Upon receiving the prestigious Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, a star-filled medley unfolded on the Bridgestone Arena stage to honor some of the greatest hits in Parton’s career. Kicking things off with the classic, “Jolene,” Jennifer Nettles teamed up with a cappella vocal group, Pentatonix, for a beat-boxed modern-day version of the track. Nettles and Co. harmonized over the infidelity tune with incredibly smooth key changes that got the whole crowd moving.
Reba then stepped out in a shiny navy number to sing the jazzy staple, “9 to 5.” Even Reba herself got a little overwhelmed in the moment and stumbled through the first few words to ultimately finish strong during the upbeat hit. Parton sang and clapped along while watching from her seat among the energetic crowd.
Flowing straight into the next hit, Kacey Musgraves mustered up the big guns to take on the sweet song, “Here You Come Again.” She powered her way through the commanding track in a little white frock and got everyone swaying to the sound.
Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride brought their strong vocals to start off Parton’s biggest love ballad, “I Will Always Love You,” which invited the return of Nettles, Reba and Musgraves to the B-stage. Parton mouthed the words to the beautiful hit as she teared up without ruining her sparkly eye makeup, of course.
Reba summed up everyone’s feelings about Parton and the honor by ending the performance with a simple, “Gosh dangit, Dolly. We love you!”
Check out more coverage from the 50th Annual CMA Awards on Sounds Like Nashville HERE.