Emmy Russell Honors Grandmother Loretta Lynn With Emotional Stripped-Back Performance Of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” On ‘American Idol’

Emmy Russell
American Idol

Doing memaw proud.

One of the fan favorites on American Idol this season has been Emmy Russell, who just happens to be the granddaughter of country music royalty.

Russell is the daughter of Patsy Lynn, the youngest daughter of country music legend Loretta Lynn. But so far, it’s clear that Russell’s success on the show hasn’t been because she just happens to be the country music legend’s granddaughter: She also happens to be an incredible singer herself.

A few weeks ago, she left guest mentor Jelly Roll speechless with her performance of “Beautiful Things” by Benson Boone. And this week, she paid tribute to her own grandmother with an emotion performance of one of Loretta’s biggest hits.

The judges chose songs for the contestants to perform this week, with each judge suggesting one song that the singers could pick from for their performance. But naturally Russell had to go with her grandmother’s song:

“I love singing from the heart, and I think this is a perfect, perfect song for that. When I saw the song choice there was like immense sadness whenever I saw it, because she just passed away very recently.

I mean it’s my grandma’s song. You can’t get much closer to the heart than your own blood.”

Obviously Russell was already quite familiar with the song, but she wanted to put her own spin on it:

“I know Coal Miner’s Daughter like the back of my hand. So I think I want to do it more of like an ode, almost like a way of hugging her.

I’m literally just a granddaughter singing this song to her grandma.”

Russell had a hard time getting through the rehearsals without becoming emotional, but once she got on stage behind the piano she delivered an incredible stripped-back tribute to her grandmother – and brought her mother to tears before earning high praise from the judges.

With everybody in the room struggling to speak through the tears, Russell guessed that judge Katy Perry was the one who picked “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for Russell to sing this week – and Perry confirmed that it was her pick:

“I chose this song not because Loretta Lynn is your grandma. I chose this song because you are Emmy Russell, and you can do anything now as Emmy Russell.”

It was an emotional performance, but no doubt one that has Loretta Lynn smiling down on her granddaughter.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock