Wynonna Judd Calls Performing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” With Emmy Russell on ‘American Idol’ a “Full Circle Moment”

Last Sunday’s (May 19) American Idol season finale featured many unforgettable moments. One of the highlights of the night came when Wynonna Judd and Emmy Russell took the stage to perform together. They sang “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “No One Else on Earth” for the Idol audience. While many fans enjoyed seeing them sing together, it may have been more exciting for the pair of artists on the stage.

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Judd took to Instagram earlier this week to mark the occasion. She shared several photos of her and Russell alongside a heartfelt post about how much the night meant to her. “Last night’s American Idol performance was such a full circle moment for me,” she wrote. “Loretta Lynn was the first woman to hug me in country music. To sing Loretta’s life story with her granddaughter, Emmy Russell, and send her off as an artist in her own right was so life-giving,” she added.

[RELATED: Wynonna Judd Takes the ‘American Idol’ Stage With Emmy Russell for Unbelievable Loretta Lynn Tribute of “Coal Miner’s Daughter”]

Then, Judd addressed the young singer/songwriter. “Emmy, I know your Memaw is proud. I am too!!!” she wrote.

Wynonna Judd and Loretta Lynn Were Close

Wynonna Judd grew up in country music. She was only 19 years old when The Judds started dominating the charts. As a result, she spent her early adulthood building relationships with some of the biggest names in the genre. For instance, she became close with Loretta Lynn before her passing in October 2022. Judd spoke about her connection to genre legends in an interview with Paste Magazine in 2016.

“My first concert experience was George Jones and Merle Haggard,” she recalled. “I was raised by the highway. Johnny Cash was a mentor. … I have such a rich heritage,” she added. “That having been said, I also sang at George’s funeral. I’ve come a really long way from the first time Loretta Lynn, she hugged me like I was her relative. I just spoke to her on the phone the other day and she told me she loved me three times,” Judd explained. “That, to me, is my absolute.”

Understanding how close she was to Lynn helps to clarify why performing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” with Emmy Russell on American Idol was so special for her.

Featured Image by Eric Mccandless/Disney

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