Carrie Underwood's duet with 5-year-old son on HBO Max Christmas special will melt your icy heart

Gary Dinges

In these times of uncertainty, we're all looking for some comfort.

For country superstar Carrie Underwood, that comfort came in the form of some serious quality time with one of her two sons. Together they recorded a track for her latest album "My Gift." Viewers of a new streaming TV special can see firsthand what a memorable project it was for the two.

"My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood" hits HBO Max today. The hourlong special features Underwood singing tracks from her first-ever holiday album. The album came out Sept. 25, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's country albums chart.

"My Gift" features a number of Christmas classics, but Underwood's clear favorite, the one that makes the broadcast a heartwarming, must-watch event, is her duet with 5-year-old Isaiah.

They team up for "The Little Drummer Boy." The pairing, she says, just made sense because "children are truly our greatest gift."

" 'The Little Drummer Boy' is a central song on 'My Gift,' " Underwood says. "I started thinking about what would make it special. I have a very special duet partner, my son Isaiah. He loves to sing. I just thought his sweet little voice would sound perfect."

Carrie Underwood with her husband Mike Fisher and their son Isaiah Michael, 3, at her star unveiling ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Sept. 20, 2018, in Hollywood.

Viewers are treated to behind-the-scenes footage showing mom and son in studio, recording face-to-face, mic-to-mic. Little Isaiah, clad in a black-and-white plaid shirt, takes things very seriously and doesn't hold back as he belts out lyrics, melting hearts along the way. Mom, looking a smidge more casual in a Fleetwood Mac tour shirt, can't help but smile as she clutches her heart.

"I can do it as much times as you want," Isaiah assures at the recording session's start as the two high-five each other.

"If nothing else, I have this for the rest of my life," the tyke's proud mother says. (Underwood and husband Mike Fisher also have a 1-year-old son, Jacob.) 

In addition to the collaboration with her kiddo, Underwood also joins with John Legend for "Hallelujah."

"Many of the songs we'll be performing are true gifts to us all and we have treasured them for decades," Underwood says at the start of the broadcast.

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Over the course of the hour, she effortlessly sails through nearly a dozen holiday tunes including "Away In a Manger," "Silent Night," "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "Mary, Did You Know?"

Thanks to these chaotic times resulting from the pandemic, "My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood" has a decidedly stripped-down feel. There's no audience, just Underwood and a band. The music is the star of this show — and rightfully so. (OK, OK ... the singer's stunning holiday wardrobe — including a shimmery dress resembling Christmas tinsel — plays a substantial supporting role.)

That Underwood, an "American Idol" alum, would choose to craft a Christmas album didn't surprise her mother.

"Carrie's always been a big fan of Christmas," Carole Underwood says in the HBO Max special. "When Carrie was little, she always wanted to buy presents for everybody so she always did a few chores around the house and then she and I went shopping on Christmas Eve." 

Growing up, Underwood excelled on the high school stage, her mom says, and a career in music seemed inevitable.

"I always felt like God had a plan for her because... her voice is a God-given voice," Carole says.

Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges