Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter wows ‘American Idol’ judges with audition

Emmy Russell walked timidly into her “American Idol” audition with a big secret: She is the granddaughter of county music legend Loretta Lynn.

The 24-year-old singer/songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, revealed her famous lineage to surprised judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie after she shyly  explained she had spent much of her childhood singing with her grandma.

Then the show rolled Russell’s introduction, complete with a tour of her famous grandmother’s home, which has become a popular tourist destination for Lynn’s fans.

While shocked and impressed with Russell’s family connection to the iconic “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the trio of judges noticed Russell’s timid introduction and encouraged her to speak up more.

“I think there’s a reason why I think I am a little timid, and I think it is ’cause I want to own my voice,” she told the judges.

As Russell began her performance — an original song titled “Skinny” that addresses the struggles of living with an eating disorder — Russell’s mom, Patsy Lynn, said her daughter’s nervousness stems from her desire to carve her own path, with a music career beyond her grandmother’s legacy.

“She just wanted to do this honestly [and say] ‘This is who I am, and this is what I do and this is my heart,'” her mom said. “I think that when you come from a musical family, the shadow is so big. ‘How do I fill those shoes?’ Well, the deal is, you don’t. You make your own shadow.”

All three judges praised Russell’s songwriting and voice following her performance, saying she could make her own statement with her music.

“I don’t think you need to compare yourself to what grandma was,” Perry told Russell. “You’re totally different. You shouldn’t give yourself all that pressure.”

“Each one of us is trying to battle something that we’re trying to overcome,” Richie added. “In your case, you have big shoes. Now if I can just get you to put those shoes back in the closet, that’s not your size.”

In the end, Russell’s performance earned her a trip to Hollywood for the next stage of the “American Idol” competition, Hollywood Week, which is scheduled to start sometime in late March.

This story was originally published by Marie Rossiter at Simplemost.com.