Dolly Parton honored at Grammys with star-studded tribute from Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and more
If the Grammys crowned a queen, it might be Dolly Parton this year.
The country icon was honored with a 10-minute tribute during the 61st Grammy Awards Sunday featuring Parton in performances with Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, Maren Morris and Little Big Town.
In coordinating red, Perry and Musgraves kicked off “Here You Come Again” then stepped apart to make room for Parton who strode onstage to join them in a form-fitting white gown. Cyrus and Parton turned “Jolene” into a duet, then Morris joined them to cover Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” which Parton first sang with The Trio, her project with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Their version of the song won a Grammy in 2000.
The music dropped out for a few beats allowing the women’s harmonies to shine. It kicked back in with crescendo leading up to Little Big Town’s collaboration with Parton on “Little Red Shoes,” her new song. Their voices filled the space, wowing the famous audience. Smokey Robinson was on his feet and Beck was shown in his seat looking mesmerized while Kelsea Ballerini shook her head.
The tribute ended with an all-sing of one of Parton’s many signature hits “9 to 5.”
The performance earned a standing ovation from the star-studded audience, and led to a number of notable reaction shots on the telecast. Smokey Robinson was immediately on his feet when Parton appeared during “Here You Come Again.” The members of K-Pop group BTS were seen singing along with “Jolene,” and alternative music mainstay Beck appeared to be thoroughly stunned in the final minutes.
Before the show, Parton told The Tennessean she was “working with some special people” and that while covering her hits was a lot of fun, she was most excited about performing new song “Red Shoes” from the “Dumplin'” soundtrack with Little Big Town.
Parton, who has eight Grammy Awards to her credit, described “Red Shoes” as one of her favorites and said “it’s my modern day ‘Coat of Many Colors.’ It’s like going back in time with the spiritual elements.”
“It sounds so good,” she said of her Grammys collaboration with Little Big Town. “Hopefully it will be a big night. I just want people to know how appreciative I am of this whole thing. I just feel honored. I just feel proud. I just feel humbled really by it.”
In addition to her Grammy tribute, Parton was the first country singer to be named MusiCares Person of the Year. The gala dinner was Friday night and performers included Cyrus with Shawn Mendes, Margo Price, Cam, Jennifer Nettles, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Yolanda Adams, Don Henley, Vince Gill, Brandi Carlile and Willie Nelson.