Loretta Lynn's granddaughter Emmy Russell auditions for 'American Idol': Watch her performance

Emmy Russell, 24, sang an original song called "Skinny."

ByCarson Blackwelder GMA logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Loretta Lynn's granddaughter wants to follow in her late grandmother's footsteps. To achieve that dream, she's competing on this season of "American Idol."

Emmy Russell, daughter of Patsy Lynn and Philip Russell, auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the show's Feb. 25 episode.

"She's one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me she's just my grandma," Russell said in a clip filmed at Lynn's estate in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

The 24-year-old, who was called "quiet" by Bryan when entering the audition room, later explained that she believes she's "a little timid" because "I want to own my voice."

Perry chimed in, saying that if Russell has her own style of singing like her grandmother did, then she has her "own lane" as a performer.

Russell then sat at the piano to perform an original song called "Skinny," which she said is about an eating disorder.

"She just wanted to do this honestly -- 'This is who I am and this is what I do and this is my heart,'" Russell's mom Patsy Lynn, one-half of the country music duo The Lynns with her twin sister Peggy Lynn, said outside the audition room. "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."

From left to right: Emmy Russell and her mother Patsy Lynn, who are Loretta Lynn
From left to right: Emmy Russell and her mother Patsy Lynn, who are Loretta Lynn's granddaughter and daughter, are seen during an audition for "American Idol."
Eric Mccandless/Disney

After performing, Perry called Russell an "A+ songwriter" just like her grandmother and said "you've got the gift."

"I don't think you need to compare yourself to what grandma was -- you're totally different," she added. "You shouldn't give yourself all that pressure."

Richie said Russell had "promise" and asked her to put the big shoes of her family back in the closet, saying "that's not your size."

"We've just got to lift you up and get you more confident, and you just need to own it," Bryan added.

All three judges gave Russell a yes, sending her forward to the Hollywood round.

"I was thinking about my grandma, but I was also like, 'Emmy, she's with you. Now it's your turn,'" Russell said after her audition. "I think I'm more like her now than I was whenever I was trying to be like her."

Lynn, best known for songs such as "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)," died in October 2022 at the age of 90.

Watch "American Idol" on ABC on Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST.

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