Loretta Lynn's granddaughter auditions for 'American Idol'

The late country star Loretta Lynn's passion for singing lives on in her granddaughter, who attempted to achieve musical stardom on “American Idol.”

Emmy Russell, the 24-year-old daughter of actor Patsy Lynn and Philip Russell, performed original music for judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during her audition, which aired Sunday on ABC. Russell surprised the trio of judges by revealing her musical ancestry, but she said she wants to leave behind her grandmother's lasting legacy.

“I think there's a reason why I think I'm a little shy and I think it's because I want to own my voice,” said Russell, whose calm demeanor resonated with the judges. “I want to challenge myself and come out here and really step in.”

Russell invited the trio of judges to listen to a sample of her song, “Skinny,” a vulnerable ballad inspired by her experience with an eating disorder. For Perry, Russell is “an A+ songwriter.”

“Your grandmother too and you received the gift,” the “California Gurls” singer added. “I don't think you need to compare yourself to what Grandma was. You are totally different.”

Russell also received praise from Richie and Bryan, who praised her for channeling her story into song and encouraged her to be more confident. “We just have to cheer you up and give you more confidence,” Bryan said before agreeing with her co-judge to send a tearful Russell to Hollywood.

Russell's shot at stardom comes two years after Lynn died on October 4, 2022. The “Coal Miner's Daughter” country star died of natural causes at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was 90 years old. Lynn was a pioneer in country music. She is known for writing songs that challenged outdated perceptions about women and brought once-taboo topics such as birth control and divorce to the forefront.

Sunday's episode also featured Russell's family, who were anxiously awaiting the results outside the audition room. Patsy Lynn, who created the short-lived singing duo The Lynns with her twin sister Peggy Lynn, told the “Idol” team that her daughter “just wanted to do this honestly.”

And he added: “I think that when you come from a family of musicians, the shadow is very big. How do I fill those shoes? Well, the thing is, it's not like that. “You create your own shadow.”

After receiving her ticket to Hollywood, Russell said she accepted that her career is underway and that her grandmother would be with her in spirit. “I think I'm more like her now than when I was trying to be like her,” he said. “I am very excited.”

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