Emmy Russell Returns To ‘American Idol’ For Finale Performance With Wynonna

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One week after Emmy Russell bid farewell to American Idol, the singer returned to the stage to perform during the Season 22 finale.

Keeping with the tradition of past seasons, American Idol invited back this season’s semi-finalists to perform during the live finale show. Emmy Russell, the granddaughter of country legend Loretta Lynn, was eliminated one week short of the finale. Russell’s return to the Idol stage was the perfect ending for an epic run on the show.

Emmy Russell won the hearts of fans with her honest and genuine audition in which she performed her original song, “Skinny.” The autobiographical song was Emmy’s story of struggling with and overcoming an eating disorder, and resonated with viewers in a big way.

The 25-year-old singer and songwriter returned to her Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, home last week and released a new single a few days later. While the song’s title,“Redemption,” may sound like a response to her American Idol run, it’s not. Russell co-wrote it as a reaction to a painful breakup.

“I wrote ‘Redemption’ because I process life through music and this song is what came out of a painful breakup,” she said. “There was a time when I placed all my value in someone else’s hands. But eventually, I had to realize I was constantly being tossed between ‘I love you’ and ‘I don’t love you.’”

The breakup led to a Emmy realizing that her worth was in God, not in a romantic relationship.

“I finally realized my worth by looking to God, then letting the truth that I am loved, sink in,” she said. “Now I know, no guy, nor anyone else, can take that away from me. I am loved and, now, that’s my redemption.”

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When Emmy Russell returned to American Idol Sunday night (May 19), she didn’t perform her new single.

Instead she teamed up with country superstar Wynonna for a performance of Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” a song Emmy sang earlier in the competition, and Wynonna’s hit, “No One Else On Earth.”

Following their on-stage collaboration, Wynonna spoke to Entertainment Tonight about how special the moment was for her. Wynonna, a longtime friend of Emmy’s grandmother, Loretta Lynn, called it a full-circle moment. Just two years ago, Wynonna sang at Loretta’s celebration of life ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium.


“I did and I love Loretta,” Judd told ET. “She gave me the shirt off her back, literally, and she was the first woman that hugged me in country music.”

“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 she’s doing,” Judd said of performing with Emmy.

The performance was one of many that filled the 3-hour season finale. Cody Johnson, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jon Bon Jovi, New Kids On The Block and others took the stage to celebrate the ending of a season and the crowning of a new Idol champion.


Watch Emmy Russell’s American Idol finale performance in the video below.

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