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NBC Insider American Song Contest

Kelly Clarkson's Cover of 'I Will Always Love You' Made Dolly Parton Cry

The American Song Contest Host brought the house down at the 2022 ACM Awards.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

In case we needed a reminder that Kelly Clarkson's voice is absolutely flawless, the Voice Coach and American Song Contest Host just brought the house down at the 2022 Academy of Country Music Awards with a Dolly Parton tribute. 

During the show on March 8, Clarkson took the stage and delivered a tall order: a rendition of "I Will Always Love You." (Parton released the ballad on her album, Jolene, in 1974, and it was famously covered by the late Whitney Houston in 1992.) 

Clarkson's cover earned a standing ovation and praise from Parton herself. "I know that Whitney is smiling down on us tonight, so thank you very much. She would be proud of that," Parton said, according to Yahoo!. "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."

The Kelly Clarkson Show Host, who's a longtime fan of Parton's, shared a photo on Instagram of the two of them from the night. "What is life!? I love you @DollyParton!" she captioned the snap.

Lucky for us, we're set to see Kelly Clarkson and Dolly Parton collaborate in the near future. The women are recording a duet of Parton's 1980 hit, "9 to 5." The track will be featured in the upcoming documentary, Still Working 9 to 5, about the classic film of the same name. 

That's just one of many projects on Clarkson's plate. Tune in to watch her and Snoop Dogg as Hosts of American Song Contest when it premieres Monday, March 21 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. For the unfamiliar, the music competition show centers on singers from 50 U.S. states, five territories, and Washington, D.C who perform original songs—and viewers decide which one is the best.