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Wynonna Judd Joins Emmy Russell On Idol To Sing “Coal Miner’s Daughter”


Emmy Russell started her American Idol journey with an original song. She fittingly ended it with a tribute cover of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for her late grandmother and country legend Loretta Lynn. This was the second time she covered the classic on the show, and for this performance, instead of a piano, she had a duet partner. It was none other than Wynonna Judd

Russell may not have won a spot in the grand finale, but she still made her mark. 

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Emmy Russell and Wynonna Judd

The two wore a matching turquoise-and-black look for their performance – Emmy Russell went for a cute cocktail dress and boots, and Judd committed to a whole cowboy style, but she took it a notch up with beads adorning the collar, cuffs, and pockets of her outfit. And on the screen at their back flashed pictures of Lynn. 

Russell opened the performance, reminding everyone again she was her grandmother’s granddaughter. 

She had been hesitant to fully embrace her family roots, and in her first performance of the song (which was the judges’ song competition, and Katy Perry chose the song for her), she said that she would always run away from them. That is, it was a blessing to be a part of them, but she felt that it came with a curse. Then, there came a turning point, and she was finally proud of being a member of the family. She sang the song, hoping that it would make others feel proud of their story and their origin, just like her.  

This time was no different. It had the same jaw-dropping quality, and it clearly showed that while she was Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter, she could stand on her own and be an artist in her own right. If anything, she sounded more confident.

RELATED: Loretta Lynn’s Granddaughter Emmy Russell Sings Her Original Song “Skinny” In American Idol Audition

Judd took over the second verse of the song. Her rich and full-bodied vocals gave a nice contrast to Russell’s slightly softer style. According to the singer, it was such a full-circle moment for her, as Lynn was the first woman in country music to hug her. She continued, “To sing Loretta’s life story with her granddaughter @emmyroserussell, and send her off as an artist in her own right, was so life giving. Emmy, I know your Memaw is so proud. I am too!!!! 🩵”

As they started the chorus together, they held hands, and the audience waved their arms.  It was definitely a moment to remember on the show. Their performance was met with a loud round of applause and a standing ovation from all three judges.

Catch Wynonna Judd and Emmy Russell honoring the late Loretta Lynn in the video below. 

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