Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson paid tribute to Dolly Parton with a spine-tingling cover of 'I Will Always Love You'

kally clarkson, dolly parton, i will always love you

Clarkson performing at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

Kelly Clarkson tore the roof off Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Monday night at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards with a powerful performance of Dolly Parton's “I Will Always Love You.” The performance was a tribute to Parton, who was the ceremony's host.

Clarkson’s performance was magnificent because she sang the song with the perfect balance of power and vulnerability, which is no easy feat. “I Will Always Love You” is commonly seen as one of the most difficult songs to sing and to do it in front of the woman who wrote it had to be nerve-wracking. It was a bold move considering the fact that Whitney Houston’s version of the song is one of the most impressive vocal performances ever committed to tape.

But Dolly loved Clarkson’s rendition.

“Oh my, God, that was so great!” Parton exclaimed after the performance. "That’s so great, Kelly. I know that Whitney 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.

“I Will Always Love You” has had many lives. Dolly’s first version hit No.1 on the charts in 1974. In 1982 she rerecorded it for the film “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and it hit No.1 again.

In 1992, the song was a monster smash for Whitney Houston, who performed the song on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack.

While most people assume that it’s a love song, it was written by Parton as a way to say goodbye to her duet partner and mentor Porter Wagoner.

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