Speaking with PEOPLE, the ladies gushed about each other on the red carpet
The “Party in the U.S.A.” singer, 26, was on hand at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where MusiCares — the Recording Academy’s charity — was honoring Parton, 73, with its annual person of the year prize.
Both Cyrus and Parton posed together on the red carpet, smiling while wrapping their arms around each another. Cyrus wore a black long-sleeve mini dress with black sequin details. Parton, on the other hand, beamed in a white long-sleeve dress adorned with gold studs and matching fringe.
“She’s the most non-judgmental person I’ve ever [known] in the world,” Cyrus raved to PEOPLE editor Melody Chiu and host Rocsi Diaz on PeopleTV‘s live red carpet pre-show.
“I love Miley,” Parton told PEOPLE. “We’ve done a lot of things together and it wouldn’t be right for me to be honored on a big deal like this and not have my Miley.”
Inside the event, Cyrus — who attended with dad Billy Ray, 57, and mom Tish, 51 — paid tribute to Parton in song, joining Shawn Mendes and producer Mark Ronson for a rendition of “Islands in the Stream.”
The song, which was written by the Bee Gees, was a huge hit for Parton and Kenny Rogers, 80, back in 1983. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and eventually sold over a million copies in the U.S., according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s biggest night.
To prep for the performance, Cyrus picked a dress with a sequin banana leaf on it. “I’m doing ‘Islands in the Stream’ tonight, so I have this banana leaf as a little, kind of island, tropical moment,” she told PEOPLE on the red carpet.
“I’m just looking forward to listening to all her songs tonight and not having to listen to anything else,” she added of the event. “I listened to a station the other day called Dolly Radio and they started playing other artists. And I thought, ‘No! I only want to listen to Dolly when I’m listening to Dolly Radio.’ Tonight, it’s all Dolly songs.”
This is just the first Parton song Cyrus will be singing this weekend.
All will sing covers from her catalog of hits before Parton takes the stage herself to perform new music from the motion picture soundtrack to Netflix’s Dumplin’, which tells the story of a small town girl who turns to Parton’s music for inspiration. It’ll be the first time Parton has performed on the Grammy stage since 2001.
MusiCares announced Parton as the recipient of its annual person of the year prize. She’s receiving the trophy for her considerable creative accomplishments and her longtime support of a number of causes through her Dollywood Foundation.
Back in September 2017, Cyrus opened up to Cosmopolitan about Parton’s influence as her godmother.
It’s not just that, though: “Seriously, watching the way she treats people with love and respect,” Cyrus added. “Always a reminder to me and my family of what is important. Never let success change your heart.”
Meanwhile, to commemorate Parton’s person of the year prize, Apple Music teamed up with the country icon to curate a “What Would Dolly Do?” playlist on the streaming platform.
Inspired by Parton’s lasting impact on country music, the collection of songs celebrates music by women (and some supportive male artists) who have followed in the Nashville queen’s footsteps and embody her creativity and empowerment.
“What Would Dolly Do?” includes cuts from a slew of Music City mainstays (Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire) and acclaimed newcomers (Musgraves, Morris, Kelsea Ballerini), as well as some of Parton’s genre-crossing collaborators like Sia, Elle King and Macy Gray.
And yes, even Cyrus made the cut!
The 61st Annual Grammy Awards will broadcast live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.