Watch Kelly Clarkson's incredible cover of Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You'

8 March 2022, 10:32 | Updated: 10 March 2022, 10:29

By Mayer Nissim

"I know that Whitney is smiling down on us tonight, so thank you very much."

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Dolly Parton hosted the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards ceremony last night (March 7), and one of the special guests paid tribute to the country icon with a stunning performance.

Kelly Clarkson gave an incredible rendition of 'I Will Always Love You' at the show, which took place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Dolly Parton wrote 'I Will Always Love You' all the way back in 1973 – on the same day she wrote the equally magnificent 'Jolene'.

She released the song herself in 1974 and it was a massive hit, but it went to the next level when Whitney Houston covered it for her 1992 film The Bodyguard.

Her version spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the biggest-selling singles of all time.

"I know that Whitney is smiling down on us tonight, so thank you very much – she would be proud of that," Dolly said of Kelly's performance.

"I was backstage trying not to cry my false eyelashes off – slinging snot in every direction and tears. But anyway, that was an amazing job!"

Kelly had previously confirmed her appearance at the show during a segment of The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson
Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson. Picture: Getty

"I wanna let you in on something a little exciting that I'm super-stoked about," Kelly said.

"I'm going to be performing at the Academy of Country Music... and I'm super-stoked because the one and only Dolly Parton is hosting. I have a special tribute planned just for her."

To loud whoops, she added that the whole audience of that day's chatshow would be given tickets to Allegiant Stadium to see the performance in person.

Dolly and Kelly recently hooked up to record a new version of Dolly's '9 to 5' for the upcoming documentary Still Working 9 To 5.

As Dolly opened the show, she said: "I love to laugh, I love to joke, and we're going to have a good time tonight, but I do want us before we get started with all our fun to take a serious moment.

"Now I don't want to be political and this is not. I'd rather pass a kidney stone than do that, but I want us to send our love and hope to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

"So why don't we just dedicate this entire show to them and pray for peace around this crazy old world?"

Kelly Clarkson sings 'I Will Always Love You'
Kelly Clarkson sings 'I Will Always Love You'. Picture: Getty

The full list of winners at the 2022 ACM awards was as follows:

Entertainer of the Year: Miranda Lambert

  • Female Artist of the Year: Carly Pearce
  • Male Artist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
  • Album of the Year: Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen
  • Single of the Year: 'If I Didn't Love You' – Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood
  • Song of the Year: 'Things a Man Oughta Know' - Lainey Wilson
  • New Female Artist of the Year: Lainey Wilson
  • New Male Artist of the Year: Parker McCollum
  • Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne
  • Group of the Year: Old Dominion
  • Video of the Year: 'Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)' – Elle King and Miranda Lambert
  • Songwriter of the Year: Michael Hardy
  • Music Event of the Year: 'Never Wanted to Be That Girl' – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde