Talent Recap

Aretha Franklin’s 15 Year Old Granddaughter Grace Auditions for ‘American Idol’

Grace Franklin American IdolABC/Eric McCandless

Reading Time: 3 minutes

American Idol kicked off their landmark season 20 on Monday night. There were a lot of great singers in the first round of auditions, but no one expected to see the granddaughter of a musical legend. Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, 15 year old Grace Franklin took to the American Idol stage.

American Idol Judges Are Surprised When Grace Franklin Reveals That a Music Legend is Her Grandmother

Grace took to the stage in the same fashion as any other singer. It wasn’t until the judges asked about her musical journey that they learned Aretha Franklin is her grandmother. Lionel Richie was definitely the most excited to see Grace. Grace shared that the majority of her childhood was spent travelling with her grandmother. Even though the judges were excited to hear that this singer came from a musical family, she expressed that she has a different style than her grandmother.

In her audition she sang Lauryn Hill’s version of “Killing Me Softly.” Grace sang the entire song with her eyes closed, which judges took as a sign of nerves. Even though her audition wasn’t bad by any means, the judges weren’t very impressed. She hit all of the right notes, but the power was missing.

Katy Perry asked Grace if she had ever done anything like American Idol before. Grace revealed that she hadn’t, but is ready for the competition. Perry gave the young singer another chance. For her second song she chose “Ain’t No Way” by her grandmother. Throughout her second chance, Perry was cheering her on from the judging table. Grace was complimented on her controlled runs, but once again was told she needed to add power behind them.


The judges ultimately decided that she has the voice, but her age needs to catch up. With time and practice Grace can go from good to great. Perry was the only judge that voted yes for the singer, she shared that Grace deserved a chance to grow with the show.

Katy Perry, Lionel Richie Feud Over Young Singer

Perry was ready to see Grace join the competition, but Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan didn’t agree in the slightest. Bryan gave Grace her first no, but Perry argued with Richie when he was on the verge of saying no. Perry fought him, arguing that Grace has stardust even if she is shy.

Richie didn’t change his point of view from Perry’s comments. Perry left the audition room saying she quit because Richie didn’t agree with her. In the end, both Bryan and Richie voted no for the young singer. Richie stated that he didn’t want her to crash and burn in the competition before reminding her how much he loves her and her family.

I think Richie made the best choice out of all of the judges. He purposely voted no because he didn’t want her to progress backwards in her skill. Although I think she could have learned within the show, it would’ve been tough for her to progress quick enough to succeed past the prestigious Hollywood Round. I think Richie made the right decision for the young singer.

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