The country music icon was one of the night’s biggest honorees, taking home the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. When Parton went on stage to accept her award, she couldn’t help but make some high-larious jokes.
“To be receiving the Willie Nelson Award, this is an absolute high for me,” she said, laughing as the crowd erupted into cheers. “For Willie to have a high-chievement award, I mean how proper is that? ‘Cause he’s had some highs that border on historic, I can tell you that.”
In all seriousness, Parton added, “I really am very proud to receive this.”
Before Parton gave her speech, some of country’s biggest stars paid tribute to the legend with a few great covers. First, actress Lily Tomlin introduced the award before singers including Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood took the stage to perform some of Parton’s greatest hits.
Pentatonix, whose video of themselves singing with Parton went viral in September, gave one of the most memorable tribute performances, choosing to cover the classic hit “Jolene.” The group was joined by Jennifer Nettles, whose vocals were a perfect fit.
McEntire was up next, singing Parton’s classic “9 to 5,” followed by Musgraves, who sang “Here You Come Again.” And of course, a Dolly Parton tribute wouldn’t be complete without “I Will Always Love You,” which was performed by all the women (minus Pentatonix).
Parton clearly loved it: