Kelly Clarkson brought the crowd to their feet as she honored country superstar Dolly Parton during the 2022 ACM Awards.
The singer took the stage at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards live from Las Vegas on Monday, to pay tribute to the show's mega host by performing a beautiful rendition of the Parton-penned hit “I Will Always Love You.” Hitting all the right notes and showing off her impressive vocal range, Clarkson stunned in a black velvet, long-sleeved gown while belting out the tune.
The simple, yet powerful performance, included Clarkson accompanied by a pianist and guitarist. The audience applauded the “Since U Been Gone” singer, as Parton took the stage to give Clarkson a hug.
“Oh my, God, that was so great!” Parton exclaimed. "That’s so great, Kelly. I know that Whitney (Houston) is smiling down on us tonight. Thank you very much ... I was backstage trying not to cry my false eyelashes off.”
“That just topped it off for me,” Parton continued, before announcing Miranda Lambert as entertainer of the year.
Parton originally penned and recorded the song in 1973 as a tribute to her close friend, business partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner. The late Houston later rerecorded the track for her 1992 film, “The Bodyguard.”
Clarkson is a fan of both Parton and the late Houston — she has previously covered Houston in her "Kellyoke" segment on her daytime talk show and is currently working with the Tennessee Songbird on a duet of the "9 to 5." It's the same song she performed on her first-ever episode of "The Kelly Clarkson Show."
Monday night was filled with classic Parton moments. The multi-Grammy-winning legend brought her humor, style and stage presence to the event as host, alongside Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett. She also delighted viewers with a performance of “Big Dreams and Faded Jeans” with Kelsea Ballerini.
Many artists performed during the show — including ACM winner of the night Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Chris Stapleton and more, entertaining fans with their latest hits. Clarkson, meanwhile, wasn’t the only one who delivered a sensational rendition of a classic song. Barrett sang Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” during the night.
The 2022 ACM Awards were held at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and streamed for the first time on Amazon Prime Video.