In December 2009, Carrie Underwood was riding high, with her just-released Play On topping both the country album charts and the Billboard 200, and although it would be another few months before she debuted her acting skills on an episode of How I Met Your Mother, she gave viewers a taste of her comedic skills during some of the segments of her An All-Star Holiday Special, which aired on Fox during the festive season.
The special featured appearances from several of Underwood’s fellow American Idol contestants, including Bo Bice and David Cook, as well as performers Brad Paisley, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Chenoweth, Christina Applegate and Dolly Parton, among others.
Introducing Parton, Underwood noted that if she could be anyone else in the world, she would be her elder superstar entertainer. Carrie later got her chance (sort of), when she “borrowed” a sky-high blond wig and skin-tight gold lamé suit, which could barely contain the enormous pair of golden globes she was hiding underneath. “We look like we could be workin’ down on the corner together as a team,” Parton quipped. (Watch the fun in this clip beginning around the 1:02:16 mark)
Later on in the special, Parton and Underwood, now both looking positively angelic in white, took the stage to talk about how busy they have been in their prospective careers, with Parton, who had just returned from Europe, revealing plans for the musical based on her life story, in which she hoped Chenoweth would star. The two then performed one of Parton’s most iconic songs, “I Will Always Love You,” which Parton wrote in 1973, a decade before Underwood was born.
This TV performance wasn’t the first time the poignant tune had been rendered as a duet. In 1995, Parton and Vince Gill took it into the Top 20 on the country chart.