Plenty of people making their way through the music industry have some family members who have already fared well in it. Among those is 15-year-old Grace Franklin, whose grandmother is the iconic Aretha Franklin. She auditioned for the current season of American Idol, but, despite her lineage, she did not make it past the audition stage.
In a pre-taped segment, Franklin said, “I feel like people expect me to sing exactly like her, but I am my own artist and I have my own voice.” She then got to showing off that voice with a rendition of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” (inspired by the Lauryn Hill cover). While Lionel Richie was happily reminiscing about Aretha before Franklin sang, he commented on her perceived nervousness after the song. Meanwhile, Luke Bryan thought the performance was “sleepy and subdued” and Katy Perry called it “soft.”
Perry encouraged Franklin to take another crack at it, so she tried again with her grandmother’s “Ain’t No Way,” which she sang with more force than she used for “Killing Me Softly.” Perry was more receptive of that performance and so was Bryan, although he wasn’t completely swayed. Both Richie and Bryan encouraged Franklin to develop her voice more.
When it came time for the vote, Perry gave Franklin the go-ahead, while Richie and Bryan both passed, even after Perry’s fervent campaigning and playfully storming off set in disagreement.
Check out the audition above.