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Watch Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter’s sweet and inspiring ‘American Idol’ audition

Watch Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter’s sweet and inspiring ‘American Idol’ audition
Posted at 10:37 AM, Feb 26, 2024

Emmy Russell walked timidly into her “American Idol” audition with a big secret; she is the granddaughter of county music legend Loretta Lynn.

The 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, revealed her famous lineage to surprised judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie after she explained she had spent much of her childhood singing with her grandma.

While shocked and impressed with Russell’s family connection to the iconic “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the trio of judges noticed Russell’s timid introduction and encouraged her to speak up more.

“I think there’s a reason why I think I am a little timid and I think it is ’cause I want to own my voice,” she told the judges.

MORE: Loretta Lynn is first female statue outside famous Grand Ole Opry venue

Russell performed an original song, “Skinny,” that addresses the struggles of living with an eating disorder. As soon as she started to play the piano, you could see her confidence start to blossom.

During Russell’s introduction, the young woman showed crew members around her famous grandmother’s home, which has become a popular tourist destination for Lynn’s fans.

During that introduction, Russell’s mom, Patsy Lynn, talked about her daughter’s nervousness and desire to carve her a path with her music career beyond her grandmother’s legacy.

Loretta Lynn on stage
AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

“She just wanted to do this honestly [and say] ‘this is who I am and this is what I do and this is my heart,’” she said. “I think that when you come from a musical family, the shadow is so big. How do I fill those shoes? Well, the deal is, you don’t. You make your own shadow.”

Following Russell’s performance, which earned her a trip to Hollywood for the next stage of the competition, all three judges praised her songwriting and voice, saying she could make her own statement with her music.

“I don’t think you need to compare yourself to what Grandma was,” Perry told Russell. “You’re totally different. You shouldn’t give yourself all that pressure.”

“Each one of us is trying to battle something that we’re trying to overcome,” Richie added. “In your case, you have big shoes. Now if I can just get you to put those shoes back in the closet, that’s not your size.”

Russell will continue her “American Idol” journey during Hollywood Week, which is scheduled to start sometime in late March.

MORE: Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and other country music legends honor Loretta Lynn with touching tributes

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