Grace Franklin, music legend Aretha Franklin‘s 15 year-old granddaughter, auditioned for “American Idol” to fiercely debating trio of judges.
Grace came up to perform and fully disclosed that she was Franklin’s granddaughter. She explained that she often traveled with Franklin when she was little but didn’t fully grasp just how famous she was. To her, “she was always just Grandma.”
After performing “Killing Me Softly” and her grandmother’s “Ain’t No Way,” judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie debated which route Grace should go in. Richie said, “I’m gonna talk to you now as Uncle Richie and your grandmother talkin’ to me. Her line was, ‘If you’re not ready for me, baby, don’t come near me.’ What we need is time and work to get it up to par.”
Perry suggested they vote. Luke Bryan gave his vote first, which was a “no.” Perry said, “Grace, I think you have stardust and sparkle all over you. You are beautiful and if you’ll trust us, if you’ll listen to us and you put in the work, I think we can find that next level with you. You’re a ‘yes’ from me.”
When it was Richie’s turn, he said, “Grace Franklin, I love you. 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 back at this again.”
As he gave his vote of “no,” Perry stared at him in shock.
Richie said, “Are you putting pressure on me?” To which Perry exclaimed, “Listen, she’s got stardust! Give her a shot! Give her a chance! I’m sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she first walked into the room, but someone said, ‘Yes, I wanna work with you. I wanna develop you. You’ve got somethin’. She’s got stardust on her!”
Richie stood up and walked up to Grace and 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.”
Perry didn’t know what to do with her frustration, and she couldn’t persuade Bryan or Richie to change their votes, so she said, “I quit this show. I’m goin’ to the bar. There’s somethin’ wrong with your ears.” This was all partially in jest, but it seemed as if she really wanted to work with Grace and help her grow as a performer.
Richie went up to Grace and hugged her and told her that he loved her.
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