Grace Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, auditioned for American Idol on Sunday’s edition of ABC.
Grace, 15, announced that she was from Detroit in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. Grace explained that the Queen of Soul was her grandma when Richie inquired why she came to audition for the long-running vocal competition series.
Aretha Franklin and Grace shared a special bond, according to Grace. “I was really close with my grandma. I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot,” Grace said. “I don’t think I could fully grasp that she was known worldwide cause to me she was always just ‘Grandma.’”
Being Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, the girl explained, comes with great expectations for her musical abilities. Grace continued, “I feel like people expect me to sing exactly like her.” “But, I’m my own artist, and I have my own voice.”
Grace performed two songs for the three judges, beginning with a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees. Although the judges appreciated her performance, Bryan described it as “sleepy and subdued,” and Richie said he could tell she was “a nervous wreck.”
Grace was given a second chance by the judges, who asked her to perform a second song. Carolyn Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s sister, wrote the Aretha Franklin classic “Ain’t No Way.” Bryan praised her, complimenting her on her “runs are really, really great.”
The judges were split on whether or not to send her to the next round when it came time to vote. Perry answered yes, while Bryan said no. Richie got the final say and voted nay. Grace needed to improve her skills and return when she was better prepared and less nervous, he said.
“Trust me. If you go and come back and put the shyness behind you and the voice in front of you, you are going to be something amazing,” Richie said.
Watch the audition here: