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The best godmother in the world

Published January 8, 2023

I was so busy watching Sam Ryder do his thing on New Year’s Eve for the BBC that I totally missed what was happening in other corners of the world - in particular Miley Cyrus pulling out all the stops and performing with a variety of guests for NBC. Dolly Parton was one of the featured friends, and the pair cruised through Wrecking Ball and Jolene and a few other hits. But it was I Will Always Love You that really made me sit up and take notice.

There’s always a debate about this song, specifically when it comes to Whitney Houston’s cover, arguing whether the original is better for its tender emotion, or the cover has its own merits for the strength of the singer. Personally I think it depends what mood you’re in - feeling a bit teary? Pop on Dolly’s original. Want to belt something out whilst daydreaming about Kevin Costner? Whitney’s got your back.

But what’s fun about this Miley & Dolly partnership is it’s basically that argument live on stage. I’ve long thought Miley has an incredible voice, a natural talent, that she makes look effortless. Anyone who sings next to her is bound to be outclassed. And that’s true here, her voice is outstanding and Dolly can’t compare… on that front.

The lovely Dolly can more than hold her own though, in a different way. What she brings is the credibility, the heartfelt and complete understanding of what this piece is. When she says ‘I will always love you,’ to lead into the song, you get the shivers. The way she says, ‘I hope you get all you ever dreamed of’ to her gorgeous godchild, well, it’s hard not to crumble into a million pieces.

What a legend!

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