Katy Perry was brought to tears by Emmy Russell’s top 8 performance on American Idol. The rising star performed a rendition of her late grandmother Loretta Lynn’s hit song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” during the Monday, April 29, episode.

The top 8 were tasked with singing something chosen by one of the judges and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was Katy’s choice for Emmy, 24. “When I saw the song choice there was, like, immense sadness whenever I saw it because she just passed away very recently,” Emmy admitted. Loretta died in her sleep in October 2022.

“It’s my grandma’s song. You can’t get much closer to the heart than your own blood,” the Idol contestant continued. “I know ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ like the back of my hand. I think I want to do it more like an ode, almost a way of hugging her. I’m literally just a granddaughter singing this song to her grandma. I need to be proud that I am a granddaughter of Loretta Lynn.”

During rehearsals, Emmy broke down crying after running through her performance at the piano. “Every time I sing it, I cry,” she said. “It just makes me think of her. She would always end a show with this song. I’m proud of who I am. I am Emmy Russell. I’m 24 years old. And I’m proud to be a coal miner’s great granddaughter.”

When Emmy took the stage, she put her own spin on the classic track and had the audience in the palm of her hands. Katy, 39, stood up and choked back her tears as she praised the performance. At the end of the episode, Emmy received enough viewer votes to move on to the top 7.

Emmy opened up about her famous lineage during her American Idol audition. Her mother is Loretta’s daughter Patsy. However, Emmy made it clear from the beginning that she wanted to distinguish herself as her own artist. “I want to own my voice,” she told Katy, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. “I want to own it. That’s why I want to challenge myself and come here.”

The top 7 on season 22 of American Idol will sing songs by Adele during the upcoming May 5 episode. Five artists will move on to sing again one week later for Disney night, which will also feature a trip to Walt Disney World. From there, the top 3 singers will advance to the finale on May 19.