimesUp movement or a call for gender equality in the workplace.
“We’ve always maintained that anyone, male or female, who embodies the spirit of the colonel is qualified to play the iconic role,” the representative tells Newsweek.
However, some fried chicken consumers are complaining on social media that McEntire’s campaign “reeks of male-bashing feminism,” with one Twitter user calling it “the stupidest attempt at genderqueer equality I have seen yet.”
Other performers to play Harland Sanders, who died in 1980, include Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan, George Hamilton, Rob Riggle, Billy Zane, Ray Liotta, and Rob Lowe.
Watch McEntire’s fresh new batch of KFC ads below.