Kelly Clarkson honors Dolly Parton at ACM Awards with moving song

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There’s no one on Earth who loves Dolly Parton more than Kelly Clarkson.

The “American Idol” alum, 39, honored the country music icon, 76, with a moving rendition of the song “I Will Always Love You” at the 2022 ACM Awards on Monday evening.

Clarkson rocked a long-sleeved black gown for the performance at the ceremony, held at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

After the “Miss Independent” singer sweetly sang a cover of the late Whitney Houston track, Parton came out on stage and greeted Clarkson.

“Give it up for Dolly Parton,” Clarkson exclaimed as she left the stage.

“I know that Whitney is smiling down on us tonight, so thank you very much — she would be proud of that,” Parton told the audience.

“I was backstage trying not to cry my false eyelashes off — slinging snot in every direction and tears,” the “9 to 5” actress continued. “But anyway, that was an amazing job!”

Recently, Parton spoke about “I Will Always Love You” and how she nearly crashed her car the first time she heard the late Houston sing the song, which became one of the all-time biggest singles. Parton also revealed she earned about $10 million in royalties in the 1990s, which she used to help a black neighborhood in Nashville.

Last month, Clarkson announced on Instagram that she would be performing a special tribute to Parton at the ceremony. “One word: DOLLY. That’s right, y’all! I’m so excited to announce that during this year’s @ACMawards, I’ll be performing a tribute to the show’s host @DollyParton! Don’t miss the #ACMawards LIVE Monday, March 7,” she wrote at the time.

Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson hugged after the performance.
Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson hugged after the performance.
Ethan Miller

The 57th Academy of Country Music Awards was hosted by Parton with co-hosts Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett helping her out.

Aside from Clarkson, other A-list performers who took the stage on Monday included Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris.

Here is the full list of winners from the 2022 ACM Awards.

Entertainer of the Year

Eric Church

Luke Combs

Miranda Lambert 

Chris Stapleton

Carrie Underwood

Female Artist of the Year

Gabby Barrett

Miranda Lambert

Ashley McBryde

Maren Morris

Carly Pearce

Male Artist of the Year

Jimmie Allen

Luke Combs

Thomas Rhett

Chris Stapleton 

Morgan Wallen

Kelly Clarkson was one of many performers, which included Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris.
Kelly Clarkson was one of many performers, which included Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett and Maren Morris.
Kevin Winter

Album of the Year

Carly Pearce — “29: Written In Stone” 

Thomas Rhett — “Country Again: Side A” 

Morgan Wallen — “Dangerous: The Double Album”

Chris Young — “Famous Friends” 

Jack Ingram, Jon Randall and Miranda Lambert — “The Marfa Tapes”

Single of the Year

“Buy Dirt” — Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan

“Famous Friends” — Chris Young and Kane Brown

“Fancy Like” — Walker Hayes

“If I Didn’t Love You” — Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood

“You Should Probably Leave” — Chris Stapleton

Song of the Year

“7 Summers” — Morgan Wallen 

“Buy Dirt” — Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan 

“Fancy Like” — Walker Hayes

“Knowing You” — Kenny Chesney

“Things a Man Oughta Know” — Lainey Wilson

New Female Artist of the Year

Tenille Arts

Priscilla Block

Lily Rose

Caitlyn Smith

Lainey Wilson

New Male Artist of the Year

Hardy

Walker Hayes

Ryan Hurd

Parker McCollm

Elvie Shane

Music Event of the Year

“Buy Dirt” — Jordan Davis and Luke Bryan

“Famous Friends” — Chris Young and Kane Brown

“Half of My Hometown” — Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney

“If I Didn’t Love You” — Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood

“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” — Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde

Duo of the Year

Brooks & Dunn

Brothers Osborne

Dan + Shay

LoCash

Maddie & Tae

Songwriter of the Year

Jesse Frasure

Nicolle Galyon

Ashley Gorley

Michael Hardy

Josh Osborne

Group of the Year

Lady A

Little Big Town

Midland

Old Dominion

The Cadillac Three

Video of the Year

“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” — Elle King and Miranda Lambert

“Famous Friends” — Chris Young and Kane Brown

“I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version)” — Taylor Swift and Chris Stapleton

“If I Didn’t Love You” — Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood

“Never Wanted to Be That Girl” — Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde



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