Culture

Watch Aretha Franklin’s Granddaughter Audition for ‘American Idol’

Grace Franklin, 15-year-old granddaughter Aretha Franklin sang “Ain’t No Way” and “Killing Me Softly” on Sunday’s episode of American Idol.

Singing runs deep in the family of Aretha Franklin. It first began with her parents the late Reverend C.L. Franklin and Barbara Siggers and recently her 15-year-old granddaughter Grace Franklin attempted to carry the torch on American Idol.

On Sunday’s episode of American Idol, Grace made her national debut on the show, introducing herself as the late Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter to which judge Lionel Richie was amazed.

“Stop right there. That is your grandma?” Lionel Richie asked. “No one knows this about your grandma, but I’m going to tell you! When you walked into the house, you would think, oh we’re going to talk about the music, we are going to talk about the arrangement, and she would go ‘Lionel, I got some collard greens I’ve made!’ Oh my God–you are from a blessed family.”

Grace went on to sing “Killing Me Softly” to which co-judge Katy Perry asked if she could perform anything else, mentioning that Grace’s voice was “soft”. The 15-year-old leaped into a rendition of her grandmother’s 1968 Lady Soul classic “Ain’t No Way” which Perry assisted her with.

Despite her musical bloodline, Grace unfortunately wasn’t chosen to proceed through the competition. Richie and fellow judge Luke Bryan voted ‘no’ while Perry voted yes tried to convince them otherwise, noting that Grace had “sparkle” to her performance.

“Give her a chance. I am sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she walked in the room, but somebody said ‘yes, I want to work with you. I want to develop you. You got something,’ Perry said.

Richie and Bryan didn’t recant their decision, but Richie gave Grace words of encouragement.

“Go back and put the shyness behind you and the voice in front of you, you are going to be something amazing,” he said.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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