Emmy Russell Gets ‘American Idol’ Dancing With Joyous Walk the Moon Performance

Emmy Russell has battled nerves throughout season 22 of American Idol. Last week, viewers watched the 25-year-old Tennessee native find her confidence with a breathtaking performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Russell’s heartfelt ode to her late grandmother — the country trailblazer Loretta Lynn — landed her in the top 7. On “Adele Night,” (Sunday, May 5), the singer-songwriter made her case for the top 5 with another stunning performance.

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Emmy Russell Gets Crowd Moving on ‘American Idol’

This season, Russell has brought a quiet, intense vulnerability to deeply personal original numbers like “skinny.” She has also showed her range with covers of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt and blink-182’s “All the Small Things.” Tonight saw Russell taking a more upbeat turn with “Shut Up and Dance,” Walk the Moon’s infectious 2014 hit.

Much like her stripped-down blink-182 cover, Russell slowed down her cover of the power-pop ballad. She admitted to feeling some nerves during the performance, but judge Lionel Richie assured her it was hardly noticeable.

[RELATED: Emmy Russell Says She Felt Like Herself While Performing Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter” on ‘American Idol’]

Emmy Talks About Living Her ‘Answered Prayers’

Singing her grandmother’s words on national television gave Russell a renewed sense of pride in her lineage, the singer told Parade.

“I would always run away from my family and not want to be part of it,” Russell said after her top 10 performance. “I think this was the first time that I said, ‘I’m proud to be in this family.’ With the family comes a blessing, but with it comes a curse.”

She continued, “I want people to feel proud of their story, where they’ve come from. I hope that that song made them feel like, ‘Oh, I can be proud of where I come from.'”

Competing on Idol has clearly been a season of reflection for Russell. On Sunday (May 5), the top 7 finalist set aside her pre-performance nerves to express her gratitude for “living out an answered prayer.”

“When I was somewhere else in my life, I was… praying for what I’m living out now,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram account. “And I just felt an invitation from the Lord, like, ‘You’re living out an answered prayer in me.'”

Fans were touched by Russell’s vulnerability. “This girl! She is just so much more than a great singer and song writer,” one Instagram user commented. “She is a true gift to everyone who gets to hear her story.”

Featured image via X/Twitter

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