Aretha Franklin's Granddaughter Performs "Ain't No Way" During 'American Idol' Audition

Grace Franklin performed "Killing Me Softly" and "Ain't No Way," a song from her late grandmother Aretha Franklin, during her 'American Idol' audition.

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Grace Franklin, granddaughter of the iconic singer Aretha Franklin, auditioned for American Idol Sunday, singing the Lauryn Hill version of “Killing Me Softly,” as well as her late grandmother’s song “Ain’t No Way.” 

Franklin, 15, revealed her relationship to Aretha to the panel early on, drawing an immediate response from Lionel Ritchie, who shared a memory about visiting her home. “I don’t think I could fully grasp the fact that she was famous worldwide,” Grace recalled in the pre-recorded clip. “I was really close to my grandma. I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot.” 

Luke Bryan and Ritchie voted against sending her to the next round, with the latter advising her to take some time to work on and hone her talent before coming back for another audition. As the lone “yes” vote, Katy Perry tried to appeal to Ritchie, explaining that she has a “stardust” and “sparkle” about her. “Give her a chance. I am sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she walked in the room, but somebody said, ‘Yes, I want to work with you. I want to develop you. You got something,’” Perry said.

Ritchie refused to budge, but did get out of his seat to explain to Grace what hurdle she needed to clear in order to realize her dream. “Go back and put the shyness behind you and the voice in front of you, you are going to be something amazing,” he said. 

Aretha died in her Detroit home in 2018 from advanced neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. She was 76. 

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