Competing on American Idol: Loretta Lynn's Grandkid

Perhaps not surprisingly, Emmy Russell made it through to Hollywood
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2024 3:00 AM CST

Sunday night's episode of American Idol featured a singer named Emmy Russell—and while you may not have heard of her, you've almost certainly heard of her grandmother: Loretta Lynn. "She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just Grandma," Russell said in an interview clip cited by People. The 24-year-old gave an emotional performance of an original song for her audition, "Skinny," which discusses body image issues, and Russell started to cry as all three judges passed her through to the Hollywood round, Yahoo News reports.

"You're an A+ songwriter. So was your grandma. You got the gift," said judge Katy Perry. "I don't think you need to compare yourself to what Grandma was. You're totally different. You shouldn't give yourself all that pressure." Said judge Lionel Richie, "My dear, you have promise. And I like your promise. Each one of us is trying to battle something that we're trying to overcome. 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." Judge Luke Bryan encouraged Russell to work on boosting her confidence and "own it." (More Loretta Lynn stories.)

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