Katy Perry walked off set during the latest episode of American Idol after her fellow judges turned down Aretha Franklin’s 15-year-old granddaughter.
The legendary soul singer’s grandchild, Grace Franklin, auditioned for the popular singing competition, but Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan opted not to progress her through to the next round. Grace said she feels like people expect her to sing like Aretha, “but I am my own artist.”
Perry, 37, was wowed by the young singer’s renditions of Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” arguing her case. “Grace, I think you have stardust and sparkle all over you, you are beautiful and if you’ll trust us, if you’ll listen to us, and you’ll put in the work, I think we can find that next level with you. You’re a yes from me,” she told Franklin.
Meanwhile, Richie told Grace to hone her skills before re-applying in the future. “I’m going to talk to you as Uncle Richie and your grandma talking to me,” he said. “Her line was, ‘If you’re not ready for me, baby, don’t come near me.’ Now, you’re 15, you’ve got the family lineage, okay, what we need to do is put time and some work in to get it up to par.” With Luke also voting no, Perry seemed shocked at the decision to deny Franklin further progress in the competition.
“Give her a shot, give her a chance. I’m sure Aretha wasn’t Aretha when she walked into the room but somebody said, ‘Yes, I want to work with you, I want to develop you, you’ve got something!’ She’s got stardust on her!” Perry argued. “She might be a little shy. I will lay down on the ground. I quit this show! I’m going to the bar,” she said, walking off. “Something wrong with your ears! Y’all are insane!”
Despite voting no, Richie had plenty of positive feedback for Franklin, telling her that he didn’t want to see her “crash and burn”, and that he was “optimistic” about her future prospects.
Watch the audition below: