Grace Kinstler, a 20-year-old from Chicago, electrified the judges during this week’s premiere episode of “American Idol.”
But it wasn’t just her vocal cords that moved them — it was her powerful story that set the tone!
“I used to watch ‘American Idol’ with my dad a lot and my mom,” Grace said. “I always imagined if I go, he would be there. But last February, I was at school and my brother called me at 7-something in the morning, and he was like, ‘You should look for flights home. They just took dad to the hospital and he’s not breathing.’ It was very unexpected.”
Tragically, Grace lost her dad that February, but knowing that he believed in her has kept her going through the hardest moments. And America is definitely better for it!
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Grace started her audition with the song “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips, and judge Katy Perry spoke for everyone when she said, “Grace. What a voice.”
Luke Bryan asked to hear another song, so Grace broke into an Aretha Franklin classic, “A Natural Woman.” While it’s always risky to take on such a beloved piece, the gifted musician left the judges stunned.
“I get brought to tears by stories and backgrounds of what people have been through and their struggles, but this is the first time in four years that just someone singing made me cry,” Bryan said. “Just understand that your dad is very, very proud of you right now. And what a lot to be proud of.”
He then added, “That’s got to be right up there with the Kelly Clarkson audition, the Jennifer Hudson audition.”
Those are some massive shoes to fill, but Grace seems well-suited for the challenge.
Perry certainly agrees! “There’s not a whole lot of critiquing that I need to do because I got a full wave of chills — full body chills twice,” she said. “That’s music. That’s true magic.”
Grace dedicated her performance to her dad. “Him not being here has kind of taught me, live every moment as if it’s your last,” she said.
So take every chance, every opportunity, because you never know what chance you might get because of it. I have a habit of getting nervous…where I have literally thrown auditions because my breath just stops working and I hyperventilate. But I just keep thinking about how much he believed in me and trying to believe that much in myself. I think he would be heartbroken if I just gave up because I got sad, so it’s hard but it’s also extra motivation for me to keep going.
So keep going, Grace. And welcome to Hollywood!
Watch her phenomenal performance in the video below, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends.
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