The 16-year-old granddaughter of “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin auditioned for season 20 of “American Idol.”
Grace Franklin was 15 at the time of her audition, which aired during the season premiere of “American Idol” on February 27. She sang “Killing Me Softly” by Lauryn Hill. Luke Bryan called the performance “sleepy and subdued.” Katy Perry agreed that it was “soft” and asked if she had any other songs prepared.
Grace then sang “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha herself. Perry sang with Grace at times, encouraging her to nail the runs. “You can do it,” she said.
After the performance, Lionel Richie told Grace that he thought she needed more work before she went on a huge platform like “American Idol.” He quoted her grandmother, saying, “If you’re not ready for me baby, don’t come near me.” Although Grace received a “yes” from Perry, Bryan and Richie said no and she did not advance to Hollywood Week.
In an interview with TMZ, Grace spoke about how the judges’ feedback made her feel and said she doesn’t think she’ll audition for “American Idol” again.
Grace Agrees With Lionel Richie
TMZ asked Grace how she felt after Richie and Bryan told her they didn’t think she should advance to Hollywood Week.
“In the moment I was pretty disappointed,” she said. “Obviously I wanted to go on, I wanted to continue.” But, she also said she thinks Richie made a good point when he told her he didn’t want her to “crash and burn.”
“I really thought about like, what Lionel said…I started to agree with him,” she told TMZ. “I’m a good artist, I know that, but I do know that I need to work on some things.” She continued on to say that she knows when people start their careers too young, they can “stumble.”
“I do really think that he (Richie) was speaking from a place of love and genuine concern,” the 16-year-old said.
Grace Doesn’t Think She’ll Audition for ‘American Idol’ Again
Richie told Grace that his “no” was really an “optimistic come back and see us.” Perry told the 16-year-old she had “stardust and sparkle all over” her and stormed out of the room when Bryan and Richie both said no.
But Grace told TMZ that she doesn’t think she’ll audition for the singing competition again. “As of right now I probably wouldn’t audition again. Maybe a couple years down the line,” she said. “I do want to focus more on growing my voice and growing in my writing cause I do write a lot of music and I do want to try and release some music soon…as for auditioning for ‘Idol’ again, I probably wouldn’t.”
Grace posted about her experience auditioning for the show on her Instagram page.
“As most of y’all have figured out, i auditioned for idol! i really wanted to use this opportunity to test out my abilities and see how far i could go, and i’m honestly extremely proud of myself. even though i didn’t make it through, i had a really amazing time! the amount of knowledge i gained and amazing artists i met will truly stick with me for a very long time. i’m excited to use this experience to help me move forward in the future,” she wrote.