Wynonna Judd Duets with Loretta Lynn’s Granddaughter Emmy Russell for AMERICAN IDOL Finale

Photo from Wynonna Judd’s Instagram

Wynonna Judd Duets with Loretta Lynn’s Granddaughter Emmy Russell for AMERICAN IDOL Finale

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Wynonna Judd paid tribute to her dear friend Loretta Lynn along with the late country legend’s granddaughter Emmy Russell as they sang “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on the 22nd AMERICAN IDOL finale. 

“Loretta was like an aunt to me. I would call her and she would tell me stories. Some of my fondest memories of Loretta come from her telling me all about her life in Butcher Holler,” Judd wrote in a tribute when the country star passed away in 2022. 

Judd said that Lynn was the first country singer she saw in concert and met her at the CMA show when she was 20 years old. They were close ever since. 

“During one of my recent visits to Hurricane Mills, she gave me a Bible and a crocheted doily that her Mama made,” Judd went on to write. “I will cherish those forever. It’s really hard for me to comprehend life without her.”  

Judd, who sang “How Great Thou Art” at Lynn’s memorial service, said that singing with Lynn’s granddaughter as well as mentoring IDOL contestants was a “special night.”  

“At some point in your life, you find yourself talking to someone in the family that’s carrying on what their ancestors started and that’s what [Russell’s] doing,” Judd told ET. 

“I love singing from the heart, and I think this is a perfect song for that,” Russell said of performing Lynn’s signature song. “I mean, it’s my grandma’s song  can’t get much closer to the heart than your own blood.” 

Russell remembers her grandmother as a genuine person who was “everyone’s friend.”  She also remembered her encouraging her in her faith. 

“The most advice that she has given me throughout the years was to love God,” Emmy told Fox News Digital at the CMT Music Awards. “She was such a lover of God and I think it was more of, ‘Listen to him and follow his voice.’”  

Russell wowed AMERICAN IDOL judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan earlier this year with her original song “Skinny” about her struggle with an eating disorder. 

“You are an A+ songwriter,” Perry told Russell. “So is your grandma. You got the gift.” Although the 25-year-old singer didn’t make it to the top three on IDOL, she said that God gave her peace through the elimination process, as Movieguide® previously reported: 

“I’m just really feeling grateful,” Russell, the granddaughter of country legend Loretta Lynn, said in an Instagram video. “I didn’t make Top 3, but…that was God’s plan. That was funny because before I got eliminated, I think God told me, he was like, ‘Emmy, you’re not gonna be chosen by America, but I chose you.’”

She continued, “There was no sense of ‘Why wasn’t I chosen?’ I know I’m chosen. It’s like whenever a boy is like, ‘I don’t wanna go out with you anymore.’ And you’re, like, ‘OK. But I know I’m loved.’”

Russell explained that appearing on AMERICAN IDOL was, for her, so “you can be yourself and be successful.”

She also compared her journey on the show to “The Climb,” a song by Miley Cyrus that she sang on the show. 

“The climb is Abraham’s Promised Land. The promise is a part of the climb; the promise is the climb with God,” Russell explained.

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