Aretha Franklin's Granddaughter Auditioned for American Idol—And the Outcome May Shock You

Don’t expect Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter Grace Franklin to be just like her. As the teen said on American Idol, “I am my own artist. And I have my own voice.”

By Jillian Fabiano Feb 28, 2022 7:23 PMTags

We have to show some respect to this aspiring singer!

During the season 20 premiere of American Idol on Feb. 27, Aretha Franklin's granddaughter Grace Franklin had a sweeter than honey performance. Walking into the audition room with a smile on her face, the 15-year-old began by introducing herself to judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

"I was really close with my grandma," Grace, a Detroit native, explained. "I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot."

And to her, Aretha's superstardom—she was awarded with the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994—was hardly relative. "I don't think I could fully grasp that she was known worldwide," she admitted, "cause to me she was always just ‘Grandma.'"

But she doesn't want her family name impacting what you think of her. Before singing Lauryn Hill's "Killing Me Softly," the young singer said, "I feel like people expect me to sing exactly like her. But I am my own artist. And I have my own voice."

But the judges ultimately gave her another try—and this time, Grace chose Aretha's "Ain't Know Way," which once again got some mixed reviews.

American Idol: Where Are They Now?

While Luke was a "no," Katy was all in: "I think we can find that next level with you." 

It was then up to Lionel to make the final decision, who couldn't find it in him to send her to Hollywood. "Grace Franklin, I love you," he told her. "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."

Urging her to return in the future, he added, "I don't want to be the one to make you tip over and fall at this infant state."

New episodes of American Idol air every Sunday on ABC.

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