Q Magazine

'American Idol' Auditionee Emmy Russell Reveals Herself as Granddaughter of Country Music Legend Loretta Lynn

The 24-year-old took to the piano to perform an original composition entitled 'Skinny.'

wills q template
Source: Disney/Eric McCandless

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of Loretta Lynn, stares down judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

When it comes to American Idol, there’s a not-insubstantial chunk of the series’ viewership that goes into the proceedings solely to watch the auditions. Sometimes it’s to be wowed, sometimes it’s just to see how terrible the possible contenders are going to be, but once in awhile viewers get a surprise that comes from completely out of the blue.

Such was the case on Sunday night, when 24-year-old Emmy Russell came in for her audition and surprised both the judges and the viewers when she identified herself as the granddaughter of country music royalty.

Article continues below advertisement
wills q template
Source: Disney/Eric McCandless

Emmy Russell, granddaughter of Loretta Lynn, auditions for 'American Idol.'

Russell – who walked into the audition saying, “This is a dream!” – played her identity close to the vest at first.

“Growing up, I sang music my entire life,” said Russell, after introducing herself so quietly that the judges actually made mention of it. “I just love writing. I’m 24 years old. Songwriter. I love music. I don’t really sing out as much anymore, but growing up, I sang on the road with — my grandma’s a country singer, so I grew up singing.”

Unsurprisingly, Luke Bryan was the first to ask the identity of Russell’s grandmother, a revelation which takes place at the 0:44 mark of the below YouTube clip and is worth watching not only because it subsequently includes Russell’s performance but also because you can literally see Katy Perry’s eyes bug out of her head when she hears the name “Loretta Lynn.”

After viewers got a quick tour of Lynn's house, with Russell revealing that she basically grew up on her grandmother's tour bus, Russell explained, "I think there’s a reason why I think I am a little timid, and I think it's because I want to own my voice. That’s why I want to challenge myself and come out here and really step in and be, like, ‘OK, come on, Emmy.’” Perry - now recovered from the earlier revelation - reminded Russell, "If you've got your own style, then you've got your own lane."

Cue Russell's opportunity to hop onto the piano and show her stuff with an original composition, "Skinny," about eating disorders.

After her performance, Perry assured Russell that - setting aside her lineage - she has her own gifts as a songwriter and performer. "You're totally different," said Perry. "You shouldn't give yourself all that pressure." Similarly, Lionel Richie acknowledged her promise but noted, "You have big shoes," and told her to "put those shoes back in the closet, that's not your size."

In the end, the threesome sent Russell off to Hollywood. Only time will tell if she's got the stuff to go all the way to victory.

Article continues below advertisement

As long as we're hyping notable performances from last night's American Idol, we might as well throw in another one which most decidedly left viewers impressed: Abi Carter's performance of Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" As Luke Bryan observes as they're sending Carter onto the next stage of the competition, "That may be the winner of American Idol right there. I've never heard the crew clap!"

Article continues below advertisement

Never miss a story — sign up for the Q newsletter for the latest music news on all your favorite artists, all in one place.


Subscribe to our newsletter

your info will be used in accordance with our privacy policy

Read More