On the Season 20 premiere of ABC’s American Idol, the granddaughter of a music icon tried her luck…but it didn’t go as well as many would have hoped. It also led to a heated moment of contention between two of the show’s star judges, popular pop/rock singer Katy Perry and legendary singer/songwriter Lionel Richie.
At the center of the debate was 15-year-old Grace Franklin, the granddaughter of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. After performing her initial audition song, The Fugees’ version of Killing Me Softly (With His Song), she was told that she lacked spark. At Perry’s request, Franklin proceeded to sing her grandmother’s hit, Ain’t No Way.
After a split vote, with Perry voting “yes” and country singer Luke Bryan voting “no,” that left Richie to cast the deciding vote. This led to some serious back and forth with Perry, who argued, “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.'” Alas, Richie ultimately decided to vote against sending Franklin to the next round.
Despite the obvious disappointment from Franklin, Richie was still very encouraging, saying, “I think the best thing for you in life is to take a shot at going backwards. Go back and get a running start and come back at this again.” At that moment, Perry, seemingly fed up with the whole situation, exclaimed, “I will lay down on the ground. I quit this show. I’m going to the bar.” She then walked off set.
Perry’s hissy fit aside, Richie comforted Franklin with a hug and, once again, encouraged her to come back and audition again.
Check out the clip above.