How Dolly Parton Honored Naomi Judd and Loretta Lynn at ACM Awards 2023

Dolly Parton paid tribute to friends and fellow country stars Naomi Judd and Loretta Lynn, who passed away in 2022, with an a cappella performance at the 2023 ACM Awards.

By Hayley Santaflorentina May 12, 2023 3:35 PMTags
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Dolly Parton is paying tribute to the late Loretta Lynn and Naomi Judd.

At the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards on May 11, the 77-year-old performed the hymn "Precious Memories" a cappella in honor of the late country superstars who both passed away in 2022. Dolly, who was hosting the ceremony alongside Garth Brooks, sang after sharing some kinds words for Loretta and Naomi before presenting the award for Female Artist of the Year, saying the award reminded her of her friends.

For the "Coal Miner's Daughter" singer, who died in October at age 90, Dolly called her "a hero and one of the most important, but still down-to-earth singer-songwriters in history."

As for Naomi, who died by suicide in April 2022 at age 76, the "Jolene" singer reflected on the many ways they related to one another.

"And of course Naomi and I, well, we're the same age, both real G.O.A.Ts, Capricorns, and we loved big hair," she continued. "I still do. And we loved that makeup."


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"But above all else," she added, "we loved each other."

Garth also reflected on keeping the memory of their late colleagues alive. "Tonight, we lovingly remember all those we've lost in our country music family," he said. "And we promise to do our best to keep the circle forever unbroken in their memory."

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The "9 to 5" singer's musical tribute wasn't her only performance of the night as she took the stage to close out the award show by debuting her new single "World on Fire," which will appear on her upcoming rock album Rockstar. 

However, amid the moving tributes to the late country legends, Garth and Dolly made sure to bring their banter A-games as they performed their hosting duties. In fact, they weren't afraid to lean into some NSFW jokes throughout the night. (Check out the full list of winners from the 2023 ACM Awards here.)

During the opening monologue, Dolly joked, "Did I hear you say you were looking for a goat," before bringing out a live goat on stage as an embodiment of the acronym, "greatest of all time." She later gave the phrase a new definition, though, after Garth revealed his celebrity "hall pass."

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As for his answer? Well, it's none other than Dolly herself. (And "The Dance" singer further joked that his wife Trisha Yearwood has the exact same answer.)

"I know why you're doing that G.O.A.T thing," Dolly joked. "I think it strands for 'Garth organized a threesome'!"

To which Garth quipped, "And I thought I couldn't love you anymore."

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