Kelly Clarkson Honors Dolly Parton at ACM Awards with Stunning Performance of “I Will Always Love You”

Kelly Clarkson honored Dolly Parton with a stunning performance of “I Will Always Love You” at the 57th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on March 7.

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“Can’t wait to hear her sing that one,” said Parton before Clarkson’s performance of “I Will Always Love You.” “With that voice of hers, it’ll have to be incredible.”

Hosted by Parton, along with Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the ACM Awards streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime. Parton, who has hosted the Country Music Awards twice, last hosted the ACM Awards in 2000.

Dressed for the occasion in a black long-sleeved, form-fitting gown, Clarkson sang the verses of Parton’s 1977 hit softly before building up around the bigger chorus. Parton received a standing ovation as she greeted Clarkson onstage following the performance. “Give it up for Dolly Parton,” said Clarkson.

“I know that Whitney is smiling down tonight,” said Parton after Clarkson’s performance. Parton added, “trying not to cry my false eyelashes off and slinging snot in every direction.”

In the days leading up to the awards ceremony, Parton expressed her excitement at hosting the ACMs again.

“I’ve worked stadiums before,” said Parton of hosting at the Allegiant Stadium. “I’ve done that for years. When I worked with Kenny Rogers and some of those people, we would work some of the biggest arenas and stadiums.”

Parton added, “I’m never bothered by the size of the crowd. The more, the merrier for me. I love the people. They’re all the same. They’re my fans and I love them. And they have come to support me as well. It’s just a bigger kind of a deal. And being in Vegas is always great, but there are a lot of new things with this one.”

After her performance, Clarkson posted to Twitter. “What is life?” she said. “I love you Dolly Parton.”

Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty

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