Kelly Clarkson Sings 'I Will Always Love You' for Dolly Parton on ACMs - Rolling Stone
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Kelly Clarkson Slays the ACM Awards With Her Cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’

The pop star paid tribute to the ACMs co-host with a rendition of one of Parton’s signature songs

Even when Dolly Parton wasn’t onstage performing or co-hosting the 2022 ACM Awards, she still had an outsized presence. The Country Music Hall of Fame member received a one-of-a-kind tribute during Monday’s streaming show when pop star (and talk-show host) Kelly Clarkson sang “I Will Always Love You.”

It was a typically majestic performance for Clarkson, who wowed not only with huge notes and vocal runs, but with the restraint she showed in the performance.

One of Parton’s best-known songs, “I Will Always Love You” has been through several iterations. Parton penned it in 1973 about her decision to move on from her mentor Porter Wagoner and it hit Number one in 1974. Parton took it to Number One again in 1982, this time via a new version that appeared on the soundtrack for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She cut it yet again in 1995 as a duet with Vince Gill on the album Something Special.

Most famously, Whitney Houston’s revamped 1992 version for The Bodyguard went on to massive global success, earning the late singer her biggest hit and becoming one of the highest-selling singles of all time. Clarkson’s performance on the Academy of Country Music Awards incorporated elements of both Parton’s and Houston’s versions of “I Will Always Love You.”

Parton has been seemingly everywhere lately promoting her new book Run, Rose, Run, which she wrote with James Patterson, and its companion album of the same title. Clarkson, the original American Idol winner, is currently set to co-host a new Eurovision-style show called American Song Contest with Snoop Dogg. It begins airing March 21 on NBC.

The 2022 ACM Awards, which streamed live from Las Vegas on Prime Video, voted Miranda Lambert Entertainer of the Year. Here’s the complete winners list.

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