Watch Loretta Lynn's Granddaughter Nail Her 'American Idol' Audition

Emmy Russell appeared to downplay her familial connection to the late country icon before delivering a chilling performance.
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The granddaughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn took her biggest step toward stardom this week with a dynamite audition for “American Idol.”

In Sunday’s episode of the musical competition series, 24-year-old Emmy Russell wowed judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie with a chilling rendition of “Skinny,” an original piano ballad featuring lyrics about body image and eating disorders.

As she addressed the judges before her performance, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter appeared to downplay her familial tie to Lynn, whose era-defining music career spanned decades.

“I think I am a little timid, and I think it is because I want to own my voice,” she said. “That’s why I want to challenge myself and come out here.”

In a pre-taped interview, she said of Lynn: “She’s one of the biggest country music singers of all time, but to me, she’s just my grandma.”

Watch Emmy Russell’s “American Idol” audition below.

Bryan, Perry and Richie were all impressed by the performance, and Russell is now set to proceed to the next round in Hollywood, California.

Lynn died in 2022 at age 90. Her legacy ― that of a uniquely gifted woman in Appalachia who pulled herself out of poverty to become a country superstar ― helped pave the way for Reba McEntire and Tanya Tucker, among other female artists.

At age 72, Lynn endeared herself to a new generation of fans with her 2004 album, “Van Lear Rose,” produced in collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Emmy Russell, left, and mother Patsy Lynn on the Feb. 25 episode of "American Idol."
Emmy Russell, left, and mother Patsy Lynn on the Feb. 25 episode of "American Idol."
Eric McCandless/Disney

While “American Idol” may put Russell ― whose mother is Lynn’s 59-year-old daughter, Patsy Lynn ― on the national map, her Nashville career has been on the rise for some time. In 2022, she teamed up with Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas, for an emotional tribute to her grandmother that was broadcast on CMT.

By the end of her “Idol” audition, Russell seemed honored to be carrying on her grandmother’s musical legacy.

“I think I’m more like her now than whenever I was trying to be like her.” she said.

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