Grace Franklin, the 16-year-old granddaughter of late singing legend Aretha Franklin, is opening up after she didn’t make the cut for American Idol‘s 20th season — a moment that shocked TV viewers. Grace, who joined her dad, Aretha’s son Kecalf Cunningham, for an interview with TMZ, said she was definitely disappointed by the rejection, but kept the words of judge Lionel Richie in mind.
Lionel told Grace he didn’t want her stumbling into her career quickly — something that can plague young singers. She said she took his sentiments in sincerely, knowing he was coming from a good, grounded place.
Grace has two siblings, Jordan and Victorie, who are undoubtedly supportive in her journey. Grace was also very close to her grandmother. posting a loving tribute to her on the three-year anniversary of her death. “These three years have felt like a lifetime. I love you,” Grace wrote on Instagram.
In addition to her Idol audition, Grace has made her way onto other stages, performing her grandmother’s hit “Ain’t No Way” at the 2021 premiere of Respect. That’s where she made a connection with former Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson who played Aretha in the movie. Jennifer, who finished seventh when she competed on the show, definitely knows a thing or two about not making it the first time and going on to have an illustrious, successful career!