Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter Grace Franklin tried out for “American Idol” on Sunday, which made for one of the more memorable audition moments in show history. (And, yes, we know that’s saying something.)
“I was really close with my grandma. I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot,” Grace told the panel.
“I don’t think I could fully grasp that she was known worldwide cause to me she was always just ‘Grandma,'” she said in another video shared on the show.
Grace said people expect her to sing like her famed grandmother, but she insisted she is her own artist with her own voice. Let’s find out, shall we?
First, the 15-year-old went with in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan with Lauryn Hill’s version of “Killing Me Softly.” That one underwhelmed Bryan, who called it “sleepy and subdued.”
Perry was a fan right off the bat, snapping along to the song. Richie, who knew Aretha very well, seemed like a lock to send her through to the Hollywood round. Or was he?
Grace then gave her grandma’s song “Ain’t No Way” a shot after Perry asked if she had another song. Again, Perry was her biggest cheerleader, singing along with the high schooler.
Bryan seemed to enjoy that one a bit more, complimenting Grace’s runs. But he was a “no” when it came to the vote.
Perry was an enthusiastic “yes.”
Richie said: “I’m going to talk to you as Uncle Richie, and your grandmother talking to me her line was, ‘if you’re not ready for me baby, don’t come near me.’ Now, you’re 15, you’ve got the family lineage, what we need now is time and some work to get it up to par. OK?”
“Grace Franklin, I love you,” he continued. “And I think the best thing for you in life is to take a shot at going backwards. Go back and get a running start and come at this again.”
Perry put up a fight, one that seemed mostly based on Grace having “stardust on her.”
“I will lay down on the ground! I quit this show! I’m going to the bar,” Perry said. “Something wrong with your ears. Y’all are insane!”
Richie then got up close and personal with his late friend’s granddaughter.
Watch the video above.
“Grace, you know how I feel about your family and you,” Richie said. “But I don’t want this to be a crash and burn. It’s gonna be a ‘no’ from me this time, but I’m optimistic. Come back and see us, OK?”