Katy Perry walked off set after Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, Grace, auditioned for American Idol.
Last night, the popular singing competition returned to ABC for season 20. One of the auditions featured Grace, who sang not one, but two of her grandma’s songs.
The 15-year-old began by addressing her famous grandmother. “I don’t think I could fully grasp that she was known world-wide because to me she was always just grandma,” Grace said. “I am my own artist, and I have my own voice.”
During the audition, Grace kicked things off with “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The three judges—Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie—weren’t sold on her performance, calling it “sleepy” and “subdued.”
After she sang another song (“Ain’t No Way”), they still disagreed on whether she should go to Hollywood. While Bryan voted no, Perry seemed optimistic about Grace’s star potential.
“I think we can find that next level with you,” she said. “I’m sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she walked into the room, but somebody said, ‘Yes, I want to work with you.’”
The final decision fell upon Richie, who admitted that Grace needs more training before she’s ready for American Idol. “Grace, you know how I feel about your family and you,” he said. “But I don’t want this to be a crash and burn.”
Perry jokingly walked off the set, saying, “I’m going to the bar.”
Richie continued, “It’s going to be a ‘no’ from me this time but an optimistic ‘come back and see us.’”
There’s always next year, Grace.