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Grace Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, caused quite a stir while performing on American Idol on Sunday.

The 15-year-old singer showed the American Idol judges her vocal skills, but it wasn’t enough to advance.

While American Idol judge Katy Perry showered praise on Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, judge Luke Bryan disagreed that Grace should move forward. Lionel Richie, as the deciding vote, went with Bryan’s assessment.

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Legacy of Aretha Franklin seeks stardom on American Idol

On American Idol, Grace, who sang a cover of Aretha’s Killing Me Softly, recalled spending time with her famous grandmother. Aretha Franklin died at 76 in 2018.

I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot,” the young singer said of Aretha Franklin. “I don’t think I could fully grasp the fact that she was known worldwide, because to me, she was always just grandma.”

While the American Idol judges didn’t appreciate Grace’s vocal prowess, they had constructive criticism for the teen. Judge Lionel Richie said, “Go back and get a running start and come back at this again.”

Katy Perry felt strongly that Grace should proceed in the competition. “Listen, she’s got stardust. Give her a shot, give her a chance,” said Perry. 

The singer-songwriter continued, “I’m sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she walked into the room, but somebody said, ‘Yes, I want to work with you, I want to develop you, you’ve got something.’ She’s got stardust on her.”

Katy Perry protests no-vote

The disagreement over Grace’s American Idol performance actually led to controversy on-set. After hearing Mr. Richie’s feedback, Ms. Perry actually walked off stage in protest.

However, the scene ended as Mr. Richie embraced Grace, giving Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter some final advice. The teen listened attentively as the Hello singer offered his opinion.

“Grace, you know how I feel about your family and you, but I don’t want this to be a crash and burn,” said Mr. Richie. “It’s gonna be a ‘no’ from me this time, but an optimistic, ‘Come back and see us,’ OK? Make that work, OK?”

American Idol airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. / 7 p.m. Central. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...