Miley Cyrus, Reese Witherspoon and More Honor Dolly Parton at MusiCares Gala

The annual event is held before the Grammys ceremony.

By Corinne Heller, Amanda Williams Feb 09, 2019 3:50 PMTags
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Miley Cyrus and a slew of fellow celebs helped pay a special tribute on Friday to her godmother, Dolly Parton.

The 73-year-old iconic country star was the guest of honor at the 2019 MusiCares Person Of The Year gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. The annual gala takes place before the Grammy Awards. This year's ceremony is on Sunday.

At the MusiCares gala, one of the most prestigious events held during Grammys weekend, Cyrus introduced Parton to the crowd, saying, "She's not just my fairy godmother, she's everyone's."

Parton was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of her significant creative accomplishments and longtime support of many charitable causes.  Proceeds from the annual Person of the Year tribute, now in its 29th year, provide essential support for MusiCares, a charity founded by the Recording Academy that ensures music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need.

"Dolly is someone that just continues to give, whether it's giving us music, giving us inspiration," Cyrus told E! News' Justin Sylvester. "She's taught us all so much and we were just saying, it's about time that this happened. No one I think deserves to be honored tonight more than Dolly, not just because of her talent, but because of every bit of giving that she does and that's what MusiCares is about."

"Now, I want to thank all of you for this wonderful night," Parton later said onstage in a speech. "I truly am honored to be MusiCares person of the year, and the first country artist to be honored. Of course you know us Hillbillies, we need things too. We may not have had the sex, drugs and rock n' roll, but two out of three ain't bad tonight. Right, Billy Ray [Cyrus]?"

Celebs Honor Dolly Parton at 2019 MusiCares Gala

"I have been in music for a long time, but it has been in me a lot longer," she said. "I used to stand, stand out on the porch. Mega Mellow Tennessee mountain home. I used to put a tobacco stick down in the crack in the floor, put a tin can on top of it and pretend like I'm singing on Grand Old Opry course onstage with the chickens and the ducks and the pigs and the little kids...but it was my dream and it's a long, long way from the hills of east Tennessee, the Hollywood Hills. But it has been a wonderful journey."

Instagram / Dolly Parton

She joked, "I just hope I live long enough to get the Betty White longevity award. But seriously, this has been a great honor."

Parton performed her 1971 song "Coat of Many Colors" with friend and musician Linda Perry.

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Cyrus, Shawn Mendes and Mark Ronson performed "Islands in the Stream," Parton's 1983 duet with Kenny Rogers

"Hi y'all!" Cyrus said to the crowd. "This is the best night ever—you get to listen to Dolly Parton songs the whole night."

Reese Witherspoon took to the stage to thank Parton, saying she is her idol and inspiration.

Wearing a chic black suit adorned with rhinestones, Pink performed Parton's hit 1973 single "Jolene."

Chris Stapleton performed Parton's 1980 hit "9 to Five." Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves sang Parton's 1977 song "Here You Come Again."

"We love you Dolly!" Perry said. "We want to be just like you when we grow up."

Little Big Town also took the stage to pay tribute to Parton, joking about how they were all fighting about how much they worship and love her, and showing a baby photo of Phillip Sweet dressed as the singer for Halloween. Kimberly Schlapman showed a photo of her second daughter, named after Parton, in the singer's arms.

Willie Nelson also honored Parton, saying onstage, "We love you, Doll."

A tribute video to Parton was also shown and showed footage of the singer from years past, as well as a clip of the late Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, whose soundtrack features her hit cover of Parton's "I Will Always Love You." The crowd cheered loudly as it was screened.

Yolanda Adams performed the song at the event.

Other performers included Brandi CarlileTrisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, as well as Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste.

At the 2019 Grammys on Sunday, Parton will perform a medley of her songs with Cyrus and other artists.