The pair traded verses on a thoughtful “Coat of Many Colors,” with Perry’s husky voice contrasting with Parton’s trademark mountain soprano. Perry took a more dramatic approach to “Jolene,” while Parton answered her with playful, offhand remarks like “I’ll kick your butt.” Finally, the crowd came to its feet for the colorfully-dressed twosome when the opening tick-tock rhythm of “Nine to Five” shifted into high gear. The light harmonies and Parton’s ad-libbing kept the performance composed — a reminder of why she remains a perennial favorite around the world.
Perry was also present at the ACMs to present Parton with the Tex Ritter Award, given to a film from the previous year that features country music. The country legend was honored for her work on the NBC television movie Coat of Many Colors, which was based on her song and childhood growing up in East Tennessee.