Grace Kinstler’s Compared To Kelly Clarkson After Bringing Luke Bryan To Tears on ‘American Idol’

Country superstar Luke Bryan was brought to tears by American Idol contestant Grace Kinstler during the season premiere of the…


Lauren Jo Black

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February 14, 2021

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Grace Kinstler, Luke Bryan

Country superstar Luke Bryan was brought to tears by American Idol contestant Grace Kinstler during the season premiere of the hit show on Sunday (Feb. 14).

Prior to her performance, Kinstler shared that her biggest supporter was her father, who recently passed away unexpectedly. Kinstler’s emotional backstory captivated the judges as she explained how her father’s death has impacted her and her brother. 

The American Idol hopefuly took to the Idol stage with a performance of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ single “Midnight Train To Georgia” before the judges requested her to sing another song for them as they were thoroughly impressed. Kinstler chose to sing Aretha Franklin’s 1967 classic hit, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Bryan was seen holding back tears while she sang the Aretha Franklin song.  

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“I get brought to tears by stories and backgrounds of what people have been through and their struggles,” Bryan shared. “And this is the first time in four years that just someone singing made me cry.” 

Lionel Richie was equally impressed, telling Kinstler, “You actually have control of that amazing instrument.” 

Perry was ready to send the vocalist straight to Hollywood. There’s not a whole of a critiquing that I need to do,” she told her. 

“Your dad is very very proud of you right now,” Bryan concluded, while adding, “That’s got to be up there with the Kelly Clarkson audition, the Jennifer Hudson audition.”

Click above to watch Grace Kinstler’s incredible American Idol audition. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.