When Simpson took to the stage for a tribute rendition of Parton's hit "9 to 5" during a taping of the annual show, she stood awkwardly, flubbed the words, said something about being "so nervous," and then rushed off stage right. The singer apparently cried after the mishap that left the crowd silent.
Producers gave Simpson a second chance at the song.
But after Simpson saw a tape, she requested the second attempt be pulled from the show, which airs Dec. 26 on CBS.
"She really wasn't happy with her performance and she did want it to be perfect for Dolly, who she idolizes," said Cindi Berger, a spokeswoman for Simpson.
Besides Parton, the Washington, D.C., tribute honors Andrew Lloyd Webber, Zubin Mehta, Smokey Robinson and Steven Spielberg. Caroline Kennedy is the host.
"We appreciate the time and energy Ms. Simpson put into this event and respect the high standards she has for herself and that of the Kennedy Center Honors," said George Stevens Jr., the show's producer.
CBS declined comment.