Dolly Parton was one of the featured performers during the annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center special on Wednesday night, performing her version of "Mary, Did You Know?" Parton's performance was filmed in Nashville, where she took the stage with her band for a gorgeous rendition of the classic song.
Outfitted in a sparkling white dress, Parton performed on a stage full of lit-up Christmas trees standing in front of the backdrop of a cityscape at night, the images of three men on camels making their way up a hill as the song continued. The 74-year-old's expressive voice was a perfect choice for the storytelling song, which asks Jesus' mother Mary if she knew the destiny of the child she would deliver.
Christmas in Rockefeller Center also included performances by Gwen Stefani, Brett Eldredge, Kelly Clarkson, Dan + Shay, Meghan Trainor, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Goo Goo Dolls, Jimmy Fallon, Earth, Wind & Fire and Tori Kelly. The cast of the musical Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations performed a musical number and there was also an appearance by the Radio City Rockettes.
"Mary, Did You Know?" is one of several holiday classics that appears on Parton's album A Holly Dolly Christmas, which was released in October. The country music legend has been busy this holiday season, performing during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, prepping an upcoming CBS television special, collaborating with Williams Sonoma and releasing a Netflix movie, Christmas on the Square.
"I think it's something really special," Parton told the Tennessean of her new album. "I'm proud of it." While she's known for her songwriting, Parton admitted that writing Christmas music is "harder" for her.
"You would be surprised," she said. "In fact, I have been surprised when I try to write Christmas music for everybody else. Because, of course, everybody wants to write the next Christmas classic. But it seems like everything's been written about Christmas."
The Tennessee native added to Sounds Like Nashville that during the recording process, she decorating the studio to help get herself into the holiday spirit.
"When we were recording we had the air conditioner down on real cool and we had Christmas trees and all that," she recalled. "So, I've put up Christmas decorations when I'm writing and when we're in the studio we bring each other presents just for fun, keeping the spirit alive. At the end of the day we'd say, 'Merry Christmas, see ya later.'"