“American Idol” contestant Emmy Russell honors late grandmother Loretta Lynn with 'Coal Miner's Daughter' cover

The singer advanced to the top 7 in Monday's episode.

The coal miner’s great-grandaughter is paying tribute to her grandmother.

On Monday’s episode of American Idol, 25-year-old contestant Emmy Russell honored her memaw, country legend Loretta Lynn, with a performance of her signature track, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Russell played the piano as she sang an emotional rendition of her grandmother’s song, which recalls Lynn’s childhood in the Great Depression as her father made ends meet by working in Kentucky coal mines. The performance was interspersed with occasional cuts to footage of Russell’s mother, Loretta’s daughter Patsy Lynn, looking on from the audience.

<p>Disney/Eric McCandless/getty</p> Emmy Russell of 'American Idol'

Disney/Eric McCandless/getty

Emmy Russell of 'American Idol'

Russell ultimately survived Monday’s episode and advanced to the top 7, as Kaibrienne was the sole elimination.

Russell told PEOPLE that singing her grandmother’s song marked the first time that she wasn’t intentionally distancing herself from her family’s legacy. "I would always run away from my family and just not want to be a part of it. And I think this was the first time that I said, 'I'm proud. I'm proud to be in this family 'cause with the family comes a blessing, but with it comes a curse," she said.

"I think just closing my eyes and telling her, 'I'm proud of you.' I did that in rehearsal,” Russell continued. “I was like, 'I'm proud of you.' I want people to feel proud of their story, where they've come from, and I hope that that song made them feel like, 'Oh, I can be proud of where I come from.' I'm just really grateful."

<p>Terry Wyatt/Getty</p> Loretta Lynn

Terry Wyatt/Getty

Loretta Lynn

Lynn, who died in 2022 at age 90, was a three-time Grammy winner who netted 24 number-one singles across her six-decade career. Her autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter was adapted for the screen in 1980 and won Sissy Spacek an Academy Award for her portrayal of Lynn.

In her initial on-screen audition, Russell performed an original song, titled “Skinny,” which impressed judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan but prompted them to encourage her to gain confidence in her performing style.  “I don’t think you need to compare yourself to what grandma was — you’re totally different, you shouldn’t give yourself all that pressure,” Perry said.

Russell later wowed the judges with a rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s "I Can't Make You Love Me” in the top 12 episode, and advanced to the top 8 with a performance of Blink-182'’s “All the Small Things.”

Watch Russell’s full performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” above.

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