Kelly Clarkson earned some gold standard bragging rights earlier this year when Dolly Parton enlisted her to record a duet of the classic 1980 single “9 to 5” reimagined as a somber pop ballad for her documentary Still Working 9 to 5. Now, after the latest iteration of Kellyoke on the Kelly Clarkson Show, the host can add performing the knockout collaboration live alongside the country icon herself to her list of brag-worthy accomplishments.
But Clarkson and Parton weren’t going to use the debut live performance of their duet to croon a subdued ballad about the day-to-day grind of the workforce. Instead, the pair injected the high-energy country exuberance back into the song for a full-band jam session. Clarkson launched straight into the performance on her own, picking up the pace as she introduced her special guest, who emerged in her signature heels under shimmering studio lights and took it to another level.
By the end, Clarkson had literally bowed to Parton. “I am so honored that Dolly asked me to reimagine this iconic song, ‘9 to 5,’ with her,” the singer shared in a statement when the duet originally arrived in September. “She is so talented, an inspiration to all women, and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I hope y’all like what we did, but even if you don’t, remember I got to sing a duet with the magical Dolly Parton and now have bragging rights til the end of time!”
In a separate statement, Parton added: “Nobody sings like Kelly Clarkson. She makes any song come alive. I love her voice on ‘9 to 5’ and I am so proud I got to sing with her on it.”
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Still Working 9 to 5 arrived in September, chronicling the making of the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, in which Parton starred alongside Jane Fonda. The documentary also pulled back the curtain on the ongoing challenges faced by women in the workplace, a noted topic advanced by the film itself even then.
“Who knew that 42 years later, I’d still be working 9 to 5,” Parton shared earlier this year. “I believed then, and I believe now, that every person deserves to be paid fairly for their work… no matter what they are. I think this documentary shows that the struggle continues and that we all need to do our part to help make things better for everybody.”