It’s always a high honor to be asked to perform in a tribute recognizing an American icon and to do it in front of an audience of political dignitaries and music industry peers would be downright nerve-wracking. However, Carrie Underwood seemed to have nerves of steel when she helped pay tribute to the legendary Linda Ronstadt at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.
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Dressed in a silvery-blue gown, the award-winning country star delivered flawless performances of excerpts from two of Linda’s hits: “Blue Bayou,” which was originally recorded by Roy Orbison, and “When Will I Be Loved.” originally recorded by the Everly Brothers. With images of Linda from her vast career flashed on a screen behind Carrie, the star-studded audience, which included Thomas Rhett, Trisha Yearwood, Rita Wilson and the Jonas Brothers, applauded appreciatively and clapped with the beat.
Following her final note, Carrie blew kisses to Linda who could be seen smiling in the balcony with the other honorees.
Linda, who had success recording rock, pop, country, jazz and Mexican folk songs, received Grammy awards for in pop, country, Latin, Mexican-American and children’s categories. Her recordings with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris as Trio also earned her a pair of Grammys and in 2016, she received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also nominated for both a Tony Award and a Golden Globe for her role as “Mabel” in the Broadway musical, The Pirates of Penzance.
The talented entertainer stopped performing in 2013 after she was misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which causes a loss of muscle control. Just this year, the diagnosis was changed to progressive supra nuclear palsy, which is an uncommon brain disorder that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements, according to the mayoclinic.